COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. RAIDERS
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (7,322) -- Conway, South Carolina
Sunday, September 7, 2008 -- 1 p.m.
Opening the Home Part of the Schedule: The Coastal Carolina University football squad will play the first of its six regular season home games, as well as the second straight of seven new opponents this year, when it hosts Colgate tonight at Brooks Stadium. Coastal Carolina enters the game off a 66-10 loss at FBS #22 Penn State last Saturday, while Colgate lost at Big South Conference foe Stony Brook, 42-26.
The Coaches: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his sixth season at Coastal Carolina with a 39-18 record and 102-35 overall in his 13th year as a head coach. At Catawba, he led the Indians to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, including a run into the national semifinal round in 2001.
Colgate Head Coach Dick Biddle (Duke, ’71) is in his 13th season as head coach of the Raiders and as the top man overall, posting a 95-47 mark. He led the Raiders to five Patriot League titles and five NCAA Playoff berths, including advancing to the National Championship game in 2003.
History with Colgate: Tonight’s game is the first-ever meeting between the Chanticleers and Raiders and the first time Coastal Carolina has met a team from the state of New York. However, it won’t be the last from "The Empire State" this year, as the Chants welcome new Big South member Stony Brook to Brooks Stadium later in the year.
Brooks Stadium Openers Are Good: Coastal Carolina has had some great, and dramatic, wins in its home openers in the first five years, going 4-1 overall. In the inaugural season, the Chants scored with seven seconds to play to win their first ever game, 21-14 over Newberry. The 2004 home opener was a 31-24 victory over Davidson, but the one in 2005 was a milestone win for the young program. Coastal Carolina hosted defending champion and then No. 1 James Madison, where quarterback Tyler Thigpen connected with wide receiver Perry Parks in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 30 seconds to go, propelling Coastal Carolina to a 31-27 win over the Dukes. The lone loss in a home opener occurred in 2006, as the Chants dropped a heartbreaking 23-20 decision to the Elon Phoenix in both teams’ season openers, but eventually went on to their third straight Big South Conference crown and first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Championship.
Against the Patriot League: This is the first time in its brief history and the only time this year that Coastal Carolina will take on a squad from the Patriot League.
Friendly Confines Describes Brooks Stadium: In the brief history of the program, the Chanticleers are 23-6 (.793) in the friendly confines of Brooks Stadium. Coastal Carolina is playing six home games again this year and has won 21 of its last 24 games at Brooks Stadium/Benton Field. The Chants have also won their last eight Big South games at home, dating back to the 2003 season.
Four in the Show: With just three graduating classes in two years, the Chanticleers have shown they have some quality talent, with four players on 53-man National Football League rosters for Opening Day. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was the first-ever draft pick out of the Big South Conference by the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, and is currently the backup on the Kansas City Chiefs. Defensive back Quinton Teal is starting his second year with the Carolina Panthers after playing in 15 games as a rookie. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 NFL Draft while fullback Mike Tolbert was a free agent signee of the San Diego Chargers this past offseason and made the team’s final cut.
Record After a Loss: Coastal Carolina has lost just 18 times in its history. Coming off the 15 previous in-season losses (not including two season-ending losses), the Chanticleers have gone 12-3 in the games following those losses and only had one three-game losing streak in its brief history.
Non-Conference New Faces: In its non-conference action this year, all six opponents are new to the Coastal Carolina schedule. The slate also has a distinct Northeast flavor to it, as four of the six non-conference squads are from that region of the country. In all, seven new opponents, including Big South Conference newcomer Stony Brook, are on the 2008 agenda.
Returning This Season: The Chanticleers return 53 letterwinners and 21 starters (eight offense, eight defense, five special teams) to the squad this year. Of the returners, one significant group could be the offensive line as the entire starting line, along with two other significant players from last season, has returned for the 2008 campaign.
When Its Natural: Coastal Carolina has played 48 of its 57 games in its history on natural grass. The Chanticleers are 36-12 (.750) on natural grass, including 20-6 at home, while going just 3-6 on the fake stuff. This year, the Chants will play 11 of their 12 games on natural grass.
Road Openers: Coastal Carolina has opened the season on the road four times in its history and won two of the four contests, defeating Morehead State (2004) and Elon (2005) before last year's loss at eventual playoff squad Delaware State and this year's season-opening loss at FBS #22 Penn State. In the first road game of the year, the Chanticleers are 3-3 overall in its five-plus year history.
Season Openers: Coastal Carolina is just 3-2 in season openers heading into today's game. The Chanticleers have dropped their last two season openers however, losing to Elon in 2006 and at Delaware State in 2007.
More Than the 2007 Season Combined: The announced crowd of 106,577 that watched the Coastal Carolina-Penn State game at Beaver Stadium, Aug. 30, is more than all of the attendance combined at all 11 games on Coastal Carolina's 2007 schedule (93,231). As a matter of fact, the largest crowd that the Chanticleers had played in front of previously was at eventual national champion Appalachian State in 2005, when a then Kidd Brewer Stadium record 23,267 watched the Mountaineers get a 30-3 win.
Last Time Out For the Chanticleers: The 22nd-ranked (FBS) Penn State University scored on 10 of its 11 possessions as the Nittany Lions defeated the Coastal Carolina University football team 66-10, Aug. 30, in both teams' season opener. It was the first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in Coastal Carolina football history.
Penn State scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, but Coastal Carolina rallied at the end of the first and start of the second quarters. Zach MacDowall came in for his first series as the Chants quarterback and orchestrated a seven-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Usher. Justin Durham’s PAT was good as the Chants cut into the PSU lead 14-7.
Penn State answered quickly as Derrick Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and the host Nittany Lions eventually built a 38-7 halftime advantage. The second half continued much of the same before Coastal Carolina ended the scoring as time expired with a 31-yard field goal by Durham.
Coastal Carolina had 250 yards of total offense, compared to 594 by Penn State. William Richardson was 13-of-22 for 131 yards, while MacDowall went 5-of-9 for 67 yards. Arthur Sitton had 107 yards of kickoff returns, while Dominique Davenport led the Chants with 10 total tackles. (Complete recap on Page 18.)
Making the Grab a Historic One: Coastal Carolina's first points of the 2008 season were ones that senior wide receiver Trent Usher will remember. Usher took a short slant route over the middle and sprinted to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown at Penn State, Aug. 30. The touchdown was the second of Usher's collegiate career and his first on the receiving end. He also became the first Coastal Carolina player in his career to score a touchdown as both a receiver and a quarterback, as he got in the end zone as a quarterback off the bench in a home win over Savannah State in 2006.
Getting a Foot (Or 50 Yards) On the Ball: Sophomore punter Ben Erdman had one of the best games in Coastal Carolina history for his position. Erdman averaged 43.0 yards per punt at Penn State, Aug. 30, the second-best single-game average in program history. In addition, he became the first Chanticleer to have two punts of 50 yards or more in a single game, hitting 54- and 50-yard punts in the first half. The 54-yarder tied for the fifth longest punt in school history while the 50-yard boot tied for 10th.
Coaching Staff Continuity: The Coastal Carolina football coaching staff is a rarity in the world of college football. In the seven years as a program, the coaching staff has not had a single full-time coach leave the program and has added two over the years in the process of building to a full staff, with the addition of Co-Offensive Coordinator Gary Smallen in 2006 and Linebackers Coach Grant Cain in 2007. Four of them (Head Coach David Bennett, Co-Offensive Coordinator Jamie Snider, Defensive Coordinator Curtis Walker and Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Brown) have been together for the last 11 years dating back to their time at Division II Catawba.
I Love the Nightlife: Out of 57 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 29 in the night time hours. The Chanticleers are 20-9 in evening tilts, and a more stellar 14-3 at Brooks Stadium.
Winning When Scoring First: Coastal Carolina has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 26-3 mark in five seasons of play.
Winning at Halftime: The Chanticleers are impressive when leading at the half with a 29-4 (.879) mark. Coastal Carolina is now 17-1 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 12-3 mark when leading at the half on the road. The only losses have occurred in 2003 at Liberty, 2005’s double-overtime thriller at Charleston Southern and last season's losses at Furman and in overtime to Presbyterian.
The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal Carolina is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 26-4 lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The only losses came in 2005's finale at Charleston Southern and last year's losses to Georgia Southern, against Presbyterian and at Liberty. Coastal went over the 200-yard mark in rushing five times in 2006, winning all five games.
Time To Prepare Is Time To Succeed For Bennett: For head coach David Bennett and his coaching staffs throughout their careers, they have shown the ability to prepare effectively when given more than just a week. In games where they have had more than 10 days to get ready, Bennett's teams are 17-5 and outscore their opponents by a 687-349 margin, an average of 15.4 points per game more than their opponents.
Bennett Hits The Century Mark: Head Coach David Bennett isn’t one to keep an eye on his statistics, but he just reached a major coaching milestone. With the 42-35 win against VMI, Bennett picked up his membership in the illustrious career 100-win club. For his 12-year career, he is now 102-35 (.745) as a head coach.
The Chanticleers Picked to Finish Second in Big South: Coastal Carolina picked to finish second at the Big South's Annual Football Media Day in Charlotte, N.C., as voted on by the league's coaches and media members. Liberty was picked to repeat as Big South champions, with Gardner-Webb, Stony Brook, Charleston Southern and VMI following Coastal Carolina in the poll.
Coastal Carolina Still a Force in the Big South: Coastal Carolina is still showing it has to be reckoned with in the Big South Conference. Despite having a losing season, the Chanticleers posted a winning record in the league for the fourth straight year and have won 15 of its last 17 league games.
Coastal Carolina Football On TV:Coastal Carolina's football team will have three appearances on television this year. The Chanticleers were on the Big Ten Network to start the season when they played nationally-renowned Penn State, Aug. 30. The other two televised contests are part of the Big South Conference package, as the home contest against defending champion Liberty (Oct. 4) and the road contest at Gardner-Webb (Nov. 8) are slated for the tube, with the GWU game moved to 3:30 p.m. to accomodate television. In its five-plus year history, Coastal Carolina is a stellar 13-6 in television appearances all-time.
The Streak Continues: In its brief history of 57 games, the Chanticleers have yet to be shutout on the scoreboard, the longest current streak in the Big South Conference. In fact, Coastal Carolina's lowest single game point total was in 2005 at Appalachian State, with just a lone field goal.
Going Long and Far: Coastal Carolina is not afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard in 2007. Of the 43 scoring drives, 29 were 60 yards or more with 23 of them going seven plays or longer.
The Leader of the Pack: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett has continued where he left off at Catawba with his winning ways now at Coastal Carolina. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 73-23 (76.0 percent) in his last 96 games as a head coach.
This Week's Injury Report: On this week's injury report for the game against Colgate, Jamie Childers (meningitis) is probable, D.J. McNeill (left ankle) and Andrew Parsons (left knee) are doubtful. Marlon Campbell (left knee), Andre Ford (left knee) Tommy Fraser (right hamstring), Kirk Leach (right hamstring), Myron Rogers (left knee) and Dominique Whiteside (left foot) are out.
The Playoff System Opens Up: In 2010, the NCAA Football Division I Championships will expand from 16 to 20 teams, with the Big South Conference (Coastal Carolina's league) and the Northeast Conference slated to get automatic bids for their champions. For the next two years (2008 and 2009), a guaranteed at-large position shall be awarded in which a conference champion team representing a non-automatic qualifying conference meets all of the following conditions:
1). Team wins a minimum of eight (8) Division I games during the season;
2). Team wins a minimum of two (2) non-conference games against Division I teams representing a conference that has earned an automatic qualifying bid (AQ) in that year; and
3). Team finishes the season ranked 16th or higher in an average of the last regular season media, coaches and/or computer polls (which will be determined by the committee on an annual basis).
This criteria is not intended to be a permanent solution for interested and eligible conferences without an AQ. Rather, the criteria should only be used to bridge the time between such conferences applying for an AQ and the time need to formally approve and fund necessary bracket expansion – not more than two years. The committee believes it important to continuing adhering to Cabinet policy limiting the number of AQ conferences to not more than 50% of the championship bracket.
Weekly Big South Teleconference: Each Tuesday during the 2008 season, all seven Big South head coaches will participate in a teleconference call, beginning at 10:30am ET. Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett is on from 11:20-11:30 a.m. each Tuesday. Each call will be recorded and available for playback beginning Tuesday afternoons on the Conference’s website, www.Big SouthSports.com. THIS CALL IS OPEN TO MEDIA ONLY. If you would like information to tune in live and ask questions, please contact either John Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Simpson (email@example.com) for the dial-in phone number and code.
Four Earn Preseason All-Big South Honors: Coastal Carolina University's football program had four players honored as Preseason All-Big South Conference selections, as announced at the league's annual Football Media Day at the Renaissance Suites in Charlotte, N.C., July 25. The group was voted on by the league's head coaches and selected media members. Selected to the Preseason All-Big South squad on the offensive side was senior offensive lineman Britt Leggett. Picked from the defense were senior defensive back Marrio Norman, senior linebacker D.J. Rice and junior defensive end Phillip Oboh. This is the first time that any of the four have been picked for the preseason accolade.
Below are their individual recaps (in alphabetical order) from 2007:
Britt Leggett, Senior, Offensive Line
2007 All-Big South First Team selection... Started all 11 games for the Chanticleers, playing predominantly at left tackle, but also seeing action at right tackle, helping Coastal Carolina to a runner-up finish in the Big South… Graded out as Coastal Carolina’s top offensive lineman for the 2007 season… Has started 23 straight games on the offensive line.
Marrio Norman, Senior, Defensive Back
2007 First Team All-Big South… Started in all eight games he played, playing safety for the first five and cornerback for the final three… Missed the final two games with an injury, along with one other game during the year… Led the Big South with five interceptions … Also his 53 tackles (including 28 solo) ranked ninth in the league (6.6 tpg), while adding one tackle for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups in 2007… Ranked second among defensive backs in tackles per game… Had a Big South record-tying three interceptions along with one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and four tackles against Presbyterian… Posted a career-high 11 tackles at James Madison and followed it with 10 tackles and one interception at Furman… Had seven tackles (four solo) and one interception at Liberty… Also recorded three tackles and one pass breakup in the victory over VMI... Tied for second in Coastal Carolina history and Big South history with 10 career picks.
Phillip Oboh, Junior, Defensive End
Started in nine of his 11 games played for Coastal Carolina, picking up his second letter... Named Second Team All-Big South after posting 29 solo and 54 total tackles, including 8.5 tackles for 33 yards of loss and 4.0 sacks for 21 yards... Ranked sixth in the Big South in sacks, tied for sixth in tackles for loss and tied for 25th in the Big South at 4.9 tackles per game... Had a career-high 12 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack, against Georgia Southern... Posted nine tackles with 3.0 tackles for 17 yards of loss, including 2.0 sacks for 15 yards, in the home opening win over Winston-Salem State... Had 16 total tackles in Big South action, including 2.0 tackles for loss.
D.J. Rice, Senior, Linebacker
Second Team All-Big South in 2007… Tied for third at Coastal Carolina (and 10th among league linebackers) with 60 tackles, while adding 5.0 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, two fumble recoveries (t-3rd) and five forced fumbles (led the league in forced fumbles) on the year… Had at least five tackles in six games, including seven or more in five of them… Posted a season-high nine tackles at MEAC champion Delaware State and at Liberty… Added one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery against the Flames… Had eight tackles each at Furman and against Presbyterian… Picked off a pass along with three tackles in the win at CSU where the defense gave up no points… Had four tackles (three solo) with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the home win over Gardner-Webb… Had seven tackles (five solo) with 3.0 tackles for loss (16 yards) and 1.0 sacks (11 yards) against Georgia Southern.
Among The National Leaders in Attendance: Coastal Carolina has been one of the standouts in I-AA in attendance based on capacity in its first five seasons. Ranking in the top seven in the nation in each of the first two years, the Chanticleers set a new Brooks Stadium record in the home opening win over No. 1 James Madison, packing 8,533 fans into a stadium that seats 6,408. Coastal finished the season as the top I-AA team in attendance based on capacity at 114.3 percent.
The Chants continued that tradition in 2006, including setting a new Brooks Stadium record with 9,287 fans in the home win over South Carolina State, Sept. 23. The Chanticleers then surpassed it with 10,013 fans in the home win over then No. 3 Furman. The Chanticleers had 8,169 fans in the first contest at Elon and ranked fourth in I-AA in attendance based on percentage of capacity at 112.52 percent. Last season, Coastal Carolina ranked 12th in the nation, again averaging over capacity at 102.65% in six games played.
Stadium Expansion: Sept. 2, 2006 marked the first game with the new seating capacity of Coastal Carolina University's Brooks Stadium. The school added 914 seats to the facility to bring seating capacity up to 7,322 for the 2006 season. Now Coastal Carolina has completed ground work in preparation for full construction to start right after Christmas on the new Adkins Fieldhouse.
Simpson Makes History: Senior wide receiver Jerome Simpson made history in his final season at Coastal Carolina. He started the accolades against Presbyterian, Oct. 20, becoming the Big South Conference’s all-time leading receiver, a record that currently stands at 2,720 yards, surpassing Maurice Price of Charleston Southern 2,429. The Big South’s career leader and ranking fourth in FCS career touchdown receptions, he became the first receiver in league history with more than 40 career touchdown receptions with a pair at Liberty, Nov. 3, pushing his total to 44. He became the first Big South player ever to record 10 touchdown receptions in two separate seasons (16-2006, 10-2007) with his two touchdown catches against Gardner-Webb.
It Was The First (But Not the Last) Time: Coastal Carolina made its first appearance in the Division I Football Championship (formerly known as the I-AA playoffs) in its brief five-year history when it took on eventual two-time National Champion Appalachian State in the opening round in 2006. This was the first time that a Big South Conference school earned a berth in the postseason and only the second school from a non-automatic bid conference to earn a berth (Cal Poly - 2005) in the last 10 years.
Back-To-Back-To-Back: The Chanticleers were the first Big South school to capture three league titles in the brief history of the conference. Gardner-Webb won the first two championships, while Coastal Carolina won the 2004 crown, shared the 2005 title with Charleston Southern and won the 2006 title outright with a 4-0 mark.
The Class of 2006's Impact Still Being Felt: Coastal Carolina graduated more players than any Division I football program in the country in 2006, losing 36 seniors, including 31 letterwinners. Among the 36 seniors on the roster, 32 of them were in at least their third year with the program. This group, comprised of the first two football recruiting classes at Coastal Carolina, led the Chanticleers to a 34-11 mark in four years, along with at least a share of three consecutive Big South Conference titles and the program's first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.