COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS VS. TIGERS
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (7,322) -- Conway, South Carolina Returning Home: The Coastal Carolina football squad will play the second of its six regular season home games when it hosts Towson tonight at Brooks Stadium. The Chanticleers enter the game after picking up their first win of the season, 26-7 at Monmouth. The Tigers come in after dropping a 45-14 loss at No. 4 Richmond last Saturday. The Coaches:Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, ‘84) is in his sixth season at Coastal Carolina with a 40-19 record and 103-36 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.
Saturday, September 20, 2008 -- 7 p.m.
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (7,322) -- Conway, South Carolina
Returning Home: The Coastal Carolina football squad will play the second of its six regular season home games when it hosts Towson tonight at Brooks Stadium. The Chanticleers enter the game after picking up their first win of the season, 26-7 at Monmouth. The Tigers come in after dropping a 45-14 loss at No. 4 Richmond last Saturday.
The Coaches:Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, ‘84) is in his sixth season at Coastal Carolina with a 40-19 record and 103-36 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.
Towson Head Coach Gordy Combs (Towson, ’72) is in his 17th season as head coach of the Tigers and as the top man overall, posting an 90-83 mark.
History with Towson: Today’s game is the first-ever meeting between the Chanticleers and Tigers and the first time Coastal Carolina has met a team from the state of Maryland.
Against the Colonial Athletic Association: This is the third time that Coastal Carolina will take on a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The Chanticleers only other CAA opponent has been James Madison, with the teams splitting the two meetings. Coastal Carolina took the first meeting in 2005, defeating the then top-ranked and defending national champion Dukes, 31-27 at Brooks Stadium. JMU returned the favor in 2007 with a 45-10 domination of the Chants.
Slow Start Not a Reason for Concern: This is the fourth time in six seasons that Coastal Carolina has started the season with a 1-2 mark. However, two of the three previous times the Chanticleers have rallied for winning records, including the 2006 campaign that resulted in the program’s and league’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.
Friendly Confines Describes Brooks Stadium:In the brief history of the program, the Chanticleers are 23-7 (.767) in the friendly confines of Brooks Stadium. Coastal Carolina is playing six home games again this year and has won 21 of its last 25 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.
Record After a Loss: Coastal Carolina has lost just 19 times in its history. Coming off the 17 in-season losses (not including two season-ending losses), the Chanticleers have gone 13-4 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.
When Its Natural: Coastal Carolina has played 49 of its 59 games in its history on natural grass. The Chanticleers are 36-13 (.735) 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, but last week's game was the only exception as Coastal Carolina got a 26-7 victory on Field Turf at Monmouth.
Last Time Out For the Chanticleers: The Coastal Carolina University football team snapped a two-game slide to start its season by defeating the Monmouth Hawks 26-7 this afternoon, Sat. Sept. 13 at Kessler Field on the campus of Monmouth University.
The Chanticleers posted scores on three of their first four drives to lead 17-0 early and 20-0 at the intermission. Coastal Carolina added another touchdown in the second half, but did give up a fourth-quarter score. However, the defense made a final stand in the last minute, denying the Hawks on three straight scoring chances from inside the Chants' 1-yard line to end the contest.
Coastal Carolina outgained the Hawks 416-267, despite losing the time of possession battle, 32:57 to 27:03.
Zach MacDowall was solid as the offense’s leader, as the redshirt sophomore was 17-of-26 from 233 yards and tossed a touchdown pass. Arthur Sitton and Eric O'Neal led the ground attack, combining for 92 yards on 20 carries, while Trent Usher grabbed five balls for 80 yards to lead the air attack. On defense, linebacker D.J. Rice had nine tackles, while the reigning Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week Dominique Davenport made eight stops.
Monmouth was led by tailback David Sinisi, who rushed for 79 yards on 21 carries, while Burke was 14-of-26 for 84 yards and threw two interceptions.(Complete recap on Page 18.)
Week Three Jinx Ends This Year: Not only did Coastal Carolina snap its two-game losing skid to start the season with the victory at Monmouth, it ended the Week Three jinx it had in the first five years. In the previous five times, the Chanticleers have not won the third game of the season in any of them. The closest was during the inaugural season, when the Chants dropped a 14-9 decision at Jacksonville. Of those Week Three games, five of the six have been played on the road.
MacDowall Gets It Done: Redshirt sophomore Zach MacDowall earned his first Big South Conference Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week honors for his play at Monmouth. MacDowall was solid in his second career start, leading the Chanticleers to a win at Monmouth. MacDowall was 17-for-26 for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception through the air and added seven rushes for 21 yards on the ground.
A Game With Firsts: The win at Monmouth had several firsts for the Chanticleers, beyond their first game in New Jersey. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Brandon Whitley had his first collegiate touchdown reception, while running back Jamie Fordham and fullback Vince Starr posted their first rushing touchdowns of the year.
Fordham Returns To the Field: After receiving a waiver from the NCAA that reinstated his eligibility, redshirt senior Jamie Fordham returned to the field for his first action of the year at Monmouth. In his first drive played to start the third quarter, Fordham had six of the 10 touches on the drive, rushing four times for 28 yards, including the touchdown, and grabbing two catches for 10 yards. He finished the game with six carries for 39 yards and the score on the ground, along with his two receptions.
Usher Making All the Grabs: Redshirt senior Trent Usher has asserted himself as one of primary receivers for the Chanticleers this season. Usher has team highs of 12 catches for 200 yards and one touchdown on the year. In the win at Monmouth, Sept. 13, Usher posted career bests of five receptions for 80 yards. This is solid for a player who has shown his “team first” attitude by playing three positions (also defensive back and quarterback) in his time at Coastal Carolina.
Davenport Leads the League:Junior safety Dominique Davenport was named The Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision National and Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Colgate, Sept. 7. Davenport currently leads the team and the league in tackles per game at 12.7 (38 total), including a school-record 20 tackles against Colgate and 10 tackles at Penn State.
A Good Road Squad: The Chants have proven to be a good road squad in their first five seasons of play. Overall, Coastal Carolina has a 16-12 road mark, but posted its first road losing record last year, going just 1-4 away from Brooks Stadium with its only road win in the season finale at in-state rival Charleston Southern.
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.
Currently, Erdman is averaging 41.1 yards per punt on the season, which leads the Big South Conference by more than three yards a kick and is more than six yards a punt better than during his freshman campaign. Of his 14 punts, four have finished inside the 20.
I Love the Nightlife: Out of 59 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 27-4 (.871) mark in five-plus seasons of play.
Winning at Halftime: The Chanticleers are impressive when leading at the half with a 30-5 (.857) mark. Coastal Carolina is now 17-2 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 13-3 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, last season's losses at Furman and in overtime to Presbyterian and this year's home opener to Colgate.
The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal Carolina is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 26-4 (.867) 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.
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.
The Streak Continues: In its brief history of 59 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.
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 battling for the starting job with 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 started his first professional game against the Panthers in Week 1.
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.
In 2008 of the 12 scoring drives, six of them have been 60 yards or more, while seven of them were seven plays or longer. The most plays in a drive was 13 in the win at Monmouth, Sept. 13, while the longest was 72 yards over nine plays on the opening drive at Monmouth.
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 74-24 (75.5 percent) in his last 98 games as a head coach.
This Week's Injury Report: On this week's injury report for the game against Towson, Andrew Parsons (left knee)probable. Marlon Campbell (left knee), Andre Ford (left knee) Tommy Fraser (right hamstring), Kirk Leach (right hamstring), Myron Rogers (left knee), Seth Smalls (right ankle) and Dominique Whiteside (left foot) are out.
Davenport Earns National, Conference Weekly Awards:Junior safety Dominique Davenport was named The Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision National Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Colgate, Sept. 7, the publication announced. Davenport had been earlier named the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Defensive Player of the Week. He is the first Chanticleer to earn a league weekly honor this season and the first Coastal Carolina player to earn a national award since defensive back Marrio Norman garnered the Sports Network Defensive Player of the Week award for his play in the regular season finale against Charleston Southern in 2006.
In earning his first-ever weekly league or national award, Davenport set a school record with 20 tackles Sunday against Colgate (breaking the old record by five), with 11 solo shots against the Raiders. He had two drive-ending stops in the game, as well as one tackle-for-loss. His 20 tackles ties for the fourth-most in a single game in Big South history and second-most ever by a defensive back. Davenport’s 11 solo tackles were also a school record for a single game.
Overall this season, Davenport has set career bests in back-to-back games, starting the season with a team-high 10 tackles at Penn State, and currently leads the Chanticleers and the Big South Conference with 15.0 tackles per contest.
O'Neal Hits the Century Mark: Sophomore running back Eric O’Neal posted his best game as a Chanticleer Sunday vs. Colgate, as he rushed 17 times for a career-best 115 yards and one touchdown. It was his first career 100-yard rushing game. He also tied his career high in carries and posted the 21st 100-yard rushing game in Coastal Carolina history, with his 115 yards ranking 13th all-time.
MacDowall Gets First Start: Redshirt sophomore Zach MacDowall got his first collegiate start against Colgate, Sept. 7. In the contest, MacDowall was 11-for-19 for 120 yards through the air, while adding 32 yards of rushing on six carries.
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.
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.
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.
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 103-36 (.741) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Two of those players in that class, quarterback Tyler Thigpen and safety Quinton Teal, are on National Football League rosters for the second straight year.