COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. HORNETS
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (6,408) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, September 24, 2005 ~ 7 p.m.
The Leaders: David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal Carolina with an 18-7 record at CCU and 81-24 overall in nine-plus seasons. 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.
Delaware State Head Coach Alton "Al" Lavan (Colorado State, '68) is in his second season as head coach of the Hornets, holding a 6-8 mark at DSU. Lavan has an 8-9 overall coaching record, as he served as interim head coach for the final three games of the 2003 season at Eastern Michigan University, posting a 2-1 mark.
Loving the Night Life: Out of 25 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 14 in the evening. At night, the Chanticleers are an impressive 11-3, including an 8-2 mark at Brooks Stadium. Coastal is 7-4 in day games, but the numbers improve on the road, as CCU is 5-3 in day games away from Conway.
Home Sweet Home: Coastal has been solid at Brooks Stadium in the first two seasons overall, posting a 10-3 mark in Conway. Last season, the Chanticleers were a perfect 7-0 at home, including winning two Big South Conference games to capture the league title. Coastal carries an eight-game home winning streak into tonights contest.
Making The First Strike Is Important for the Chanticleers: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 15-1 mark going into this weekend's game against Delaware State. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road. CCU is also impressive when leading at the half, with a 17-1 mark. Coastal is 8-1 when leading at the half on the road, with the only loss coming at Liberty in 2003 after leading 14-7 at the intermission.
At Home on the Grass: Coastal has played 22 of its 25 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 17-5 on natural grass, with its only games on artificial turf at Liberty in 2003 in a tough loss, the 2004 season opening win at Morehead State, and last weekends loss at Appalachian State.
Packing the House: Coastal has been one of the standouts in I-AA in attendance based on capacity in its first two 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.
A New Look for the Chanticleers: In the home opener against James Madison, Coastal Carolina revealed a new set of black home jerseys. CCU only had teal home jerseys during the first two seasons. Additionally, the Chants have replaced their road jerseys in the third season to match the new black home jerseys, including changing the numbers on the road jerseys from teal to black.
In The Third Year: Coastal, in its third season of I-AA play, returns 21 starters, including nine on offense, eight on defense, and four special teams players.
The Streak Finally Ends: Coastal Carolina had a program and league-best 10-game winning streak snapped with the loss at Appalachian State, Sept. 17. The 10-game win streak was the second longest active streak to start the season in I-AA. During the streak, the Chanticleers had created 31 turnovers while giving up just 13 of their own, while 12 Chants had 25 tackles or more during the 10 games. The Chanticleers had also jumped out early on teams, outscoring their opponents 83-46 in the opening stanza and 194-76 in the first half. Overall, Coastal has won 12 of its last 14 games, dating back to the inaugural season in 2003.
Last Time Out: No. 15/17 Coastal Carolina never got on track, as Appalachian State took control of the game early, as the Mountaineers won their home opener, 30-3, Sept. 17.
The Mountaineers dominated on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Chants 582-225. Richardson had 18 rushes for 178 yards and three touchdowns, while Williams was 13-of-25 for 185 yards and had nine carries for 85 yards.
In his first game at full strength, junior Aundres Perkins had eight carries for 53 yards. Another bright spot for the Chants was junior Ren McKinnons 125 yards on five kick returns in his first game at that positition. (Complete recap and statistics are available on page 18).
Last Time at Home -- The Biggest Win in Coastal History: Coastal Carolina rebounded with 14 unanswered points in the final six minutes of play to shock top-ranked James Madison, 31-27, Sept. 10 at Brooks Stadium. With the victory in its first game ever against a ranked opponent, Coastal extended its overall winning streak to 10 games and its home win streak to eight. CCU also posted its 12th win in the last 13 games and the league's first-ever win against a ranked team.
CCU amassed 415 total yards, including 287 through the air. Thigpen was outstanding, going 24-for-36 for a school record 287 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. He also led Coastal in rushing with 46 yards on 11 carries, as the Chants rushed for 128 yards in the game. Simpson had 10 receptions for a school-record 162 yards and two touchdowns. (Complete recap and statistics are available on page 19).
Number 1 Play... According to the Authority On Sports: Coastal Carolina continued to make national headlines with its victory over James Madison, Sept. 10. On the Sept. 13 night broadcast of ESPN Sportscenter, the 27-yard, one-handed completion from Tyler Thigpen to Jerome Simpson was named the No. 1 play on the Top 10 Plays list, another first for the school and the Big South Conference in football. It was also featured during ESPN's "First and 10" and on Chris Berman's "Top 10 Plays of the Week".
Passing the 2,000-Yard Mark: With his 287-yard passing output against then No.1 James Madison, junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen became the first passer in CCU history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in his career, a mark that is currently at 2,219 yards. His 287 yards were also a personal best and school record for a single game.
Simpson Sets A New Standard: Sophomore wide receiver Jerome Simpson has made an impact on the Coastal program in his first 13 collegiate games. Against No.1 James Madison, the Reidsville, N.C. native tied a school record with 10 receptions and set a new mark with 162 receiving yards. He also had two touchdown receptions, but his most memorable catch was an acrobatic, one-hand 27-yard catch that put CCU at the JMU 13 and led to the game-winning score.
Simpson has already taken over on the CCU career charts as well. With his 162 yards against JMU, he moved into the top spot and now leads with 622 career receiving yards. Against JMU, he also took over the lead in receptions with 40. He already was the career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 10.
Red Zone Execution Always a Key to Success: The Chants were 44-for-52 (84.6 percent) in the red zone in the 2004 season, scoring 36 touchdowns (31 rushing and five passing) and eight field goals. That continued a trend set in 2003's inaugural season when CCU made it count when it got the opportunity, cashing in on 31 of 37 times inside their opponents' 20-yard line. Of those 31 scores, 28 were touchdowns.
In contrast, CCU's defense limited opponents to just 28 chances in the red zone and only 20 scores (18 TDs, two field goals) for a 71.4 percent conversion.
The first two games in 2005 have continued the trend, as Coastal was 6-for-7 in the red zone (four touchdowns, two field goals).
Bennett Continues Winning Ways: CCU Head Coach David Bennett continued where he left off at Catawba, with a victory in the team's inaugural game last season against Newberry. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 52-12 in his last 64 games as a head coach.
This Weeks Injury Report: For this weeks game against Delaware State, Anthony Featherstone (left knee) is probable, while Ben Hampton (high ankle sprain) and Dewitt Myers (lower leg) are doutbtful. Perry Parks (bruised lung), Josh Bauer (right lower leg) and Tony Williams (shoulder separation) are out for the contest. Out for the season are Jermaine Clemons (left knee), Keith Cox (left knee), Allen Parker (right foot) and James Sims (right knee).
This Week in the Big South: All five Big South Conference teams are in action again this weekend. Gardner-Webb hosts Tennessee-Martin, Liberty is at William & Mary, VMI hosts Lehigh and Charleston Southern is at North Greenville.
Developing the Aerial Assault: Through the first two seasons, the running game was the staple of the Chanticleers, including ranking fifth in the nation in rushing offense in 2004. However in 2005, the passing game has stepped up. CCU is averaging 182.0 yards through the air, including a school-record 287 yards in the home win over defending national champion James Madison. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen has completed 57.5 percent of his pass attempts on the year.
Coastal Earning National Recognition: Coming off a stunning 31-27 victory over defending national champion James Madison, Sept. 10, the Coastal Carolina University football program was ranked in the top 20 in all five national polls, the highest rankings in the programs brief history. The Chanticleers also picked up their first-ever first-place vote in any poll, getting one in The Sports Network voting.
Currently, the Chanticleers are receiving votes in four polls and are ranked 22nd in Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.
The week of Sept. 12, Coastals highest ranking was in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, where the Chanticleers enter at No. 15, making the biggest leap by moving up from receiving votes in the preseason poll that would have ranked the team 35th. College Sports Report has the Chanticleers ranked 16th, while CCU enters The Sports Network Top 25 at No. 17 with 919 points and one first-place vote. CCU was 18th according to Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette and 20th in the I-AA.org/Any Given Saturday poll after not receiving enough votes to be listed last week. CCUs win over then No. 1 James Madison was also named the Most Significant Win of the week by the I-AA.org/Any Given Saturday pollsters.
Starting the 2005 season, Coastal was ranked 24th by Street and Smith's and 29th in Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette's Top 40, while receiving votes in The Sports Network (extended to 32nd).
In just its second year of play in 2004, the Coastal Carolina football team, with its 10-1 overall mark, made a national impact. Coastal cracked the top 25 for the first time in history, Nov. 8, entering The Sports Network poll at 24th. Coastal was ranked in the top 25 in three polls and receiving votes in a fourth. CCU finished the year ranked 24th in The Sports Network poll and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, 25th in the National Weekly Football Gazette's Top 40 and receiving votes (27th) in the Any Given Saturday/I-AA.org poll. This was the sixth week CCU at least received votes in one of the polls.
National Honors: Coastal Carolinas football program continues to get national recognition after the thrilling 31-27 victory Sept. 10 over defending national champion James Madison. Junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen was named one of the I-AA National Weekly All-Stars by I-AA.org, while linebacker Jamar Leath has been named The Sports Networks National Defensive Player of the Week, Sept. 12. These are the second and third individual national honor ever won by a Coastal player, as placekicker Josh Hoke earned National Special Teams Player of the Week during the 2004 season from Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette. The squad was also named National Team of the Week by College Sports Report for its win over JMU.
Thigpen helped engineer CCUs 31-27 upset of No. 1 ranked James Madison on Saturday night in Conway. Thigpen passed for a career-high 287 yards, hitting 24-of-36 passes for three touchdowns, two of them in the fourth quarter with the Chanticleers trailing. His eight-yard touchdown pass to Perry Parks with 30 seconds left gave the Chanticleers the lead, completing an 11-play, 93-yard drive in the final 2:15. Part of Coastals offense that was named Big South Offensive Player of the Week, he also had 33 yards rushing to finish with 320 yards of total offense. Thigpen was 6-of-10 for 88 yards on the final drive, converting one third-down and one fourth-down pass. With CCU trailing 27-17 and under six minutes to play, Thigpen completed 10-of-14 passes for 146 yards to guide two TD drives. He had also had a pass efficiency rating of 155.58.
Leath, who also was named the New Balance/Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week, posted his second consecutive career-high with a school-record 15 tackles (six solo) in Coastals upset win over James Madison. He stepped up in the fourth quarter, when CCU had cut the margin to four at 27-24. In JMUs next-to-last possession, Leath was in on five tackles (including one for loss) in six offensive plays, helping force the Dukes to punt it back to Coastal, which led to the game-winning score. Leath leads Coastal and ranks fifth nationally with 14.5 tackles per game.
Coastal Takes Three Big South Weekly Awards: The Coastal Carolina offense and Chanticleers linebacker Jamar Leath are the Big South football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week and New Balance Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for games played the second week of the 2005 season, it was announced today by the Conference office. Coastal Carolina placekicker Josh Hoke was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week.
Coastal Carolinas offense racked up 415 yards of total offense (128 rush, 287 pass) in its 31-27 upset win over No. 1-ranked James Madison Saturday night. The Chanticleers, which came back from a 27-17 deficit, were led by quarterback Tyler Thigpen, who passed for school records of 287 yards, 24 completions and three touchdowns, as well as gaining 33 yards on the ground for 320 yards of total offense. Thigpen was 24-of-36 (66.7 percent) and posted an efficiency rating of 155.58. The offensive line protected Thigpen all night, allowing just one sack, while the offense averaged 6.0 yards per play. All five scoring drives against the Dukes were 56 yards or more (56, 58, 77, 78, 93), including the final drive of the game that went 93 yards in 11 plays in just 1:44 for the game-winning score. Thigpen was 6-of-10 for 88 yards in the final drive with five passes and 80 yards to receiver Jerome Simpson and converted one third and fourth down play on the drive. Eight CCU players had pass receptions, led by Simpsons 10 catches for a school-record 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Leath earns the defensive honor for the second-straight week, as he posted his second consecutive career-high with a school-record 15 tackles (six solo) in Coastals upset win over James Madison. He stepped up in the fourth quarter, when CCU had cut the margin to four at 27-24. In JMUs next-to-last possession, Leath was in on five tackles (including one for loss) in six offensive plays, helping force the Dukes to punt it back to Coastal, which led to the game-winning score. Leath leads Coastal and ranks fifth nationally with 14.5 tackles per game.
Hoke was instrumental in Coastals win over James Madison. On a night where special teams was a difference, Hoke hit all four PAT attempts along with a 32-yard field goal that gave Coastal a 17-14 halftime lead. On his six kickoffs, he had three touchbacks, and the best of other three resulted in field position only at the JMU 28. Overall on the six kickoffs, James Madisons average start was its own 23. A First Team All-Big South selection in 2004, Hoke receives this weekly award for the fifth time in his career.
Making Marks In the History Books: Coastal Carolina made history during the 2004 season. The Chanticleers were the first league team to win 10 games in a season, one of 36 Big South Conference records broken or tied during the historical championship season.
Defense Earns Schools First-Ever Top National Rankings: Coastal Carolina's defense was solid during the 2004 season and it showed on the national rankings, as the Chanticleers were the top team in I-AA in pass efficiency defense and turnover margin. Combining several factors for the rating, CCU had a rating of 86.79. One factor was interceptions, where Coastal has surpassed last years total of 17 by picking off 27 passes, including a Chanticleer-record five interceptions in the win over Savannah State, Nov. 6. Coastal also had a +2.0 turnover margin, recording 38 turnovers while only giving up 16.
Coastal Picked to Repeat in Big South With Two Preseason Players of the Year: In just its third year, Coastal Carolinas football program was picked to defend its Big South Conference title, announced by the league office at the Big South Football Media Day in Charlotte, NC, July 29. The poll was voted on by the Leagues head coaches, sports information directors and media panel. It marked the first time in Big Souths four-year football history that Gardner-Webb was not selected as the preseason favorite.
Coastal returns 21 starters from last years Big South champion team that finished 10-1 overall, 4-0 in the Big South and ranked in three of the final Top 25 polls.
Coastal Carolina running back Patrick Hall ,the reigning Big South Offensive Player of the Year, and Charleston Southern QB Collin Drafts were voted as the Leagues 2005 Preseason co-Offensive Players of the Year by the Conferences coaches, SIDs and media panel, while the group voted Coastal defensive lineman Kelvin McIver preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Drafts and Hall tied for the top spot with 18 points each. Hall tallied five first-place votes and was the lone Conference rusher to eclipse 1,000-yards rushing last year (1,107). He averaged a Big South single-season record 7.14 yards per carry and scored a League-leading 13 touchdowns. Hall is rated No. 16 among all I-AA running backs by The Sports Network entering 2005.
McIver is the first defensive lineman to receive the Conferences preseason honor, as former Gardner-Webb defensive back Mario Williams was the preseason favorite the first two years of the individual poll. Last season, McIver was a First-team All-Big South selection after tying for the League lead with seven sacks and second with 15 tackles for loss, while recording 51 total tackles.
CCU had five other players recognized on the Preseason All-Big South squads. Two additional offensive players were named Preseason All-Big South, as senior offensive lineman Antwon Trice and sophomore wide receiver Jerome Simpson were honored. CCU also had two on the defensive side of the ball, as senior linebacker Maurice Simpkins and senior defensive back received accolades from the league. Junior kicker Josh Hoke was also named to the squad.
Trice, also a Third Team All-American according to Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette, anchored an offensive line that helped CCU set new league offensive records in points scored, rushing yards, rushing per game. CCUs offensive attack ranked fifth nationally in rushing yardage and eighth in scoring, while setting new school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. Jeffcoat also had five receptions for 62 yards, including a career-long 22-yard reception at Newberry. Trice was a Second Team All-Big South selection in 2003.
Simpson, named Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-Big South in 2004, was Coastals leading receiver, posting school records with 26 receptions, 419 yards and eight touchdowns, earning Freshman of the Week honors three times. He currently ranks first in career receiving touchdowns and second in career yardage and receptions. The sophomore-to-be from Reidsville, N.C. ranked eighth in the Big South in yards per game and 10th in scoring. He made a stellar first impression, with four catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win at Morehead State. His 108 yards receiving against Charleston are the second most in school history, while the three touchdown receptions set a new school record.
Simpkins earned his second consecutive First Team honor in 2004 after ranking 10th in the Big South overall and sixth among linebackers with 78 tackles on the season, including 43 solo. He also finished sixth in the Big South in sacks per game with 0.45 per game and seventh in tackles for loss with eight. He had 10 tackles against Liberty including a tackle for loss, along with seven versus Gardner-Webb and eight versus Charleston Southern.
Teal led the Big South Conference and ranked 11th in the nation with a new CCU record six interceptions. He also finished second in the league and 10th nationally with 18 passes defended. In the league, he ranked 11th among defensive backs with 50 tackles (32 of them solo), including a career-high 10 tackles and an interception in the season-finale win over Charleston Southern.
Coming off an ACL injury in Spring 2004, Hoke led the Big South in 2004 in total points with 83 and ranked second in scoring average at 7.5 points per game. He finished 35th in the nation in field goals (0.91 per game) and scoring (7.55 ppg). He led all Big South kickers in PAT percentage, hitting on 53-of-54 extra points for a 98.1 percent rating, with both the attempts and made new league records. He was also the top field goal kicker at 71.4 percent, hitting a league-best 10 field goals. Hoke set a new league record with 16 points in the win over North Greenville, earning National and Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honors, en route to becoming the first kicker in league history to score more than 100 career points, currently with 138.
2005 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 Points
1. Coastal Carolina (11) 55 12 6 - - 73
2. Liberty (3) 15 20 18 4 - 57
3. Gardner-Webb (2) 10 32 9 4 1 56
4. VMI - - 9 14 6 29
5. Charleston Southern - - 6 10 9 25