Football To Open Big South Play Hosting Gardner-Webb


Football To Open Big South Play Hosting Gardner-Webb

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Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (6,408) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, October 15, 2005 ~ 3:30 p.m.

You Want A Piece O' Me?!: Coastal Carolina's football team comes off an open week to start Big South Conference play, hosting Gardner-Webb today in the first of three consecutive league games for the Chanticleers.

The brief series is tied at one win each, with the road team earning the victory both times. Last season, Coastal took a 31-19 victory over the host and then defending Big South champion Bulldogs. That win was a key part of Coastal's run to its first-ever Big South championship.

It's Not You, It's Me: Coastal CarolinaHead Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal with a 20-7 record at CCU and 83-24 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.

Gardner-Webb Head Coach Steve Patton (Furman, '77) is in his ninth season as head coach of the Bulldogs, posting a 58-33 mark at GWU and 88-57-1 mark in 12-plus seasons overall. Patton led the Bulldogs to the Big South Conference crowns in 2002 and 2003.

The Question Is... Are You Still Master of Your Domain: Coastal has been solid at Brooks Stadium in the first two seasons overall, posting a 11-3 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 now has a nine-game home winning streak.

Your Boys Should Stay In Their Neighborhood: Coastal Carolina won its ninth-straight home game, Sept. 24, with its 24-6 win over Delaware State. In that span, the Chanticleers have scored 377 points, for an average of 41.9 per game. They have held their opponents to 148 points, or 16.4 per contest during the streak. The Big South record for consecutive home wins is 11, set by Gardner-Webb from August 31, 2002 to Nov. 15, 2003.

Festivus For the Rest of Us: Out of 27 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 12 in the day light hours. Coastal is 8-4 in day games, but the numbers improve on the road, as CCU is 6-3 in day games away from Conway. At night, the Chanticleers are an impressive 12-3, including a 9-2 mark at Brooks Stadium.

The Airing of the Grievances: Coastal Carolina's football team is on television for the second consecutive game and that could be good for the Chant. In its brief history, CCU is a stellar 7-0 in television appearances, including the dramatic win at then No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1. Coastal will be televised one more time after today's game, as the Coastal-Charleston Southern season finale will be on as part of the Big South package.

Giddyup!: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 17-1 mark going into this weekend's game against Gardner-Webb. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road.

OK, Let's Go, You've Got 30 Minutes: CCU is impressive when leading at the half with an 18-1 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.

I'm Out There Baby And I'm Loving It!: Coastal has played 24 of its 27 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 19-5 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 an early season loss at Appalachian State.

Where Are People? Show Me People!!: 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. CCU then followed it up with the second-largest crowd in school history, as 8,267 watched Coastal defeat Delaware State, Sept. 24. CCU currently ranks third in I-AA in attendance based on capacity at 131.09 percent.

I Want To Make A Good Entrance: In the home opener against James Madison, Coastal Carolina revealed a new set of black home jerseys that match the road jerseys. CCU only had teal home jerseys during the first two seasons. As seen in the opener at Elon, the Chants have replaced their road jerseys in the third season, including changing the numbers on the road jerseys from teal to black. Coastal added another look at South Carolina State, debuting new teal pants with the new road jerseys.

The Road Less Taken Is Less Taken For A Reason: The 2005 slate for the Chanticleers is very different, as compared to the first two years. Coastal played the same teams in each of the first two seasons, but this year, only Savannah State remains from the non-conference opponents last season. Among the six new teams on the schedule are defending national champion James Madison out of the Atlantic 10, Appalachian State and Elon from the Southern Conference, South Carolina State and Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Mansfield (PA) out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

They're Real And They're Spectacular: Coastal Carolina has had a flair for the dramatic in making the most of its opportunities to earn wins against two nationally-ranked opponents.

CCU put together two fourth-quarter rallies for the history books this season. In the home opener Sept. 10 against defending national champion and current top-five James Madison, the Chanticleers came back from a 27-17 deficit, scoring 14 points in the final 5:54, including the game winner with just over 30 seconds remaining for a 31-27 victory.

To only outdo themselves, the Chants scored 14 points in the last 9:51 at then No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1, to steal a dramatic 24-23 win over the host Bulldogs. In that contest, Coastal scored with just 17 seconds to play for the win.

Nobody Drives Like Me: Coastal has not been afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard. Of this season's 18 scoring drives, the Chanticleers have had 12 scoring drives (nine touchdowns, three field goals) of 50 yards or more, including eight of 70-plus yards, and only six of 35 yards or less (two touchdowns, four field goals). Additionally, Coastal has had 10 scoring drives of nine plays or more.

The two dramatic game-winning drives have been the two longest scoring drives of the season for the Chanticleers. Coastal moved the ball 93 yards in 11 plays over 1:44 against James Madison and then went 86 yards in 15 plays over 6:54 for the victory at South Carolina State.

Not Bad.... Not Bad At All: Coastal Carolina continued to climb in the national polls this week, announced Oct. 10. Coastal's highest ranking comes in The Sports Network Top 25 at No. 15 with 1,066 points, moving up four spots. The Chanticleers also moved up in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, going from 19th to 16th with 420 points. CCU is 20th in the Any Given Saturday poll, tying the team's highest ranking ever in the poll. In two other independent rankings, the Chants are 17th by College Sports Report and 21st according to Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.

Swarm, Swarm!!: Coastal Carolina's defense is a major reason for the solid start to the 2005 season. Currently, the Chanticleer defense ranks 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 99.08. CCU also ranks in the top 25 nationally in pass defense (19th, 153.60 ypg), scoring defense (t-19th, 19.2 ppg) and 24th in third down defensive conversion percentage (31.0 percent.). Additionally, junior linebacker Jamar Leath is tied for 12th in the nation in total tackles with 11.0 per game.

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 year’s 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.

Serenity Now, Insanity Later: Coastal Carolina came back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a dramatic 24-23 win at No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1. CCU picked up its second win over a ranked team this season, also having defeated then No. 1 James Madison in Week 2.

The Chanticleers made it a flair for the dramatic again this season, taking the ball on their own 14 with 7:11 to go in the game. Coastal marched 83 yards in 14 plays and faced fourth-and-goal at the SCSU 3. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen dropped back and lofted a pass in the end zone that wide receiver Jerome Simpson pulled down for the score with 17 seconds to play. Hoke’s 100th career extra point, the first in Big South history to achieve the feat, gave Coastal the lead at 24-23. Coastal defensive back Quinton Teal then picked off McCoy’s pass on SCSU’s first play of the final drive and sealed the victory.

Coastal was outgained by South Carolina State, 357-281, though CCU held the time of possession advantage, 31:55 to 28:05, and was 3-for-4 on fourth down conversions.. The Chanticleers did put together 184 yards of rushing, led by running back Jamie Fordham with 62 yards, while Thigpen and Tolbert had 46 and 44 yards respectively. Thigpen was also 14-for-28 for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception, including 3-for-4 for 31 yards on the final drive. (Complete recap is available on page 17).

No Soup For You!: In last year's meeting, Coastal Carolina’s football team jumped out to a 17-0 lead and made it stand for a 31-19 victory at Gardner-Webb, Oct. 30, 2004. With the win, coupled with Charleston Southern’s loss at Liberty, the Chanticleers secured at least a share of the Big South Conference title in just their second season of play.

CCU gained 429 yards of total offense, 258 of them on the ground in the victory and held the edge in time of possession with just over 33 minutes. Junior running back Patrick Hall posted the third 100-yard rushing game of the season for CCU, going for 103 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns. He also became the second Chanticleer to eclipse the 1,000-yard career rushing mark, ending with 1,088. Reserve quarterback Ren McKinnon had 75 yards on eight carries and a touchdown, all in the fourth quarter. Starting quarterback Tyler Thigpen was 8-for-18 for 171 yards and one touchdown prior to his season-ending injury and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, finishing the game with 1,008. (Complete recap and stats are on page 16).

He's Got 'Jimmy Legs': Well they are more like 'Jamie Legs' as running back Jamie Fordham has made the most of his playing time for Coastal this season. In the home win over Delaware State, Sept. 24, the redshirt freshman only had 12 carries for 32 yards coming into the game, but posted his first collegiate 100-yard game with 109 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. The 22 carries are the fourth most in Coastal history, while the 109 yards rank ninth. This was also the first 100-yard rushing game of the season for the Chanticleers and sixth this season in the Big South. He currently leads Coastal with 203 yards and one touchdown on 44 carries.

Well, You're the Big Look Expert: And the big look came in the form of weekly awards for Coastal after the dramatic 24-23 win at then No. 17 South Carolina State. CCU’s football program was honored with three Big South Conference weekly awards, the league office announced Oct. 3. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was named the Choice Hotels Big South Co-Offensive Player of the Week and placekicker Josh Hoke was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week. Defensive lineman Warren Jennings was named as the league’s Freshman of the Week.

Thigpen, who shared the honor with VMI’s Jonathan Wilson, led the Chanticleers back from a 13-point deficit at No. 17 South Carolina State. He totaled 143 yards of total offense, including 46 on the ground with a long run of 22 yards, while leading CCU to two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to win the game.Thigpen directed the Chants to a 15-play, 86-yard touchdown drive in 6:54, hooking up with wide receiver Jerome Simpson for a three-yard score on fourth-and-goal with 17 seconds remaining. During that drive, Thigpen was 3-of-4 passing for 31 yards and also rushed for 16 yards. This is the second time this season, and third time in his career, that Thipgen has garnered the weekly honor, as he was part of the CCU Offense that earned the award for the James Madison victory, Sept. 10.

Hoke, a junior from Statesville, N.C., earns his third weekly honor of the season and seventh of his career after his 3-3 PAT performance and 39-yard field goal at South Carolina State. Last week’s National Special Teams Player of Week according to Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette, he became the first kicker in Big South history to record 100 PATs and did so with the game-winning point, hitting a PAT with 17 seconds to play. His second PAT kick was not easy, as Hoke was forced to hesitate due to a bad snap, but still managed a successful attempt. He also posted two touchbacks on kickoffs, and limited the Bulldogs’ kickoff returners, who were averaging more than 46 yards a return, to just 20 yards per return.

Jennings, a freshman from Orangeburg, S.C., returned to his hometown and recorded four tackles in Coastal’s 24-23 win over South Carolina State. He totaled three solo hits, as well as his first career tackle-for-loss and sack for an eight-yard loss. Jennings also recovered a fumble in the first quarter that led to CCU’s first score of the game.

Mind Your Pace Boy!! Chop! Chop!: Running back Patrick Hall is continuing to move up the Big South career rushing charts. Currently, the senior has 1,783 career rushing yards to rank third, having just passed Eugene Goodman of Liberty with 1,769. Dre Barnes, also from Liberty, is the Big South career rushing leader with 3,409 yards. Aundres Perkins is currently seventh on the chart with 1,501 yards, just 44 yards behind Chris Foster of Gardner-Webb in sixth.

Just Tell Him You Don't Want To Do The Bootleg: Though junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen can handle it well and has grown in the passing game this season. With his 287-yard passing output against then No.1 James Madison, he became the first passer in CCU history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in his career, a mark that is currently at 2,400 yards. His 287 yards were also a personal best and school record for a single game and are the second most in the Big South this season.

All Right, I'll Do It!!: Sophomore wide receiver Jerome Simpson has made an impact on the Coastal program in his first 17 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. He also caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 17 seconds to go in the dramatic win over then-No. 17 South Carolina State.

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 626 career receiving yards. Against JMU, he also took over the lead in receptions with 43. He already was the career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 11.

You Got a Question, You Ask The 8-Ball: The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 15-0 lifetime (9-0 in 2004) when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game.

The Chanticleers had a very effective ground assault on their opponents in 2004, averaging a league best and fifth in the nation 278.0 rushing yards per contest. Coastal broken the Big South single-season rushing total with 3,058 rushing yards, surpassing Liberty's 2,614 yards last season.

I'm Putting It In The Vault: Or on the scoreboard in this case, as coaches often say that red zone execution is a key to success for a football team. Coastal Carolina follows that philosophy. Through the first five games in 2005, the Chanticleers are 14-for-17 (82.4 percent) in the red zone (nine touchdowns, five field goals) while opponents have been limited to just 77.8 percent (14-for-18).

How Could Anyone Not Like Him?: And like him the Coastal faithful do, as CCU Head Coach David Bennett has continued where he left off at Catawba. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 54-12 in his last 66 games as a head coach.

Welcome Back To The Show: Four of the five Big South schools are in action this week, including Coastal hosting Gardner-Webb in the league opener for both teams. Also playing are Liberty hosting Towson and VMI at Wofford. Charleston Southern has the week off.

You Yada Yada'd The Best Part: 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".

Here's To Feeling Good All The Time: On this week's injury report for the game against Gardner-Webb, Robbie Wright (left ankle), Brad Poston (left shoulder), Russ Clardy (left shoulder), Josh Bauer (right lower leg), D'Mario Kelley (left shoulder), Dewitt Myers (lower leg) and Jamar Leath (left ankle) are probable. Tony Williams (shoulder separation) and D.J. Rice (right wrist) are questionable, while Ben Hampton (high ankle sprain) is doubtful. Out for the season are Jermaine Clemons (left knee), Keith Cox (left knee), Anthony Featherstone (left knee), Sean Lundy (right knee), Allen Parker (right foot) and James Sims (right knee).

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That: 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 145.4 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 53.6 percent (67-of-125) of his pass attempts on the year.

Alright, That's It For Me, You've Been Great!: Coastal Carolina placekicker Josh Hoke was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week for the week ending Sept. 25, the league office announced today. This is the second time this season that Hoke has earned the award, as he was also honored for his performance against James Madison. He has now won the award six times in his career.

Hoke earned his second weekly honor in three weeks following his three field goal, 10-point performance in Coastal’s 24-6 win over Delaware State. The junior booted a 49-yarder in the first quarter, the longest in school history and third-longest in Big South history, added a 26-yard field goal in the second stanza, and kicked a 46-yard field goal (third-longest in school history) in the third quarter. His only miss came on the last play of the first half, when he attempted the longest field goal in Conference history at 57 yards. Hoke scored 10 points Saturday against Delaware State, his sixth career game with scoring at least 10 points. Hoke also was solid on kickoffs, posting four touchbacks on six kickoffs, with Delaware State’s average start at its own 12-yard line on the remaining two kicks.

They're Talking About Nothing: 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 in I-AA when it ended. 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 14 of its last 16 games, dating back to the inaugural season finale in 2003.



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