Football Heads On the Road to Two-Time Defending Champion Liberty

The Chanticleers and Flames hold the last five Big South crowns between them.


Oct. 14, 2009

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader


A Tough Three-Game Road Swing: The Coastal Carolina University football squad will go on the road for the next three games, with all of them being a big challenge, starting today at two-time defending Big South Conference champion Liberty. Following this, the Chanticleers head to Stony Brook Oct. 24, followed by a trip to Death Valley to take on Clemson on Oct. 31.

The Coaches: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, ‘84) is in his seventh season at Coastal Carolina with a 48-25 record and 111-42 overall in his 14th year as a head coach. Prior to Coastal Carolina in seven 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.
 Liberty Head Coach Danny Rocco (Wake Forest, ’84) is in his fourth season as head coach with the Flames and overall with a 27-12 record.

History With Liberty: The Chanticleers and Flames have met in all six previous seasons, with the two teams splitting the meetings at 3-3. Liberty has won the last two meetings, including 37-24 during the 2007 season en route to its first Big South title. The most dramatic game in the series occurred in 2005 at Williams Stadium, as the Chants pulled out a 27-21 triple-overtime victory.
Liberty -- 3-3 (2-1 Home, 1-2 Away)
Date Location Result Att.
11/15/03 Away L, 21-38 4173
10/23/04 Home W, 33-6 7439
10/22/05 Away W-3ot, 27-21  2815
10/28/06 Home W, 28-26 6964
11/3/27 Away L, 24-37 14411
10/4/08 Home L, 38-43 7063

All-Time Versus the Big South: Coastal Carolina has had solid success in its six-plus seasons against Big South opponents. Overall, the Chants are 17-9 against the league in history, including going 8-4 on the road.  However, the only location that Coastal has a losing record is at Liberty, where it has only won once in three tries.
 Overall Home Road
Big South  17-9 8-5 8-4
Charleston Southern 4-2 2-1 2-1
Gardner-Webb 5-1 2-1 3-0
Liberty 3-3 2-1 1-2
Stony Brook 0-1 0-1 0-0
VMI 5-2 3-1 2-1

Coastal Carolina Football On TV: Coastal Carolina's football team has a pair of television appearances slated for the 2009 campaign. The Chanticleers will make their first televised appearance this Saturday on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network when they travel to two-time defending champion Liberty. Coastal Carolina will also be on the tube when it heads to New York for their first game at Stony Brook, Oct. 24. Coastal Carolina is a solid 14-7 in television appearances all-time, but just 6-5 on the road.

Big South Conference Openers:  In its brief six-plus year history in the Big South, Coastal Carolina is 5-2 in league openers.  Of those, four of them have occurred at Brooks Stadium, with the Chanticleers sporting just a 2-2 mark. The Chants had dropped their first league game to Gardner-Webb at home during the 2003 season, won the next four and then lost last year’s league starter to then No. 20 Liberty, 43-38. However, Coastal and VMI have met four times on opening day for the Chants, with Coastal Carolina taking all four meetings, including this season's 20-6 win at Brooks Stadium.

Trio Earns Big South Honors For Play In Win over VMI: Quarterback Zach MacDowall has been named the Big South football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week, and teammate Derrick Frasier has been named the Defensive Player of the Week for games played during Week 6 of the 2009 regular-season.  In addition, Coastal Carolina kicker Justin Durham is the Special Teams Players of the Week.

 MacDowall was solid in the Chanticleers’ 20-6 win over VMI, going 14-for-20  for 207 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions, plus four rushes of four yards or more.  On Coastal’s opening drive, MacDowall scrambled around and eventually found wide receiver Adrian Sullivan for a 41-yard strike that gave the Chants the lead for good.  MacDowall also led the offense to conversions on 8-of-13 third-down opportunities on the night, keeping the ball out of VMI’s hands in the final three quarters with a 26:43 to 18:17 advantage, more than eight minutes difference.  Seven of the third-down conversions were directly attributable to MacDowall, with six through the air, including four of longer than nine yards needed (two of more than 18 yards needed), including five of 14 or more yards gained, and one on the ground. 

 Frasier, a junior, was a key cog on the defense for the Chanticleers in shutting down the Keydets’ offense, recording seven tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery in the victory.  He ended the Keydets’ opening drive of the second half by tipping a pass over the middle and then coming down with it for an interception at Coastal’s 21.  Frasier’s fumble recovery came late in the fourth quarter and helped seal the victory.  His effort was a part of the defense that kept VMI off the scoreboard after the opening drive and limited the Keydets to just 168 rushing yards overall -- more than 40 yards below its season average entering the game.  Coastal held VMI to just 2-of-14 on third down following VMI’s opening scoring drive.

 Durham, a redshirt-junior, was perfect for the Chanticleers Saturday in the win over VMI, hitting both extra points and a pair of field goals of 33 and 37 yards.  The 33-yarder added to the Chanticleers’ lead, as it was on the opening drive of the second half, while the 37-yarder in the fourth quarter pushed Coastal’s margin to seven points.  Durham has now hit his last six field goal attempts in a row, a school record.

O'Neal Reaches the Elite 1,000: Junior running back Eric O'Neal rushed for 8 yards in the home win over VMI, Oct. 10, putting him the elite 1,000-yard rushing club for his career. He became the sixth Chanticleer and 25th Big South player in history to reach the milestone, as O'Neal now has 1,050 yards on his career. For the year, he has 320 rushing yards, averaging 4.4 yards a carry and 64.0 yards a game, ranking third in the Big South.

Defense Stepping Up: Coastal Carolina, which led the Big South in pass defense efficiency from 2004-07, is atop the League in the category after the first month of the season. The Chanticleers have a pass efficiency rating of 93.93, which is currently the second-lowest in a single-season in the  Big South. Coastal leads the League with 10 interceptions, and has allowed just four touchdown passes this year.

In the national rankings, Coastal is in the top 15 in four categories. This week, the Chants are third in pass defense at 126.20 yards per game, fifth in scoring defense at 13.80 points per contest, seventh in pass efficiency defense and 13th in total defense at 263.00 yards a game.

Looking at the Record Books: Several Chanticleers are looking to continue their move up the Coastal Carolina record books this season. Redshirt-junior quarterback Zach MacDowall is currently second on the all-time charts in pass completions (213), passing yards (2,865), passing touchdowns (20) and total offense (3,170) and third in pass attempts (357). 

 Junior kicker Justin Durham moved up to fourth in all-time scoring with 138  points passing current San Diego Charger Mike Tolbert at 134.

 Defensively, senior defensive end Phillip Oboh is putting his stamp on the career list. He is currently second in career sacks with 14.5, adding two against North Carolina A&T to pass Maurice Simpkins (2003-05) at 14.0. He is also third in career  tackles for loss at 24.0. He needs 2.0 sacks this season to reach Adrain Grady’s Coastal Carolina career record of 16.5 sacks. Redshirt-junior Dominique Davenport is sixth on the career tackles chart with 162 and fifth with 102 career solo tackles.

Last Time Out For the Chanticleers: The Coastal Carolina University football team used a strong defensive effort to limit VMI's vaunted rushing attack and post a 20-6 victory in the Big South opener for the Chanticleers, Oct. 10.

After VMI took the opening possession down the field and scored, the Chanticleers scored 20 unanswered points while keeping the Keydets off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. Coastal scored its points on a touchdown pass from Zach MacDowall to Adrian Sullivan that turned out to be the game-winner, two field goals from kicker Justin Durham and a touchdown run by Jamie Childers.

 Coastal outgained VMI 418-243, including limiting the Keydets to just 162 yards and no points after the visitors’ opening scoring drive. The two teams were almost even on rushing, with VMI, the league’s leading rushing team, to just 168 yards, more than 40 less than their season average. Turnovers were also a major factor, with VMI giving up two fumbles and two interceptions and Coastal fumbling the ball away twice. After the opening drive and going 3-of-4 on third down conversions, the Keydets were just 2-of-14 the rest of the way, while Coastal was 8-of-13 for the contest.

 The Chants were led on the ground by running back Eric O’Neal had a game-high 78 yards on 15 carries. MacDowall was 14-of-20 for 207 yards and one touchdown through the air, while Childers added a 5-of-5 for 38-yard performance. Wide receiver Brandon Whitley had a career-high 94 yards on five catches, while O’Neal also had five receptions for 43 yards. Coastal Carolina’s defense took a stand with linebackers E.J. Brown and Derrick Frasier leading the Chants. Brown led the team with nine tackles and Frasier stood out with seven tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. (Complete recap on Page 22.)

Last Meeting with the Flames: The Coastal Carolina University football team fell at home to the #20 Liberty Flames 43-38 in the Big South Conference opener for both teams at Brooks Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 4. The loss was the first in league play in Brooks Stadium since the 2003 season, a streak of eight consecutive wins.

 The game had its moments for the Chanticleers, who fell behind 10-0 early in the first quarter after Liberty tailback Rashad Jennings caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Flames quarterback Brock Smith at the 9:36 mark of the quarter. The Flames later added to the lead with a Matt Bevins 22-yard field goal, giving the No. 20 team in the land the early lead.

 Quarterback Jamie Childers, who was utilized as a goal-line quarterback throughout the contest, cut the Flames lead to 10-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:56 left in the quarter. The Chants would take a 14-10 lead early in the second half as Chanticleer running back Jamie Fordham broke a 15-yard run for six.

 Liberty would then register 17 unanswered points from the second quarter to 4:40 into the third, as the Chants would find themselves in a 27-14 hole. The Chants would add a Justin Durham 42-yard field goal to trim the lead to 27-17. After Liberty scored on the first play of the next drive go up 34-17, Coastal Carolina could not get over the top and fell to the Flames.

  The game statistics bore out the overall closeness of the game, as both teams gained over 500 yards of offense, with Liberty racking up 292 yards of rushing and 239 yards of passing, while Coastal Carolina had 382 yards through the air and 152 on the ground. A key difference was penalties, as the Chants had two touchdowns called back on one drive for penalties and ended up with a field goal, finishing up with 10 penalties for 70 yards.

 The game did break several Coastal Carolina offensive records, as Zach MacDowall set the Coastal Carolina single-game record with 382 yards through the air, passing former Chanticleer All-American Tyler Thigpen with 351 passing yards. Overall, MacDowall was 22-of-44 for 382 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on the night. Marquel Willis tied for the fourth best individual receiving game in Coastal Carolina history with145 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Fordham was the team's top rusher, gaining 66 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Battle of the Champions: Today's matchup is a battle of the last five Big South Conference champions. 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 last two seasons, Liberty has earned the league crown, setting up today's battle.

The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal Carolina is 200, as the Chanticleers are 32-4 (.889) lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The only losses came in 2005’s finale at Charleston Southern and 2007’s losses to Georgia Southern, against Presbyterian and at Liberty.  In 2008, the Chants were able to post four games with 200+ yards of rushing and came away with victories in all four contests. The most recent was the win over North Carolina A&T, Sept. 26, where Coastal Carolina put up 304 rushing yards. Currently Coastal is 2-0 in 2009 when posting 200 or more rushing yards.

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 against same or lower level opponents, Bennett's teams are 20-4 and outscore their opponents by a 744-324 margin, an average of 17.5 points per game more than their opponents.

I Love the Nightlife: Out of 73 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 39 in the night time hours. The Chanticleers are 26-13 in evening tilts, including going an even more impressive 18-7 at home.

Going Long and Far: Coastal Carolina was not afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard in 2008. Of the 45 scoring drives, 27 of them were 60 yards or more, while 27 of them were seven plays or longer. The most plays in a drive was 17 against Liberty, Oct. 4, 2008, with the longest drive also occurring against the Flames, a 91-yard march in the fourth quarter.

 For the 2009 season, they have 11 of 16 scoring drives of 55 yards or more and 11 that went at least six plays.

Winning When Scoring First: Coaches say a good start is essential and the Chanticleers have proven that in their history. Coastal Carolina has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 30-4 (.882) mark in six-plus seasons of play.

When Its Natural: Coastal Carolina has played 61 of its 73 games in its history on natural grass. The Chanticleers are 44-17 (.721) on natural grass, including 28-10 (.737) at home. Coastal Carolina has gone just 4-8 on the fake stuff in its six-plus years of play. In 2008, the Chants played 11 of their 12 games on natural grass, with the only exception in Week Three as Coastal Carolina got a 26-7 victory on Field Turf at Monmouth. 

 This season, there will be four games on artificial surfaces, with Kent State, Towson, Liberty and Stony Brook all playing on FieldTurf. The Chants dropped their first two games on the artificial surface, losing the opener at Kent State, 18-0, and last week's 21-17 heartbreaker at Towson.

Winning at Halftime: The Chanticleers are impressive when leading at the half with a 36-7 (.837) mark. Coastal Carolina is 19-3 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 16-4 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, 2007’s losses at Furman and in overtime to Presbyterian, last year’s home opener to Colgate and last year’s game at VMI.

A Good Road Squad: The Chants have proven to be a good road squad in their first six-plus seasons of play. Overall, Coastal Carolina has a 20-14 road mark. Last year, Coastal Carolina was an impressive 4-2 on the road but is still looking for its first road victory in 2009.

Whitley A Target On the Wide Side: Redshirt sophomore Brandon Whitley has shown the maturity of being in his third year with the program. Whitley had five catches for a career-high 94 yards in the win over VMI, Oct. 10.  Averaging 17.8 yards per reception, Whitley currently ranks sixth in the Big South in receiving yards at 56.80 per game and ninth in receptions per game at 3.20, both team bests.

Norman "Picking" Up the Family Tradition: Sophomore cornerback Josh Norman is proving that the history of interceptions follows through his family. Norman currently leads the Chanticleers with three interceptions on the season, leading the Big South and tying for sixth in the nation. His three interceptions already ties for the seventh-best single-season mark in the program's brief history. Currently, Norman has five career picks, which ties for fifth all-time at Coastal and he is tracking older brother Marrio Norman (2004, 2006-08), who ranks second all-time for the Chants with 11 interceptions.

Steward Making the Stops: Linebacker Desmond Steward had a standout game at Towson, Sept. 19.  The redshirt sophomore recorded a game-high 16 stops, including six solos and a 0.5 tackle for loss. The 16 tackles are the second-highest total for a game in Coastal Carolina history and the top individual performance in the Big South Conference this season. Currently, Steward leads the Chanticleers and ranks seventh in the league at 6.6 tackles per contest, including 10 solos.

Duran Starting To Feel His Way: Redshirt sophomore transfer David Duran showed what he brings to the team after transferring this fall from Michigan State. Duran had three catches for a team-high 82 yards in the win over Monmouth, Sept. 12. His 16-yard catch on 3rd-and-10 prolonged Coastal Carolina’s opening scoring drive, while his 47-yard reception got the ball to the Monmouth 5 on the first drive of the second half, setting up the Chants’ second touchdown of the game.

 He then followed it up with six catches for 88 yards and a score at Towson. He is currently the Chants’ second-leading receiver at 10 catches for 183 yards and one touchdown.

Coaching Staff Continuity: The Coastal Carolina football coaching staff is a rarity in the world of college football. In the eight 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 Gary Smallen (tight ends) in 2006 and Grant Cain (outside linebackers) in 2007. Four of them (Head Coach David Bennett, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Brown, Defensive Coordinator Curtis Walker and Offensive Line Coach Jamie Snider) have been together for the last 12 years dating back to their time at Division II Catawba.

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, Oct. 27, 2007, Bennett picked up his membership in the illustrious career 100-win club. For his 12-plus year career, he is now 111-42 (.725) as a head coach.

Doing It on Both Sides of the Ball: Coastal Carolina rushed for 207 yards and passed for 203 in defeating Monmouth, 24-17, Sept. 12.  It was the first time since Nov. 11, 2006 that the Chanticleers surpassed 200 yards in both categories.  That day, Coastal Carolina rushed for 332 yards and passed for 306 in a 52-24 win at Gardner-Webb.  Not to be outdone, the Chanticleer defense held Monmouth below 100 yards rushing and passing, the sixth time in school history Coastal Carolina held its opponent under the century mark in both rushing and passing in the same game.

Brown Earns League’s Weekly Defensive Honor: Linebacker E.J. Brown was named the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week for games played during Week 4 of the 2009 regular season. 

 Brown recorded a career-best five tackles in Coastal Carolina’s 28-7 win over North Carolina A&T, including a pair of solo stops, a half-sack for minus-9 yards and his first career interception.  Brown’s 29-yard interception return in the second quarter set up the Chanticleers’ second score of the contest, one of two plays he made that ended A&T drives.

Making 300 A Yearly Ritual: Coastal Carolina rushed for 304 yards vs. North Carolina A&T Sept. 26, its first game over 300 rushing yards since gaining 302 against Towson last season.  The Chanticleers have gained 300 yards on the ground 13 times in their history, tied with VMI for the most in Big South history, and are 13-0 in those games.  Coastal Carolina has posted at least one 300-yard rushing game in every season since its inception in 2003.

O’Neal Busting Out: Junior running back Eric O’Neal rushed for a career-high 130 yards against North Carolina A&T Sept. 26.It was his second career 100-yard rushing game, and the most yards rushing by a Chanticleer since current San Diego Charger Mike Tolbert rushed for 244 yards against VMI on Oct. 27, 2007. His 23 carries tied the most by a Coastal Carolina rusher in Brooks Stadium, while his 130 rushing yards was the ninth-best single-game performance in school history.

Four in the Show: With just three graduating classes in two years, the Chanticleers have shown they have some quality talent, with four players currently on National Football League rosters. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was the first-ever draft pick out of the Big South Conference by the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, and started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season before being traded to the Miami Dolphins earlier this year. Defensive back Quinton Teal is starting his third year with the Carolina Panthers after playing in 28 games his first two years in Charlotte. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 NFL Draft while fullback Mike Tolbert was a 2008 free agent signee of the San Diego Chargers and started seven of his 13 games played in his rookie season.

Record After a Loss: Coastal Carolina has lost just 25 times in its history. Coming off the 22 in-season losses (not including three season-ending losses), the Chanticleers have gone 17-5 in the games following those losses and only had one three-game losing streak in its brief history.

The Scoreless Streak Ended: In its brief history of 72 games, the Chanticleers have been shutout just twice, suffering their first shutout in history in last year's season finale, losing at home to Charleston Southern, 24-0, followed by the 18-0 loss at Kent State to open the 2009 season. Prior to that, Coastal Carolina's lowest single game point total was in 2005 at Appalachian State, with just a lone field goal. 

 Coastal Carolina snapped its 11-quarter scoreless streak with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Zach MacDowall to Chris Presley early in the second quarter against Monmouth, Sept. 12.

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. Coastal Carolina is currently building the new Adkins Fieldhouse, which will have offices and meeting rooms for the football program, athletic administration offices, football locker room and equipment room and a weight room for the entire Athletic Department. In addition, there will be an estimated 1,600 seats in front of the new building, bringing the capacity of Brooks Stadium to almost 9,000.

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 six 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. In 2007, Coastal Carolina ranked 12th in the nation, again averaging over capacity at 102.65 percent in six games played. Last season, the Chants were 15th nationally at 92.07 percent.
 This season, Coastal has averaged a capacity of 94.19 percent for its first three games, placing it 17th in the nation in attendance based on capacity. This includes a sellout Sept. 26 when the Chants hosted North Carolina A&T.

This Week's Injury Report: Out for the season are Myron Rogers (knee), Raymond Emmerling (knee), Josh Thomason (shoulder), Alex Wolfe (shoulder) and Robert Morris (knee).
Racking Up the Travel Miles and Seeing New Land: The Chanticleers will play six of their 11 games this season away from home. Of the six games, three will be played in a new state for the squad -- Kent State (Ohio), Towson (Maryland) and Stony Brook (New York). In the six road games, Coastal Carolina will have traveled more than 5,000 combined miles in its six round trips, with the longest the trip to new Big South foe Stony Brook at 1,466 miles. By trip, the breakdown is Kent State 1,300 miles; Towson - 966; Stony Brook  - 1,466; Liberty - 604; Clemson - 524; and Charleston Southern - 200 miles.

Presley Making an Impact... and A New Record: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Presley made his first collegiate reception a memorable one, grabbing a streak route from Zach MacDowall for a 50-yard touchdown for the Chanticleers. He is the first Chanticleer ever to achieve that milestone. The score also snapped Coastal Carolina’s 11-quarter scoreless streak and tied the game at seven.

Fraser Getting the Job Done: Fullback Tommy Fraser was instrumental in the win over Monmouth, Sept. 12. Fraser had career highs of 14 carries for 74 yards, including a pair of key third-down conversions on the final drive that allowed Coastal Carolina to run out the clock. To put the stats in perspective, Fraser had a total of 24 carries and 81 yards his junior season in 2007 and previous career bests of eight rushes and 35 yards against Savannah State in 2006.

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 four of the five starters on the line, along with two other significant players from last season, has returned for the 2009 campaign.
 Among the newcomers, 17 Chanticleers saw their first collegiate action at Kent State. That amounted to 27.9 percent (17 of 61) of the Chants that played against the Golden Flashes.

Non-Conference Familiar Faces: In its non-conference action this year, Coastal Carolina will play return games with three familiar foes, continuing tonight with North Carolina A&T. The other return games on this year's slate are Monmouth (home) and Towson (away). The two new opponents on the Coastal Carolina schedule are both FBS schools -- Kent State, who the Chants played in the opener, and Clemson.

Coastal Carolina Picked Third in Preseason Poll: Coastal Carolina was picked to finish third in the 2009 Big South Conference Preseason Poll, announced at the League's annual Media Day in Charlotte, N.C. After tying for fifth in the 2008 season, Coastal Carolina was picked to finish third behind two-time defending champion Liberty and second-year associate member Stony Brook. The Chanticleers received one first-place vote and 83 points overall, following the Flames (10 first place votes, 109 points) and Seawolves (4 votes, 87 points). Gardner-Webb followed in fourth with one first place vote and 77 points, with Charleston Southern (1 vote, 56 points) and VMI (39 points) rounding out the poll. Presbyterian will count towards the league standings but is not eligible for the conference crown until 2011 as the Blue Hose continue their transition from Division II.

Four Chanticleers Earn Preseason All-Big South Honors: The Chanticleers had four players honored on the Preseason All-Big South team, with redshirt junior Zach MacDowall and senior offensive lineman Ryan Boehm selected on the offense, senior defensive end Phillip Oboh picked on the defense and punter Ben Erdman honored on the special teams. Their 2008 accomplishments are below.

 Zach MacDowall (R-Jr, QB): Played in 11 games, earning the start in nine of them, to garner his first collegiate letter... Was 157-for-256 for 2,064 yards, 16 touchdowns and just six interceptions through the air... Also ran the ball 80 times for 238 yards and five scores... Ranked second in the Big South Conference in passing yardage at 187.6 yards per game and passing efficiency with a 144.99 rating... Set a school record with 382 yards passing against Liberty, going 24-for-44 with two touchdowns and two interceptions... Had two 300-plus yard passing games, with the other a 22-for-33 for 306 yards, two touchdowns and no picks versus Stony Brook... Named Big South Offensive Player of the Week twice during the season... Picked up his first weekly award after going 17-for-26 for 233 yards and one touchdown in the road win at Monmouth... Followed it up the next week in a home win over Towson with 197 yards of total offense and three touchdowns to earn his second award... Rushed for a season-high 80 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against Stony Brook... Threw at least one touchdown pass in nine of 11 games and scored a rushing touchdown in five of them.

 Ryan Boehm (Sr., OL): Started all 12 games on the offensive line, splitting time between guard and center due to injuries on the line... Graded out as Coastal Carolina's second-best offensive lineman on the year... Had one tackle at VMI.

 Phillip Oboh (Sr., DE): Started six of the 12 games he played in, earning his third letter... Earned First Team All-Big South honors after posting 33 solo tackles, 53 total tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss for 37 yards, 5.0 sacks for 31 yards, one forced fumble and one blocked kick... Was fourth on the team and 36th in the Big South in total tackles, while ranking fifth in the league in sacks and ninth in tackles for loss... Posted a season-best eight tackles, including four solos, 3.0 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks, in the road win at North Carolina A&T... Had five solo tackles, including 2.0 sacks, in the victory at Presbyterian... Had three tackles, with 1.5 tackles for loss, and a blocked kick in the win over Towson... Earned seven tackles against Liberty and six against Stony Brook... Recorded at least two tackles in all 12 games and five tackles or more in six of them... 2008 Preseason All-Big South selection at defensive end.

 Ben Erdman (Jr., P):  Was Coastal Carolina's punter in all 12 games, garnering his second letter... Punted 48 times for an average of 38.0 yards per punt, leading the Big South Conference and earning him First Team All-Big South honors... Earned Big South Special Teams Player of the Week after he was a key part in the Chanticleers' victory at Gardner-Webb... Averaged 40.3 yards per kick, including a 48-yarder, and pinned the Bulldogs inside the 20 three times and allowed only one punt return on the day... Had a season-long 54-yard boot at Penn State, part of his career-best single game 43.0 yard average in eight punts... Pinned opponents inside their 20 on 13 occasions.

Weekly Big South Teleconference: Each Tuesday during the 2009 season, all seven Big South head coaches will participate in a teleconference call, beginning at 10:30 a.m. 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 web site, www.Big THIS CALL IS OPEN TO MEDIA ONLY. If you would like information to tune in live and ask questions, please contact either John Martin ( or Mark Simpson ( for the dial-in phone number and code.

Brooks Stadium Openers Are Good:  Coastal Carolina has had some great, and dramatic, wins in its home openers in the first six years, going 5-2 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 only losses in a home opener occurred in 2006, as the Chants dropped a heartbreaking 23-20 decision to the Elon Phoenix, and last year's gut-wrenching 23-18 loss on the final play to Colgate. This year, the Chants posted a 24-17 win over Monmouth. All seven of those games have been decided by seven points or less.

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. 

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. Coastal Carolina is currently building the new Adkins Fieldhouse, which will have offices and meeting rooms for the football program, athletic administration offices, football locker room and equipment room and a weight room for the entire Athletic Department. In addition, there will be an estimated 1,600 seats in front of the new building, bringing the capacity of Brooks Stadium to almost 9,000.

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.




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