COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. FLAMES
Liberty's Williams Stadium (12,000) ~ Lynchburg, Virginia
Saturday, October 22, 2005 ~ 7 p.m.
You Want A Piece O' Me?!:Coastal Carolina's football team hits the road in Big South Conference play, traveling to Liberty for the second of three consecutive league contests. The brief series is tied at one win each, with the home team earning the victory both times. Last season, Coastal took a 33-6 home victory over the Flames at Brooks Stadium.
It's Not You, It's Me:Coastal CarolinaHead Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal with a 21-7 record at CCU and 84-24 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.
Liberty Head CoachKen Karcher (Tulane, '86) is in his sixth season as head coach of the Flames, posting a 21-42 mark at Liberty and overall.
Festivus For the Rest of Us:Out of 28 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 15 under the lights. At night, the Chanticleers are an impressive 12-3, including a 9-2 mark at Brooks Stadium. Coastal is also 9-4 in day games, but the numbers continue on the road, as CCU is 6-3 in day games away from Conway.
The Airing of the Grievances:Coastal Carolina's football team was on television for the second consecutive game against Gardner-Webb and that has been good for the Chants. In its brief history, CCU is a stellar 8-0 in television appearances, including the dramatic wins at then No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1, and against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15. Coastal will be televised one more time this season, 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 at Liberty. 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 25 of its 28 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 20-5 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 118.73 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. They then combined it for a new look against Gardner-Webb, putting the new black jerseys with the new teal pants for their sixth different look of the year.
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, along with the conference opener.
CCU has put together three 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.
In the most recent game, Coastal came from behind in the fourth quarter against Gardner-Webb., including driving 41 yards in the final 22 seconds. That set up a 45-yard, game-tying field goal with no time remaining to send it to overtime, where the Chanticleers eventually pulled out the 34-31 victory.
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 14 scoring drives (11 touchdowns, three field goals) of 50 yards or more, including 10 of 70-plus yards, and only two of 35 yards or less (three touchdowns, five field goals - including the overtime game winner against Gardner-Webb). Additionally, Coastal has had 10 scoring drives of nine plays or more.
The two dramatic game-winning drives have been two of the 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. However in the fourth-quarter comback against Gardner-Webb, Coastal put together back-to-back drives of more than 90 yards for scores. The first had the Chants going 91 yards in six players for the first touchdown, and then 96 yards in 13 plays to take its first lead of the game.
Not Bad.... Not Bad At All:Coastal Carolina continued to climb in the national polls this week, announced Oct. 17. Coastal's highest ranking comes in The Sports Network Top 25 at No. 14 with 1,300 points, moving up one spot this week. The Chanticleers also moved up in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, going from 16th to 15th with 608 points. CCU is 19th in the Any Given Saturday poll, tying the team's highest ranking ever in the poll. In two other independent rankings, the Chants are 19th 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 101.32. CCU also ranks in the top 35 nationally in pass defense (27th, 163.83 ypg), scoring defense (33rd, 21.2 ppg) and 17th in third down defensive conversion percentage (30.7 percent). Additionally, junior linebacker Jamar Leath is tied for eighth in the nation in total tackles with 11.7 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 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.
Serenity Now, Insanity Later:No. 15 Coastal Carolina rallied twice in the final quarter, including a 41-yard drive for a game-tying field goal, and earned a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over visiting Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15. With the win in their first-ever overtime game, Coastal extended its home winning streak to 10 games, one shy of the Big South record.
Coastal put together a season-high 444 yards, including a season-best 251 yards of rushing. Gardner-Webb was fairly balanced on the offensive end, recording 186 yards rushing and 215 yards passing for 401 yards of total offense. Each team coughed up the ball five times overall.
CCU quarterback Tyler Thigpen was 16-for-25 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 29 yards on the ground. Running back Patrick Hall led all rushers with 81 yards on 10 carries, while running back Aundres Perkins added 53 yards on 11 carries. Gardner-Webb was led by quarterback Nick Roberts, who was 24-for-36 for 215 yards and one touchdown, and rushed for 54 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Running back Jermaine Boston was also a key for the Bulldogs with 74 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries and 45 yards on seven receptions. (Complete recap is available on page 17).
No Soup For You!:In last year's meeting, a strong running game and big play defense were the key to Coastal Carolinas 33-6 victory over Big South Conference rival Liberty, Oct. 23, 2004 at Brooks Stadium.
Coastal's offense rolled up 326 yards on the ground and controlled the clock by the wide margin of 38:12-21:48. Fullback Mike Tolbert had his first collegiate 100-yard rushing game, going for 107 yards on 10 carries, including a season-best 52 yard dash, and one touchdown. Running back Patrick Hall finished the game with 96 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns, while running back Aundres Perkins ran 11 times for 53 yards and a touchdown on the evening.
Coastals defense was outstanding as it registered three sacks and three interceptions while limiting the potent Liberty offense to 143 yards in total offense and only seven first downs. Leading the Chanticleers defensive effort was junior linebacker Maurice Simpkins who had 10 tackles, including a sack, while junior defensive back Greg Williamson recorded two interceptions and two pass break-ups. Junior Brandon Carr registered the other pick for CCU in the victory.
Liberty was led by running back Dre Barnes, who had 44 yards on 10 carries, while quarterbacks Brock Farrel and Travis Johnson combined for 12-for-22 passing for 81 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Nick Vaughn led three Liberty players in double-figure tackles with 14, while C.J. Moore and Rayshawd Barkley had 13 each. (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 254 yards and one touchdown on 54 carries.
Well, You're the Big Look Expert:Coastal Carolinas football program was honored with three Big South Conference weekly awards, the league office announced Oct. 17, following the Chanticleers thrilling 34-31 overtime win in the Big South opener against Gardner-Webb this past weekend. Linebacker Jamar Leath was named the New Balance Big South Defensive Player of the Week, while placekicker Josh Hoke was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week. Defensive back Whittmin Reese was named as the leagues Freshman of the Week.
Leath, a junior from Elon, N.C., earns his third weekly defensive honor after recording a career-best tying 15 tackles in Coastals win over Gardner-Webb. He posted six solo stops, a half-tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and forced a fumble on GWUs first possession of the second half, leading to a Coastal touchdown two plays later.
Hoke, a junior from Statesville, N.C., captures his fourth weekly award after helping Coastal comeback and defeat Gardner-Webb 34-31 in overtime. He tallied 10 points, was 4-of-4 on extra points and kicked a game-tying 45-yard field goal as time expired to tie the ballgame at 31-31. In overtime, Hoke nailed a 25-yarder to win the game. He also tallied three touchbacks on five kickoffs, running his season touchback mark to 17-of-28 (62.7 percent).
Reese, a freshman cornerback from Durham, N.C., posted a career-high eight tackles in just his second career start. He had five solo hits and three assisted tackles, including a half-tackle for loss, and notched a pass breakup in Coastals overtime winning effort.
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 1,864 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 1,554 yards, just one yard 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 2,593 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-handed 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 and added two touchdown receptions in the overtime win against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15.
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 709 career receiving yards. Against JMU, he also took over the lead in receptions, a standard now at 48. He already was the career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 13.
You Got a Question, You Ask The 8-Ball:The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 16-0 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 six games in 2005, the Chanticleers are 17-for-20 (85.0 percent) in the red zone (11 touchdowns, six field goals) while opponents have been limited to just 75.0 percent (18-for-24).
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 55-12 in his last 67d games as a head coach.
Welcome Back To The Show:All five Big South schools are in action this week, including Coastal traveling to Liberty. Additionally, Gardner-Webb heads to VMI for a Big South TV package game, while Charleston Southern hosts Savannah State.
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 12-3 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 10-game home winning streak.
Your Boys Should Stay In Their Neighborhood:Coastal Carolina won its 10-straight home game, Oct. 15, with its thriling 34-31 overtime win over Gardner-Webb. In that span, the Chanticleers have scored 411 points, for an average of 41.1 per game. They have held their opponents to 179 points, or 17.9 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.
Here's To Feeling Good All The Time:On this week's injury report for the game against Liberty, Sam Harper (right achilles strain), Jamar Leath (left ankle), D.J. Rice, (right wrist), Santini Washington (concussion), Tony Williams (shoulder separation) and Travis Williamson (left shoulder) are probable. Brian Kepple (left shoulder), Mike Tolbert (right shoulder) and Antwon Trice (right ankle) are questionable, while Ben Hampton (high ankle sprain) is doubtful. Perry Helton (left wrist) is out for the contest. 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 153.3 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 55.3 percent (83-of-150) of his pass attempts on the year.
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".
Alright, That's It For Me, You've Been Great!: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. CCUs 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 leagues Freshman of the Week.
Thigpen, who shared the honor with VMIs 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 receiverJerome 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 weeks National Special Teams Player of Week according to Don HansensNational 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 Coastals 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 CCUs first score of the game.
Setting A Big South Defensive Record:Coastal Carolina held Liberty to 143 total yards, Oct. 23, 2004 which set a new record for a Big South game. The previous low was 178 yards by Charleston Southern against Elon during the 2002 season.