COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. KEYDETS
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (6,408) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, October 29, 2005 ~ 12:30 p.m.
Its Time One of Us Drew A Line In the Sand: Coastal Carolina's football team will have that line drawn when it returns home for its third consecutive Big South Conference game, hosting VMI today. The brief series is tied at one win each, with the road team earning the victory both times. Last season, Coastal took a 21-14 victory over the host Keydets. VMI enters today with a 2-1 mark in conference play, giving them a chance to clinch at least a share of the conference title with a victory.
It's Not You, It's Me: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal with a 22-7 record at CCU and 85-24 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.
VMI Head Coach Cal McCombs (The Citadel, '67) is in his seventh season as head coach of the Keydets, posting a 19-55 mark at VMI and overall.
It's Very Refreshing: Playing in the fall afternoon can be refreshing for all involved, or at least less draining. In today's game, Coastal is playing the first of two home games in the early afternoon at Brooks Stadium, both kicking off at 12:30 p.m. As a matter of fact, the Chanticleers' latest game for the remainder of the year is next week's 1:30 p.m. kickoff at Savannah State.
You Kept Making All the Stops?: The answer is definitely yes in the case of junior linebacker Jamar Leath. Currently Leath ranks second in the Big South and sixth in I-AA nationally in total tackles at 12.14 tackles per game. He set a new career best with 15 tackles and has then tied it twice more during the season. Using his current average, Leath would be projected to post 133 tackles for the season, which would be a new school record and second for a single season in the Big South.
You Know This Is My Crazy Time of the Year: And for Coastal, this wraps up one of the more hectic parts of the schedule, wrapping up a three-game stretch of conference play. However, the Big South is not playing out completely according to the pre-season polls. Coastal, the preseason favorite, leads the league at 2-0. However, VMI, picked fourth in the preseason, has put up a 2-1 mark and currently sits in second. Gardner-Webb is in third, where it was picked in the preseason, while Liberty, selected No. 2 prior to the year, and Charleston Southern are both winless in league play.
You Double Dipped: After playing its first-ever overtime game in the Big South opener against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15, Coastal Carolina came back the next week for a second, even larger helping with a triple-overtime win at Liberty, Oct. 22. The amazing part about it is that the Chanticleers have held their opponents scoreless in the four overtimes, forcing three turnovers and one missed 42-yard field goal.
Get Out, Get Out!: And that is what kicker Josh Hoke has been doing for the Chanticleers again this year and in an improved fashion. Out of 32 kickoffs this year, Hoke has had 19 go for touchbacks, a very impressive 62.6 percent. He also has hit 11 field goals on the year, tying for seventh in I-AA football at 1.57 made per game. He has three from 45 yards or beyond, with a career-long 49-yarder in the home win over Delaware State.
Festivus For the Rest of Us: Out of 29 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 13 in the day time. Coastal is 9-4 in day games, but the numbers continue on the road, as CCU is 3-1 in day games in Conway. At night, the Chanticleers are also an impressive 13-3, including a 9-2 mark at Brooks Stadium.
Giddyup!: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 17-1 mark going into this weekend's game against VMI. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road.
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.
What About Like An Announcer? You Know How I Always Make Those Interesting Comments During the Game?: And for CCU and Big South play-by-play man Matt Hogue, he had more than enough time for interesting comments during his work last Saturday. Hogue pulled more than double duty last week, handling television duties for the VMI-Gardner-Webb game in the early afternoon and then broadcasting the Coastal-Liberty game that night. This could be one for the Guiness Book of Records, as Hogue broadcasted SIX overtimes (three in each game), as well as the regulation games within an 11-hour period.
You've Got Beautiful Hands: And sophomore wide receiver Jerome Simpson continues to show that with his play on the field. 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. 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 825 career receiving yards. Against JMU, he also took over the lead in receptions, a standard now at 50. He already was the career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 15. Additionally, Coastal is a perfect 8-0 in games that Simpson has a touchdown reception.
He Wrote the Check And I Cashed It: Defensive back Quinton Teal has been cashing in on quarterback 'checks', having picked off a league leading four passes this season. He currently is tied for eighth in the country in interceptions (0.57 per game) and is also tied for 20th in passes defended per game at 1.27. The senior led the league in picks last year with a league-record six INTs, as well as being the Big South's all-time interception leader with 12.
Ill Get You!!!!: The linebacking duo of senior Maurice Simpkins and junior Jamar Leath have been doing that to opponents each of the past three seasons for the Chanticleers. Among the league leaders in tackles each season, Simpkins currently ranks sixth in the league in career tackles with 244, while Leath is right behind in seventh with 225.
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 1,945 career rushing yards to rank third. With 55 yards, Hall will become just the third player in Big South history to rush for 2,000 career yards, joining Dre Barnes from Liberty, the Big South career rushing leader with 3,409 yards, and Sean Mizzer of VMI, currently with 2,201 yards. Aundres Perkins just moved up to sixth on the list with 1,594 yards, trailing Eugene Goodman of Liberty in fifth with 1,769.
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 school-record 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 and is quickly closing in on 3,000 yards. Thigpen had his second-highest career output with 241 yards at Liberty and now its at 2,834 yards heading into the VMI game. He also has already broken the schools single-season passing mark in just seven games with 1,121 yards.
They're Real And They're Spectacular: Coastal Carolina has had a flair for the dramatic in making the most of its opportunities. The Chanticleers have four wins where they were trailing by eight or more during the final quarter, two against nationally-ranked opponents, along with the first two conference games.
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 Big South opener, 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.
Add the Liberty game, Oct. 22, which ranks up there, as the Chanticleers fought through three overtimes to escape with a 27-21 win. Coastal trailed 14-6 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. CCU scored twice in the final quarter of regulation and found itself in overtime after a LU drive late in the contest. After a combined three missed field goals and a turnover, Coastal won on a five-yard touchdown run and a forced turnover by the CCU defense.
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 29 scoring drives, the Chanticleers have had 16 scoring drives (13 touchdowns, three field goals) of 50 yards or more, including 11 of 70-plus yards, and only 10 of 35 yards or less (four touchdowns, six field goals - including the overtime game winners against Gardner-Webb (FG) and Liberty (TD)). Additionally, Coastal has had 10 scoring drives of nine plays or more.
The two dramatic game-winning drives against ranked opponents 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 No. 1 James Madison and then went 86 yards in 15 plays over 6:54 for the victory at No. 17 South Carolina State. However in the fourth-quarter comback against Gardner-Webb to go to overtime, 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. 24. Coastal's highest ranking comes in The Sports Network Top 25 at No. 13 with 1,452 points, moving up one spot this week. The Chanticleers also moved up in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, going from 15th to 13th with 602 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 21st by College Sports Report and 18th 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 is tied for sixth in the nation with 12 interceptions and ranks 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 105.76. CCU also ranks in the top 35 nationally in pass defense (33rd, 172.43 ypg), scoring defense (33rd, 21.1 ppg) and 13th in third down defensive conversion percentage (30.1 percent).
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.
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.
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 165.9 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 54.1 percent (98-of-181) of his pass attempts on the year.
I'm Out There Baby And I'm Loving It!: Coastal has played 25 of its 29 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, an early season loss at Appalachian State and the triple-overtime win at Liberty.
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 seven games in 2005, the Chanticleers are 21-for-25 (84.0 percent) in the red zone (11 touchdowns, six field goals) while opponents have been limited to just 71.4 percent (20-for-28).
Serenity Now, Serenity Now: Senior defensive back Quinton Teal provided the late game heroics as his interception in the endzone of the third overtime sealed #14/15 Coastal Carolinas 27-21 come from behind victory over Liberty, Oct. 22. Coastal tied the league-record with its seventh consecutive Big South Conference win. This was also Coastals fourth victory of the season after trailing entering the final quarter.
Senior Patrick Hall led CCU with 81 yards rushing on 20 carries. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was 15-for-31 for 241 yards, the second-most yards in Chants history, and one touchdown. Wide receiver Santini Washington had a team-high four receptions for 66 yards. Defensively for Coastal, junior linebacker Jamar Leath tied for game-high honors with 15 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Other defensive standouts for Coastal included senior Maurice Simpkins and sophomore Anthony Steele with 12 stops each. (Complete recap is available on page 17).
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.
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).
Worlds Collide: Coastal Carolina had a battle throughout against a very pesky VMI squad, but came away with an important Big South Conference road win, 21-14, Oct. 16, 2004.
With the game tied at 14 after a scoreless third quarter, CCUs defense forced a 16-yard VMI punt, giving the Chants the ball on the VMI 30. On the next play, quarterback Tyler Thigpen hooked up with wide receiver Perry Parks on a crossing route for a 30-yard touchdown and a 21-14 CCU lead with 12:50 to play in the game. The touchdown was the first touchdown of the year for Parks and the first CCU TD reception by someone other than Jerome Simpson.
The Chanticleers outgained VMI 327-245, including 151 yards of passing by Thigpen on 11-for-20 passing. Parks led the recievers with 52 yards on three catches, while Simpson had four catches for 50 yards. Hall led Coastal with 78 yards and one touchdown. For VMI, Sean Mizzer was the leading carrier with 17 rushes for 78 yards and two scores, while third-string quarterback Kirk Monteleone had 20 carries for 63 yards, while going 8-for-14 for 78 yards through the air.(Complete recap and stats are on page 16).
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.
IHow 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 56-12 in his last 68 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 VMI. Additionally, Liberty heads to Gardner-Webb for a Big South showdown, while Charleston Southern takes the week off.
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, one game shy of tying the league record set by Gardner-Webb.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 VMI, Sam Harper (right ankle), D.J. Rice, (right wrist), Mike Tolbert (right shoulder), Zori Simmons (right arm), Brian Kepple (left shoulder) and Tony Williams (shoulder separation) are probable. Justin Landrum (concussion), Ben Hampton (high ankle sprain), Santini Washington (left shoulder) and Antwon Trice (right ankle) are questionable. 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).
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".
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.
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 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 weeks National Special Teams Player of Week according to Don Hansens 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 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.