COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. TIGERS
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (7,322) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, November 4, 2006 ~ 12:30 p.m.
CCU Versus the Tigers: Coastal and Savannah State has met three times, with Coastal winning all three previous meetings. Last season, CCU won the game at Savannah State, 42-16. In the three previous games, the Chanticleers have outscored the Tigers, 123-49.
The Coaches: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his fourth season at Coastal with a 31-10 record at CCU and 94-27 overall in his 11th year as a head coach. 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.
Savannah State Head Coach Theo Lemon (Ohio, '80) is in his first season as head coach of the Tigers, posting a 1-7 record at Savannah State. He is also in his fifth season as a head coach overall.
Homecoming Outcomes: Today, Coastal celebrates its fourth football Homecoming, posting a 2-1 record in the contests, but has faced just two opponents in those four games, including today. In 2005, the Chants defeated VMI, 38-14 after having gotten the 52-14 win over Savannah State in 2004. In its first ever Homecoming in 2003, CCU lost to VMI, 19-10.
Last Time Out: No. 22 Coastal Carolina put together another solid fourth quarter and got the 28-26 Big South Conference victory over visiting Liberty, Oct. 28.
The Chanticleers fell behind 13-7 through three quarters but put together 21 fourth-quarter points and withstood a late Liberty rally to get the win.
Coastal totaled 422 yards of total offense on the day, getting 257 through the air and 165 on the ground. Liberty had 308 yards of total offense, including 181 yards of rushing. Both teams had a pair of interceptions and combined for 190 yards of penalties.
Tyler Thigpen again led CCU offensively, going 16-for-28, in windy conditions, for 257 yards and a pair of scores, while running for 41 yards. Mike Tolbert had 71 yards and one touchdown, while Aundres Perkins had 41 yards and a score as well. Jerome Simpson posted a game-high six catches for 145 yards and one touchdown. (Complete game recap and stats on Page 19.)
Last Season's Meeting With the Tigers: No. 8/9 Coastal Carolina took advantage of Savannah State miscues early in the game, scoring on three straight possessions and handling the host Tigers, 42-16.
The Chanticleers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, two of them off Savannah State turnovers, to blow open the game at 21-0 less than 18 minutes into the game.
Coastal was outgained 384-273 in total offense, though the Chants were very balanced offensively. CCU rushed for 137 yards and gained 136 in the air. Tyler Thigpen was 11-for-18 for 136 yards and two touchdowns passing, while leading CCU with 42 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Jerome Simpson hauled in four catches for 92 yards and a pair of scores.
SSU was led by Chad Cone on the ground with 134 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Garrett Williams was 24-for-40 for 288 yards and two interceptions, while wide receiver Clyde Tullis had 12 catches for 162 yards. (Complete recap and stats on page 18.)
Chanticleers Move Up In The Rankings: The Chanticleers moved to 6-2 with their 28-26 win against Liberty, Oct. 28, and are now ranked 17th in The Sports Network poll and the College Sporting News Coaches' Poll. Coastal also is rated 17th by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette and by CollegeSportsReport.com.
Teal Earns Second Big South Player of the Week Award: Safety Quinton Teal has been named the Big South football New Balance Defensive Player of the Week for games played during Week Nine (Oct. 28) of the 2006 season, it was announced by the Conference office. This is the second time this season that Teal has garnered the honor, as he was also given the award on Sept. 25 for his play in the home win over South Carolina State.
Teal recorded a career-high 13 tackles in the 28-26 home win over Liberty, Oct. 28. He had one tackle for loss, but his biggest play may have been an interception on Libertys opening drive of the game, where he intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart the Flames scoring opportunity on first-and-goal. Teal is the Big Souths all-time interception leader with 16.
Thigpen On The Walter Payton Award Watch List: Senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen has been named to the revised Walter Payton Award Watch List, The Sports Network announced Oct. 11. The list consists of 16 players who are under consideration for I-AA football's version of the Heisman Trophy as the top player in I-AA football and will be presented Thu., Dec. 14 in Chattanooga, Tenn. as part of the I-AA Championship festivities.
The first ever Big South Conference player on the list, Thigpen has totaled a new school record of 2,150 passing yards in the first eight games of the 2006 season, an average of 268.8 yards per game, ranking third in I-AA. He also became the fastest passer to 1,000 yards in a season in Big South history this year. On the season, Thigpen leads I-AA in total offense at 323.50 yards per game, while also ranking sixth in passing efficiency at 163.67. He surpassed the 4,000-yard career mark in the game at No. 24 Georgia Southern, and just passed the 5,000-yard passing mark at VMI, Oct. 14, a total currently at 5,452 career passing yards. He also surpassed the career total offense 6,000-yard total in the win over Furman, Oct. 7, now at 6,860 yards.
Brooks Stadium Has Been Good to Coastal: In the brief history of the program, the Chanticleers are 17-4 (.810) in the friendly confines of Brooks Stadium. CCU is playing six home games this year, but had their Big South record 12-game home winning streak snapped in the season opener against Elon, Sept. 2. Coastal has won its last five Big South games at home, dating back to the 2003 season.
Daylight Hours: Out of 41 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 20 in the day light hours. Coastal is 15-5 in day games, and the numbers are good at home, as CCU is 8-1 in day games in Conway.
Winning at Halftime: CCU is impressive when leading at the half with a 23-2 mark. Coastal is a perfect 13-0 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 10-2 mark when leading at the half on the road. The only losses have occurred at Liberty in 2003 and last year's double-overtime thriller at Charleston Southern.
Going Long and Far: Coastal has not been afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard. This season, 32 of 37 scoring drives have been at least 48 yards, with 28 of them going 60 yards or more. All six scoring drives in the win at Wofford, each resulting in a touchdown, were at least 61 yards, with four of the drives going 80 yards or more. At Winston-Salem State, four of the five scoring drives were 56 yards or more, with three of them going at least 71 yards.
Also, CCU has had 16 of 37 scoring drives go seven plays or more. In the home victory over then No. 3 Furman, all four scoring drives were at least 65 yards, with the longest going 83 yards.
Of last season's 46 scoring drives, the Chanticleers had 24 scoring drives (20 touchdowns, four field goals) of 50 yards or more, including 15 of 70-plus yards, and only 15 of 35 yards or less (seven touchdowns, eight field goals - including the overtime game winners against Gardner-Webb (FG) and Liberty (TD)). Additionally, Coastal had 14 scoring drives of nine plays or more.
Winning When Scoring First: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding an 21-1 mark in three-plus seasons of play. Last season, Coastal was 4-0 when lighting the scoreboard first. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road.
When Its Natural: Coastal has played 37 of its 41 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 29-8 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 2005 season loss at Appalachian State and the triple-overtime win at Liberty last season.
Back-To-Back: The Chanticleers will be looking to become 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 won the 2004 crown and shared the 2005 title with Charleston Southern.
Returning In The Fourth Year: The Chanticleers return 73 letterwinners and 21 starters (seven offense, nine defense, five special teams) to the squad this year.
So This Is Senior Leadership: Coastal returns more seniors than any program in I-AA football this year. After spending the first season practicing, the Chanticleers start the 2006 season with not one, but two classes of seniors, as the 2002 and 2003 recruiting classes will wrap up their eligibility this year. Among the 32 seniors on the roster, 30 of them are in at least their third year with the program and 14 are starting on offense or defense, along with four starting specialists.
The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 21-1 lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The only loss came in last season's finale at Charleston Southern, when Coastal ran for 222 yards in the double-overtime loss.
Working the Balancing Act: Coastal has worked, since the first season, on becoming a more balanced attack and has shown that early in the 2006 season. Currently, the CCU offense ranks second in the nation in total offense at 453.29 yards a contest and has given up just six sacks in the first seven games. In the win at Wofford, CCU put together 288 yards through the air and 222 yards on the ground for a total of 510 offensive yards, the fourth most in school history. Then in the victory over S.C. State, Coastal amassed 240 yards on the ground and 199 through the air. Against Furman, Coastal posted 274 passing yards and 108 rushing. CCU's best game of the year came in the win at VMI, as the Chanticleers totaled 555 yards of total offense (330 rushing, 225 passing).
Red Zone Making Opponents See Red: Or see more lights for Coastal on the scoreboard in this case. Coaches often say that red zone execution is a key to success for a football team, and Coastal Carolina follows that philosophy. For the season, Coastal is now 23-for-30 (76.7 percent) in the red zone, 16 of which are touchdowns, while limiting opponents to 24-for-33 (72.7 percent) inside the 20.
Is There Too Much of a Good Thing?: And when we are talking of a good thing, we are talking about Coastal's much improved passing attack. Coastal has had at least 200 passing yards in all but one game (and that was 199 against South Carolina State). However, when the Chanticleers throw for 200-299 yards, they are 5-0 this season. When surpassing the 300-yard mark through the air, Coastal is 0-2.
Stadium Expansion: Sept. 2 marked the first game with the new seating capacity of CCU's Brooks Stadium. The school added 914 seats to the facility to bring seating capacity up to 7,322 for the 2006 season.
Making the Aerial Assault Fly: Senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen has been stellar in the passing game this season.Recently added as a candidate for the Walter Payton Award (I-AAs version of the Heisman Trophy), Thigpen leads all of I-AA with 323.5 yards of total offense per game, while ranking third in passing yards per game (268.8) and sixth in passing efficiency (163.67).
He broke the schools single-season passing record in just six games and became the fastest passer to 1,000 yards in a season in league history this year. He enters todays game with 2,150 yards and 17 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions.
Thigpen opened the 2006 season with a record-setting performance against Elon, going 23-for-43 for 312 yards and one touchdown. The 312 yards were the first-ever 300-yard passing game in school history, while the 43 attempts are also a new school record. The passing yards are also the second-highest total in Brooks Stadium annals. He followed that up with 288 yards in the win at Wofford, Sept. 9. In that game, Thigpen connected with Santini Washington for an 80-yard touchdown strike, the longest offensive play in Coastal history. Thigpen then broke the single-game passing record at No. 24 Georgia Southern, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
He surpassed the 4,000-yard career mark in the game at No. 24 Georgia Southern, and the 5,000-yard passing mark in the win at VMI, a total currently at 5,195 career passing yards. He also surpassed the career total offense 6,000-yard total in the win over Furman, Oct. 7, now at 6,860 yards.
Making the Catch: Junior wide receiver Jerome Simpson continues to show his ability to make the catch with his play on the field. This season, Simpson has continued to improve, as he has already had three games of more than 100 yards receiving, as well as five games with six or more receptions. He has already broken the school record for single-season yardage with 736, surpassing his own previous record of 527 last year. He also has 43 catches, a new school record, as well as a school-record 10 touchdowns, including at least one touchdown in the last four contests, all Coastal wins.
He became the first CCU player ever to eclipse the 200-yard receiving mark in a single game, posting a record 207 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches at No. 24 Georgia Southern. The total was just three yards shy of the Big South record of 210.
Simpson has already taken over on the CCU career chart, currently leading in all three categories with 102 catches for 1,682 yards and 27 touchdowns. The 1,682 yards rank fifth in the history of the Big South, as he was the 10th receiver in league history to hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark in his career. He also was the ninth player in league history with 100-plus catches. His 27 touchdowns are the Big South career lead in touchdown catches, surpassing William Andrews, Jr. of Gardner-Webb earlier this year at 21. Additionally, Coastal is a stellar 15-2 in games that Simpson has a touchdown reception.
He also showed his skills last season on the field. Against No. 1 James Madison last season, 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. Additionally, Simpson surpassed his own single-season school records last season in the three main receiving categories. Last year, he had 33 receptions for 527 yards and nine touchdowns, bettering his freshman marks of 26 receptions for 419 yards and eight touchdowns.
In the National Rankings: Coastal Carolina continues to make itself known in the national rankings, both as a team and individually. CCUs passing offense is ranked sixth in the nation at 270.50 yards per game and second in total offense at 449.38 yards per contest. The Chanticleers rank fifth nationally in passing efficiency at a 161.70 rating. CCU also leads the Big South and is 14th nationally in sacks allowed at 1.00 per game, 18th in the country at 29.25 points per game and 29th in rushing offense at 178.88 yards a contest.
The defense has also had its recognition, as Coastal is third in pass defense at 122.50 yards per game and 23rd in pass efficiency defense with a 108.95 rating.
Individually, several players rank in the top 50 nationally in the statistics. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen leads all of I-AA (and third in Division I overall) in total offense at 327.14 yards per game, third in passing efficiency at a 166.59 rating and fourth in passing yards per game at 270.43 yards per contest. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson is 10th at 92.00 receiving yards per game, while ranking 22nd in scoring at 7.50 points per game and tying for 31st in receptions per game at 5.38. Kicker Josh Hoke is 37th in field goals per game at 0.88. Defensively, linebacker Jamar Leath is 11th in tackles at 10.88 per game, while safeties Quinton Teal and Dewitt Myers are tied for 41st at 0.38 interceptions a contest.
Just Tell Him You Don't Want To Do The Bootleg: However, the bootleg didn't hurt senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen against VMI, Oct. 29, 2005, as he scampered a then school-record 77 yards for final score in the Homecoming victory over the Keydets. Thigpen rushed for a career-high 112 yards, the ninth-best performance and 14th 100-yard game in Coastal history. In addition, the 77-yard touchdown run is currently the fourth longest rushing play from scrimmage in Big South history.
Thigpen has also gotten it done with his feet when called upon. He currently ranks second for CCU and fourth in the Big South with 438 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He became the leagues all-time quarterback rusher earlier this year, a mark that currently stands at 1,408 yards and also set a new Big South single-season quarterback rushing record, breaking the record he set last year.
He Makes The Stops: The answer is definitely yes in the case of senior linebacker Jamar Leath. In 2005, Leath ranked third in the Big South and tied for 31st in I-AA nationally in total tackles at 9.82 tackles per game, while setting a new school record with 108 total tackles, the second CCU player to record 100 tackles in a single season. He set a new career best with 15 tackles and then tied it twice more during the season. He also tied for 29th nationally with three forced fumbles in 2005.
This season, Leath is leading the team lead with 87, ranking 11th nationally at 10.88 tackles per contest. He has posted 335 career tackles, just becoming the fourth player in Big South history to record 300 career tackles and is now the league's all-time leader in tackles. In the win over then No. 3 Furman, Leath posted a then season-best 14 tackles, just one off the school record he shares. He then followed it up with 13 stops in the win at VMI, Oct. 14 and then 15 tackles in the home win over Liberty, Oct. 28.
Finding The Promised Land: Senior running back Aundres Perkins has shown he has a nose for the end zone in his career. In just three seasons, Perkins already is the Big South Conference's career touchdown leader with 42 scores. In 2005, Perk scored 12 touchdowns to match his 2004 total, while he tallied 14 scores his freshman season.
He also became just the fourth rusher in Big South history, and second from Coastal, to reach the 2,000-yard mark in his career. He posted 78 yards in the home win against South Carolina State, Sept. 23, to pass the mark and now sits at 2,199. He ranks fourth all-time in league history and trails former teammate Patrick Hall by 15 yards for third place. He currently leads the team in rushing this season with 455 yards (5.4 per carry) and a team-high tying four touchdowns. He had his longest rush of the season in the win over Liberty, going 33 yards for a touchdown.
However, he has also been involved in the passing game, totaling career highs of 16 catches for 221 yards (13.8 yards per catch).
I Will Pick Your Pocket: Defensive back Quinton Teal has been cashing in on quarterback 'checks', having picked off a league-leading five passes last season, including one at Savannah State that he returned for a school-record 74 yards to set up CCUs first score. Last year, he tied for 15th in the country in interceptions (0.45 per game) and was also tied for 32nd in passes defended per game at 1.09. The senior led the league in picks in 2004 with a league-record six INTs, as well as being the Big South's all-time interception leader with 16.
Teal picked up his third pick of the season, this one in the Coastal end zone, in the win over Liberty to end the Flames' opening drive, thrwarting their scoring chance. Teal also had a pair of breakups and a blocked punt in the home win over South Carolina State, helping him earn Big South Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Kicking/Kickoffs : And that is what kicker Josh Hoke has done for the Chanticleers in his four-year career at Coastal. For his career, he is 155-of-161 in PATs and 37-for-58 on field goal attempts.
Hoke hit four of five field goal attempts in the opener against Elon and followed it up by going 5-for-5 on point after attempts in the win at Wofford. He had a current streak of 85 consecutive PATs made snapped as the line blocking didn't hold, resulting in a blocked PAT in the home win against Furman, Oct. 7, 2006.
Out of 57 kickoffs in 2005, Hoke has had 28 go for touchbacks, a very impressive 49.1 percent. He also hit 14 field goals on the year, tying for 12th in I-AA football at 1.27 made per game. He had three from 45 yards or beyond, with a career-long 49-yarder in the home win over Delaware State.
The Leader of the Pack: CCU Head Coach David Bennett has continued where he left off at Catawba with his winning ways now at Coastal. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 65-15 (81.3 percent) in his last 80 games as a head coach.
The Streak Continues: In its brief history of 41 games, the Chanticleers have yet to be shutout on the scoreboard, the longest current streak in the Big South Conference. In fact, CCU's lowest single game point total was last year at Appalachian State, with just a lone field goal.
Among The National Leaders in Attendance: Coastal has been one of the standouts in I-AA in attendance based on capacity in its first three 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.
Coastal has continued that tradition early 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 now rank third in I-AA in attendance based on percentage of capacity at 117.73 percent.
Big South In Action This Week: Four of the five Big South schools are in action, as Gardner-Webb is at Charleston Southern in league action, while Liberty hosts Western Carolina. VMI will have an open date this weekend.
This Week's Injury Report: On this week's injury report for the game against Savannah State, Tommy Fraser (right toe) and Racheed Gause (right knee) are probable, with Ben Hampton (right ankle), Marrio Norman (left calf), Arthur Sitton (left ankle), Mike Tolbert (right ankle), Trent Usher (right hamstring) and Travis Dannelly (right shoulder) questionable. Chris McDonald (right hamstring) is doubtful, while Ren McKinnon (right ankle) and Chris Walker (right ankle) are out for the game. Brandon Whitley (knee), Louie Brock (knee), James Sims (foot), and Adrain Grady (knee, shoulder) are out for the season.
Tolbert Named Big South Offensive Player of the Week: Coastal Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert was named the Big South Football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week for games played during Week Seven (Oct. 14) of the 2006 season, it was announced today by the Conference office.
Tolbert had the best game of his Coastal career in helping the Chanticleers to two Big South records and a road win at Conference foe VMI. Tolbert rushed for a career-high and team season-high 151 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries (18.9 average). He also had two catches for 32 yards to finish with 183 all-purpose yards. Tolbert first scored on a 30-yard run up the middle where he broke no fewer than four tackles. He later scampered 80 yards, outrunning the entire VMI defense, for a score and tying the Big South record for longest rush from scrimmage. Tolbert helped Coastals running game average a Big South single-game record of 11.8 yards per rush (28 for 330), as well as set the League mark for average gain per play at 9.9 (555 total yards on 56 plays).
Coastal Players Earns National Honors: The awards also followed the televised victory over Furman, Oct. 7. The squad was named National Team of the Week by The Sports Network. Junior wide receiver Jerome Simpson was named National Co-Offensive Player of the Week by The Sports Network, while senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen was honored as CollegeSportsReport.com's Division I-AA Performer of the Week.
Simpson, also the Big South Offensive Player of the Week, had a big effort with nine receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns and make key plays to lift Coastal Carolina to a 29-27 upset over Furman. He caught a three-yard TD pass to tie the score at 21 early in the fourth quarter, then notched the game-winning touchdown with an eight-yard reception with 5:41 to play in the game. Simpson had three catches for 20 yards or more and seven first-down receptions.
Thigpen connected on 21 of 33 passing for 274 yards and three scores. He also added 57 yards and a score on 16 rushes on the ground. Thigpen opened the games scoring with a four-yard toss to Perry Parks. He then put the Chants up 14-7 following a 12-yard scamper. However, it was in the fourth quarter where Thigpen shined, tossing a pair of scores to Simpson. His second touchdown pass went to knot the game at 21, and his third of the game gave CCU the huge win.
Three Chanticleers Earn Weekly Big South Accolades: Coastal Carolina wide receiver Jerome Simpson and linebacker Jamar Leath have been named the Big South football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week and New Balance Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for games played during Week Six of the 2006 season, it was announced by the Conference office. In addition, Coastal Carolina defensive back Sean Lundy was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week.
Simpson had one of his best games of the season Saturday in Coastal's 29-27 upset win over No. 3 Furman, recording a team season-high of nine catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, of Simpson's catches, three of them were for 20 yards or more during the game and seven went for first downs. On CCU's opening scoring drive, the junior had two catches for 64 yards to get the Chanticleers in position for their first score of the game. He later scored the game-tying touchdown (21-21) early in the fourth quarter, then added the game-winning score (29-27) with 5:48 left to play. Most of Simpson's nine catches were acrobatic and timely, and went for distances of 42, 22, 34, 8, 16, 8, 3, 10 and 8.
Leath recorded a season-high 14 tackles (one off his career best) to lead the Chanticleers to a win over No. 3 Furman. The senior had five solo tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in the win. He also had a hand in stopping a crucial fourth-and-nine late in the game that gave Coastal the ball back, as he defended the intended receiver. With his 14 tackles, he became just the fourth player in Big South history to record 300 career tackles and currently sits in second-place all-time at 307, needing one to tie the Big South career record and two stops to take over the career lead.
Lundy made the special teams play of the night in the thrilling 29-27 win over No. 3 Furman Saturday. With Furman taking a 27-21 lead at 9:35 in the fourth quarter, senior Quinton Teal blocked the extra point attempt and Lundy scooped up the ball and scampered 85 yards to the end zone for two points -- which ended up being the difference in giving CCU the win. It was the first-ever two-point PAT return in the history of the Chanticleers program.
Record Setting Night: The Chanticleers had two Big South Conference records set in the win at Winston-Salem State, Sept. 30. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen took over as the all-time leading quarterback rusher, passing Nick Roberts of Gardner-Webb and finishing the night with 1,233 career yards. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson had a pair of touchdown receptions and became the Big South career touchdown receptions leader with 23, moving ahead of William Andrews, Jr., also of Gardner-Webb, with 21.
Thigpen Earns Second Big South Weekly Honor: Quarterback Tyler Thigpen has been named the Big South football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week for games played during Week Five of the 2006 season, it was announced by the Conference office. This is the second time this season and sixth time in his career that Thigpen has earned the weekly honor.
Thigpen was 19-of-26 passing (73.1 percent) for 279 yards and a school-record four touchdowns in Coastals 31-12 win at Winston-Salem State. He finished with a 213.98 passing efficiency against the Rams, while his 73.1 completion percentage is seventh-best in League history. Thigpen also rushed for a team-high 57 yards and finished the day with 336 yards of total offense his fourth game this season over 300 total yards, a Big South single-season record. He had a long rush of 50 yards in the third quarter, and became the Big Souths all-time leading quarterback rusher during the contest, finishing with 1,233 to pass Gardner-Webbs Nick Roberts (1,182).
Teal Earns Defensive Honor: Senior safety Quinton Teal was honored as Big South Conference Football Choice Hotels Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Sept 25. Teal posted eight tackles, including six solos, and two pass break-ups in Coastals 33-14 home win over South Carolina State. Playing on a defense without five starters Saturday, Teal had five stops and one break-up in the second half that led the Chanticleers to limiting the visiting Bulldogs to just 46 yards of total offense in a dominating second-half performance. One of his pass break-ups kept SCSU out of the end zone, as he dislodged the ball with a hit at CCUs three-yard line and SCSU was not able to cash in on the drive for points. He also stepped in on special teams by blocking a punt and returning kicks -- the first time he has been a returner since his senior year in high school.
Grady Sending Them Backwards: Senior Adrain Grady makes sure that he sends the opponents back towards their own end zone. Of Grady's 14 tackles this year before his season-ending injury, 4.5 of them were for loss, including two sacks. Grady is currently CCU's all-time sacks leader with 17.0 and second in career tackles for loss with 30.5 for 150 yards.
Pair Earn Weekly Big South Honors: Coastal Carolina's junior wide receiver Jerome Simpson was named Big South Conference Football Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week, while wide receiver Jamar Anderson earned Freshman of the Week honors, the league announced Sept. 18. This is the second consecutive week a CCU player has earned a Big South award, as senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen was Co-Offensive Player of the Week last week.
Simpson posted one of the best games in Big South history at No. 17 Georgia Southern. He recorded eight catches for a school-record 207 yards and two touchdowns (30 and 58 yards). His 207-yard game is only the second 200-yard receiving game in League history (three shy of the record), while his two touchdowns move his career total to 21, tying him with William Andrews, Jr. (Gardner-Webb) for the Big South career touchdown receptions lead. During a second-quarter drive, Simpson caught a pair of passes, the first for 50 yards and the second for 30 to complete the two-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in 0:36. Seven of his eight catches were at least 10 yards (14, 10, 23, 50, 30, 14, 58) while six went for first downs.
Anderson was Coastals second-leading receiver Saturday at Georgia Southern. He had four catches for 52, a season best for the freshman. In just his second game of collegiate action, Anderson had two catches that gave the Chanticleers first downs, and he hauled in three passes and 47 yards during one drive, including a personal-best 33-yard reception. His four catches were the third-most by a CCU receiver this year.
He Was Offensive To The Terriers: Senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen was named the Big South Conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Week, announced by the league, Sept. 11. This is the fifth time in his career that Thigpen has been awarded the weekly honor, sharing that week's with Charleston Southern quarterback Collin Drafts. Thigpen was also honored by CollegeSportsReport.com as its I-AA National Performer of the Week and by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette as a I-AA National Offensive Player of the Week.
Thigpen was key for the Chanticleers in their dramatic 41-38 road victory at No. 27 Wofford. He was 13-of-20 through the air for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and added 10 carries for a team-high 94 yards and one score on the ground. Thigpen, whose 382 yards of total offense is the fourth-highest single-game performance in Big South history, directed the Chanticleers on six scoring drives of 61 yards or more, including four of 80 yards or more. He connected with receiver Santini Washington for an 80-yard touchdown pass, the longest play in CCU history and third-longest in Big South history. His 288 yards were then the second most single-game passing yards in school history, while his 94 rushing yards are sixth-most in a game by a Big South quarterback. Thigpen also became the second quarterback in League history to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his career.
Too Much Drama: Coastal Carolina had a flair in 2005 for the dramatic in making the most of its opportunities. The Chanticleers have four wins after they were trailing by eight or more during the final quarter, two against nationally-ranked opponents, along with the first two conference games.
CCU put together three fourth-quarter rallies for the history books in 2005. 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.
Weekly Big South Teleconference: Each Tuesday during the 2006 season, all five Big South head coaches will participate in a one-hour teleconference call, beginning at 10:30am ET. CCU 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 Conferences website, www.Big SouthSports.com. THIS CALL IS OPEN TO MEDIA ONLY. If you would like information to tune in live and ask questions, please contact either John Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Simpson (email@example.com) for the dial-in phone number and code.