COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. TIGERS
Savannah State's T.A. Wright Stadium (8,000) ~ Savannah, Georgia
Saturday, November 5, 2005 ~ 1:30 p.m.
It's Not You, It's Me: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal with a 23-7 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.
Savannah State Head Coach Richard Basil (Savannah State, '01) is in his third season as head coach of the Tigers, posting a 2-23 mark at SSU and overall.
I'm BACK Baby!: With its 38-14 win over VMI Saturday, Coastal Carolina has clinched at least a tie for the Big South football championship, its second consecutive title in just three years of play. The 3-0 Chanticleers would need to defeat Charleston Southern Nov. 19 for the outright title. A loss to the Bucs, coupled with Gardner-Webb winning this weekend to finish at 3-1, would give both teams a share of the title. A Gardner-Webb loss to CSU Saturday would eliminate the Bulldogs from contention.
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 second of four consecutive afternoon contests after playing only one in its first seven this season. As a matter of fact, the Chanticleers' latest game for the remainder of the year is this week's 1:30 p.m. kickoff at Savannah State.
Not Bad.... Not Bad At All: Coastal Carolina continued to climb in the national polls this week, announced Oct. 31. Coastal cracked the top 10 in two major national polls this week for the first time in Big South history. The Chanticleers highest ranking comes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, going from 13th to eighth with 689 points. CCU also moved up in The Sports Network Top 25 from No. 13 to No. 9 with 1,765 points, moving up four spots this week. CCU is 15th in the Any Given Saturday poll, the team's highest ranking ever in the poll. In two other independent rankings, the Chants are 17th by College Sports Report and 10th according to Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.
Festivus For the Rest of Us: Out of 30 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 14 in the day time. Coastal is 10-4 in day games, but the numbers continue on the road, as CCU is 6-3 in day games away from Conway. At night, the Chanticleers are also an impressive 13-3, including a 9-2 mark at Brooks Stadium.
OK, Let's Go, You've Got 30 Minutes: CCU is impressive when leading at the half with an 19-1 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.
Giddyup!: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 17-1 mark going into this weekend's game at Savannah State. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road.
I'm Out There Baby And I'm Loving It!: Coastal has played 26 of its 30 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 21-5 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.
You Got a Question, You Ask The 8-Ball: The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 17-0 lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game after rushing for a season-high 315 yards in the home win against VMI. Currently, Coastal is averaging 185.5 rushing yards per contest, ranking 30th in the country.
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 seven games in 2005, the Chanticleers are 26-for-31 (83.9 percent) in the red zone (17 touchdowns, nine field goals) while opponents have been limited to just 70.0 percent (21-for-30).
It's Got Cachet Up the Ying-Yang!: No. 8 Coastal Carolina defeated VMI Saturday 38-14 to run its win streak in Conference Games to eight, setting a new mark. The previous record of seven was set by Gardner-Webb from 2002-03. Coastals 38 points Saturday was its third-highest total in Big South competition. In the eight-game span, CCU has scored 284 points (35.5 average) while holding League foes to 147 points (18.4). Meanwhile, Coastal is 38 points away from tying its record for most points scored in a Big South season, having totaled 99 points in three Conference games this season. CCU scored 137 points in last years Big South championship run.
It's So Great To See A Show That's About Something: And that show was No. 13 Coastal Carolina's resounding 38-14 Homecoming victory over VMI, Oct. 29. Coastal overcame a slow start by scoring on five consecutive possessions late in the first half and early in the second to build a 31-7 lead.
The Chanticleers had season-highs of 315 rushing yards and 472 yards of total offense. Coastal outgained VMI 472-294, limited VMIs rushing attack to just 39 yards on 35 attempts and sacked VMIs Wilson six times.
Thigpen ran for a career-high 112 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries while going 10-for-18 for 157 yards and one touchdown through the air. Simpson had three receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown. For VMI, Burden had 98 receiving yards and one touchdown on four catches, while Wilson was 16-of-31 for 215 yards. Safety Robert Mason recorded a game-high 19 tackles for the Keydets. (Complete game recap and stats on page 17.)
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 880 career receiving yards. Against JMU, he also took over the lead in receptions, a standard now at 53. He already was the career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 16. Additionally, Coastal is a perfect 9-0 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 11th in the country in interceptions (0.50 per game) and is also tied for 34th in passes defended per game at 1.13. 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 250, while Leath is right behind in seventh with 227.
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 1,987 career rushing yards to rank third. With 13 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 1,636 yards, trailing Eugene Goodman of Liberty in fifth with 1,769.
Just Tell Him You Don't Want To Do The Bootleg: However, the bootleg didn't hurt junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen against VMI, Oct. 29, as he scampered a 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 addtiion, the 77-yard touchdown run was the third longest rushing play from scrimmage in Big South history. Thigpen also was effective through the air, going 10-for-18 for 157 yards and one touchdown. For his efforts in both the running and passing games, Thigpen earned his second Big South Offensive Player of the Week award, Oct. 31.
I Did Happen To Pick Up One Little Nugget of Entertainment: Junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen 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 broke the schools single-season passing mark in just seven games, a mark that is now at 1,278 yards.
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 39 kickoffs this year, Hoke has had 22 go for touchbacks, a very impressive 60.5 percent. He also has hit 12 field goals on the year, tying for eighth in I-AA football at 1.50 made per game. He has three from 45 yards or beyond, with a career-long 49-yarder in the home win over Delaware State.
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 35 scoring drives, the Chanticleers have had 20 scoring drives (16 touchdowns, four field goals) of 50 yards or more, including 13 of 70-plus yards, and only 11 of 35 yards or less (five touchdowns, six field goals - including the overtime game winners against Gardner-Webb (FG) and Liberty (TD)). Additionally, Coastal has had 11 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.
You Kept Making All the Stops?: The answer is definitely yes in the case of junior linebacker Jamar Leath. Currently Leath ranks fourth in the Big South and 16th in I-AA nationally in total tackles at 10.88 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 120 tackles for the season, which would be a new school record and second for a single season in the Big South.
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 28th nationally in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 110.70. CCU also ranks in the top 40 nationally in 17th in third down defensive conversion percentage (30.6 percent), scoring defense (24th, 20.3 ppg) and pass defense (39th, 182.75 ypg).
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.
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 164.8 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 54.3 percent (108-of-199) of his pass attempts on the year.
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 117.21 percent.
You Know This Is My Crazy Time of the Year: And for Coastal, last weekend wrapped up one of the more hectic parts of the schedule, finishing up a three-game stretch of conference play at 3-0. However, the Big South is not playing out completely according to the pre-season polls. Coastal, the preseason favorite, leads the league at 3-0. However, VMI, picked fourth in the preseason, has put up a 2-2 mark. Gardner-Webb is in second at 2-1, one spot above where it was picked in the preseason, while Liberty (0-3), selected No. 2 prior to the year, and Charleston Southern (0-1) are both winless in league play.
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.
In the Worst Possible Spot: Coastal Carolinas football team got on the board early and often, cruising to a 52-14 Homecoming win over visiting Savannah State, Nov. 6, 2004. Coastal scored on four consecutive possessions to open the game, putting this one away early.
Coastal racked up the yardage offensively, posting 277 yards of rushing and 417 yards of total offense. Running back Patrick Hall led CCU with 17 carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterbacks Ren McKinnon and Scott Crouch combined to go 6-for-7 for 140 yards and two touchdowns through the air. The Chants also forced a school record five interceptions, along with recovering a fumble, in the victory.
Savannah State amassed 396 yards of offense, led by MyShun McAlpine with 127 yards on 24 carries, while Tullis was 15-for-35 for182 yards and two touchdowns, but had four interceptions.(Complete recap and stats are on page 16).
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 57-12 (82.6 percent) in his last 69games as a head coach.
Welcome Back To The Show: Four of the five Big South schools are in action this week, including Coastal at Savannah State. Additionally, Gardner-Webb hosts Charleston Southern in a key Big South Conference game, while VMI is at Richmond. Liberty has the weekend off.
Who Told You to Put The Balm On?: On this week's injury report for the game at Savannah State, Ben Hampton (high ankle sprain) is probable. Willie Barnes (left shoulder), Zori Simmons (right arm) and Antwon Trice (right ankle) are questionable, while Travis Dannelly (flu) 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).
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 13-3 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 an 11-game home winning streak, one game shy of tying the league record set by Gardner-Webb.
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.
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).
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. Coastal is one of just four teams in I-AA football to have played two overtime games this season, along with Hofstra, Georgetown and Lehigh. Of those four, CCU has played the most overtime periods with four.
Your Boys Should Stay In Their Neighborhood: Coastal Carolina won its 11th-straight home game, Oct. 29, with its 38-14 victory over VMI. In that span, the Chanticleers have scored 449 points, for an average of 40.8 per game. They have held their opponents to 193 points, or 17.5 per contest during the streak. This streak tied the previous Big South record for consecutive home wins of 11, set by Gardner-Webb from August 31, 2002 to Nov. 15, 2003. CCU will have the chance to eclipse this mark next week when it hosts Mansfield, Sat., Nov. 12 at 12:30 p.m.
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".