Nov. 5, 2012
CONWAY - The Big South Conference announced its weekly football honors today, including Coastal Carolina's Alex Ross was selected The Crons Brand Freshman of the Week, while senior defensive lineman Johnny Hartsfield was tabbed the league's Special Teams Player of the Week. Also, Niccolo Mastromatteo was named Big South Offensive Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com as well as being recognized as honorable mention National Wide Receiver of the Week by CollegeFootballPerformance.com.
Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia and "Voice of the Chanticleers" Matt Hogue will discuss the award-winning performances, recap the Gardner-Webb game and preview this Saturday's game at Presbyterian College at tonight's (Monday, Nov. 5) Chanticleer Call-In. The show is broadcast live from 6-7 pm at Buffalo Wild Wings in Carolina Forest and can be heard locally on ESPN The Team (100.3 FM) as well as on the internet on GoCCUSports.com as part of the Chanticleer Sports Network. Fans can interact with Coach Moglia during the show or participate by calling 866-866-6562 or by emailing your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross, getting his first career start for injured quarterback Aramis Hillary, set a Big South freshman record with 404 yards of total offense, passing for 342 yards and rushing for 62. He completed 16-of-30 passes with one interception and three touchdowns while averaging an impressive 4.8 per rush attempt. More importantly, Ross led CCU to scoring drives on eight of the team's 13 drives in a 55-33 win at Gardner-Webb.
Ross additionally led CCU to 596 yards of total offense, the second-best single-game output in CCU history. (CCU record is 638 yards of total offense in 2006, also vs. GWU.) The 404 yards of total offense by Ross ranks second on the CCU single-game list behind Tyler Thigpen's 425 in 2006 vs. GWU. The 342 passing yards ranks fifth on the CCU single-game list. Ross also entered the CCU record book by leading Coastal to a school-record 99-yard TD drive, marking just the second time CCU has had a 99-yard drive and by completing the first and eighth longest passes in CCU history, an 81-yard TD pass to Niccolo Mastromatteo and a 60-yard TD completion to DeMario Bennett.
Hartsfield blocked a Gardner-Webb extra point in the first quarter, keeping Coastal to within seven points of the Bulldogs. The block proved to be a key play later, keeping Coastal in the lead with 4:30 left in the third quarter when Gardner-Webb missed a PAT to give Coastal a one-point lead, 34-33. It marked the first blocked kick of Hartsfield's career. He added three tackles and a pass breakup on defense.
Mastromatteo had a record-setting day, averaging a CCU-record 37.75 yards per catch and recording the longest pass reception in CCU history. Overall, the junior caught four passes - two for touchdowns and two for first downs - for 151 yards, tying for third on the CCU single-game list. (Mastromatteo is the only Chanticleer not named Jerome Simpson to have at least 150 receiving yards in a game.)
Mastromatteo capped a CCU-record 99-yard scoring drive by hauling in an 81-yard touchdown reception. He made the catch in the right flat for approximately 12 yards then made two Bulldogs defenders miss before out-running the defense to put CCU up 34-20. Earlier in the game, he scored a 22-yard TD. Mastromatteo additionally had a season-long 20-yard punt return on the final play of the third quarter. CCU would start that ensuing drive on the 50 and score 10 plays later for the first of three straight TDs to put the game away. With that punt return, Mastromatteo moved from 52nd to 41st in the nation in punt returns, now averaging 6.4 per attempt.