#11 Chants Host #12 Bethune-Cookman in Playoff Opener
CONWAY - For the second time its 11-year history, the Coastal Carolina football team will host an NCAA FCS playoff game this Saturday, Nov. 30, as the ninth-seeded and 11th-ranked Chanticleers (10-2) take on No. 12 seed Bethune-Cookman (10-2) in a First Round matchup. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Brooks Stadium.
With the contest being an NCAA event, all fans - including CCU season-ticket holders - must purchase tickets to be admitted to the game. Tickets are $20 for the upper section of Brooks Stadium and $15 for the lower section and can be purchased online here or by calling the CCU ticket office at 843-347-8499. Coastal Carolina students will be admitted free, courtesy of the University, but must still reserve their tickets through the normal student ticket website. The first 140 students in attendance will receive free t-shirts.
Coastal, which notched its sixth Big South Conference championship and third in the last four years during the regular season, is looking to win its second straight NCAA First Round game, after defeating Bethune-Cookman 24-14 on the road last year.
The Chanticleers boast one of the nation's top offenses, ranking third in the country in scoring, averaging 42.6 points per game. Coastal scored 50 or more points six times en route to setting a new Big South single-season record with 511. The Chants rank first among all FCS teams in red zone offense, second in third down-conversion percentage and fifth in total first downs.
With Walter Payton Award candidate and Big South Offensive Player of the Year Lorenzo Taliaferro leading the way, CCU has the sixth-ranked rushing offense in the country, piling up an average of over 266 yards per game on the ground. Taliaferro is fifth in the nation with 1,487 rushing yards, tied for second with 23 rushing touchdowns and second in scoring. He already set new single-season Big South records for rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (25) and points scored (150) and broke a CCU record with eight 100-yard rushing games.
Receiver Matt Hazel is the school's all-time career receptions leader with 168 and ranked second in the Big South this season with 55 receptions for 817 yards, the second-best yardage total for a single-season in CCU history. In his first season as a starter, quarterback Alex Rossled the Big South in passing yards per game, completion percentage and passing efficiency.
Defensively, linebacker Quinn Backus, the Big South's Defensive Player of the Year, led the conference and ranked 42nd nationally with 111 tackles, including 68 solo, the 14th-most in the country, along with three interceptions.
No. 12-ranked Bethune-Cookman was co-champion of the MEAC with South Carolina State and is led by a defensive unit that ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense, surrendering 15.3 points per game. The Wildcats lead all FCS teams in passing efficiency defense, while ranking second in passing yards allowed per game and sixth in rushing defense.