CSU vs. North Greenville Game NotesSeptember 28, 2006
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern will try to continue the I-AA football's second-longest winning as they host North Greenville University on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Buccaneers (3-0) are coming off a bye week, while NGU beat Edward Waters last week and carry a 3-1 record into the game.
CSU vs. North Greenville Game Notes
TODAY’S GAME: Today’s game will mark the seventh meeting between these two in-state schools. Earlier this year, North Greenville students voted Charleston Southern as their biggest rival in football. CSU has won five of the six previous meetings, with North Greenville notching a 49-21 victory in 2003.
LAST TIME OUT: CSU continues to change the record books as they start 3-0 for the first time in school history. For the third straight week it took late game heroics by the Bucs to ice the game. This time, CSU scored two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the game to take a 20-17 lead. The Bucs are coming off a bye week on Sept. 23.
North Greenville carries a 3-1 record into today’s ballgame, after beating future CSU opponent Edward Waters 48-19 last week. The Crusaders tallied 470 yards of total offense in the victory. NGU is currently ranked No. 1 by Don Hansen for the NCCAA.
LET’S GO STREAKING: The Buccaneers have now won eight-straight games, dating back to Oct. 15, 2005. CSU owns the second longest active streak, trailing only #1 ranked San Diego (11). NGU is in the middle of their own winning streak, having won their last three games.
WHO TO WATCH: The Buccaneers placed five players on the preseason All-Conference team. Senior quarterback Collin Drafts and junior linebacker Jada Ross were each given the honor, and were picked as the offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. Junior wide receiver Maurice Price, junior offensive lineman Rick Howell, and junior safety C.J. Hirschman, were the other Buccaneers named to the preseason team.
RESPECT YOUR ELDERS: Charleston Southern returns 17 starters from last year’s championship squad. The Bucs lost just five seniors, all of which earned All-Conference honors in 2005. The CSU offense brings back seven starters, while eight return on defense. Sophomore punter Hart Pearson and junior field goal kicker Nick Ellis return as well.
HOME SWEET HOME: CSU was 5-2 at home in 2005, winning their last four home games at the end of the season. The Bucs are 22-19 all-time going into this season in the confines of CSU Stadium since it was renovated and the Whitfield Center was built in 1999. So far in 2006, CSU holds a 1-0 record at home.
WHO’S YOUR JADA? Junior linebacker Jada Ross continues to be one of the best linebackers in the country. Named the 2005 Big South Defensive Player of the year, he was picked to repeat the honor in 2006. Ross set the CSU record for tackles in a season with 128 in 2005, ranking him sixth nationally. Ross picked up where he left off, leading CSU in their opening game with 14 tackles, including 10 solo tackles. Ross also recorded three tackles-for-loss in the victory. With 12 tackles against Wingate, Ross brought his season total to 38 and has led CSU in tackles all three games.
FANTASY DRAFTS: Senior quarterback Collin Drafts finished 2005 18th nationally in completions per game and 24th in passing efficiency. Drafts completed 60.94 percent of his passes, accumulating 2,594 yards. Entering his senior season, Drafts already owns every passing record in the CSU record books. Drafts is currently sixth nationally in total offense after rushing for a career-high 90 yards last week.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Junior receiver Maurice Price played in just eight games last season, but was at the top of the country in every category. His 9.0 receptions per game was the tops in the country, while his 130.4 yards per game put him in second place. In the 2006 season-opener, Price brought in nine passes for 93 yards, the most in the Big South in both categories. Price currently sits in first place in the country, averaging 9.67 receptions per game, after pulling in 12 catches for 130 yards against The Citadel. Last week, Price set a new record for career receptions at CSU and moved into second place in the Big South.
LEADING THE WAY: Jay Mills begins his fourth season as the head football coach at Charleston Southern University, posting a 13-20 record in his first three seasons.
The Buccaneers posted the first ever winning record with a 7-4 mark in 2005. CSU also captured a share of the first Conference Championship in school history.
Prior to coming to CSU, Mills spent seven seasons at Harvard, directing one of the top offensive units in all of 1-AA football. He has extensive coaching experience at several schools, getting his start as a volunteer assistant coach at Notre Dame under Coach Lou Holtz. Mills’ previous experience as a head coach came at the University of Minnesota-Morris, an NCAA Division II program, in the early 1990’s.
AWARDS APLENTY: Following a memorable end to the 2005 season, CSU was handsomely rewarded. Buccaneer Head Coach Jay Mills was named the Big South Coach of the Year, while quarterback Collin Drafts and linebacker Jada Ross were named the Big South Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Wide Receiver Maurice Price was named the Southeast Region Player of the Year and the Bucs were named the Team of the Year by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. The Football Gazette named six Bucs to the All-Southeast team in 2005.
WHO’S THE BRAINS OF THIS OUTFIT? Former Buccaneer Adam DeGraffenreid was one of two recipients of the National Scholar-Athlete Award, given by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. A banquet was held in his honor in New Orleans, La. over the summer. DeGraffenreid was named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the year both seasons at CSU, and was awarded the Big South’s Christenberry Award for graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA while double-majoring in biology and chemistry. He was also named to the I-AA Athletics Director’s Academic All-Star team twice for his performance in the classroom.
AMERICA TAKING NOTICE: Charleston Southern has grabbed the attention of the national media. Junior wide receiver Maurice Price was named to the I-AA.org Preseason All-America Third Team. Price, along with junior linebacker Jada Ross, and senior quarterback Collin Drafts, were all given preseason All-America honors by the Football Gazette. Price earned second team honors, while Ross was named to the third team and Drafts was named honorable mention.
After receiving their first national ranking in school history, the Buccaneers continue to climb the rankings. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette has CSU ranked 32nd in his Top 40 I-AA Poll, while College Sports Report has CSU listed as the 19th-best team in I-AA.
I GOT YOUR BACK: CSU returns one of the best linebacking corps in America in juniors Jada Ross and Josh Mitchell. In the season opener against Presbyterian, the duo combined for 27 tackles, and they followed that up with 22 against The Citadel.
RED-ZONE DOMINANCE: So far in the 2006 season, the Buccaneers have gotten to the red-zone on eight occasions, scoring seven times. Before last game, when the Bucs went 2-3 in the red-zone, the last time the Buccaneers got inside the red-zone and did not score was Nov. 12, 2005 against Liberty.