CSU vs. V.M.I. Game NotesOctober 19, 2006
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The last team to beat Charleston Southern before the Buccaneers started their current 11-game winning streak was the V.M.I. Keydets. On Oct. 21, the two teams will meet again, this time in Charleston, S.C., where the Buccaneers won their first-ever Big South game over V.M.I. two years ago, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter and winning the game on a two-point conversion with :28 remaining.
CSU vs. V.M.I. Game Notes
TODAYíS GAME: Todayís game will be the sixth meeting between these two Big South teams. It is Charleston Southernís Big South Conference opener, while V.M.I. opened up conference play one week ago. CSUís first-ever conference win came against the Keydets in 2004 in a thrilling come-from-behind 25-24 victory. In the five previous meetings, that game marks the lone CSU victory, falling 12-34 last year in Lexington, Va.
LAST TIME OUT: Charleston Southern put together a dominating defensive performance, surrendering just 64 total yards to Edward Waters as the Bucs won 47-0. The Buccaneerís defense forced five turnovers including four interceptions. Darius Jackson picked off a pass in the fourth quarter, running it back 47 yards for the final touchdown of the day. Quarterback Collin Drafts was 22-28 for two TDs and 214 yards. Wide receiver Maurice Price hauled in nine passes for 109 yards. Defensively, Josh Warrior led the way with six tackles, and also completed a 32-yard pass to Marvin McHellon on a fake punt in the second quarter.
V.M.I. gave up a touchdown with 17.8 seconds remaining as they fell to Coastal Carolina 31-27 one week ago. The Keydets scored on a Sean Mizzer touchdown run with under a minute to go, putting them up 27-24, but the Chanticleers had a six-play answer to go ahead for good. V.M.I. rushed for a season-high 278 yards, adding 110 yards through the air.
LETíS GO STREAKING: The Buccaneers have now won 11-straight games, dating back to Oct. 15, 2005. CSU owns the second longest active streak, trailing only #1 ranked San Diego (14). San Diego dominated Valparaiso 68-7 last week, and will turn their sights to conference foe Drake, who is 6-1 this season, having won their last six in a row.
Quarterback Collin Drafts has thrown a touchdown pass in each of the last 15 games, dating back to the Sept. 10, 2005 shut out loss to Presbyterian.
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 yearís 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.
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 fourth nationally in total offense with 282.75 yards per game. Drafts rushed for a career-high 90 yards against Wingate and has led the Buccaneers on the ground the last four games.
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 were 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. Already this year, Price has 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. Millsí previous experience as a head coach came at the University of Minnesota-Morris, an NCAA Division II program, in the early 1990ís.
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 Hansenís Football Gazette. The Football Gazette named six Bucs to the All-Southeast team in 2005.
WHOíS 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 Southís 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 Directorís 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 Hansenís Football Gazette has CSU ranked 17th in his Top 40 I-AA Poll, while College Sports Report has CSU listed as the 19th-best team in I-AA. The Buccaneers are currently receiving votes in both the College Sports Network and Sports Network polls.
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.
YOUíRE GROUNDED: The Buccaneers have rushed for more than 125 yards in each of the last two games, and have reached that mark three times this season. Against Savannah State, Charleston Southern amassed 182 yards on the ground. It was the highest rushing total for the Bucs this season. The 182 is the most yards on the ground since Nov. 5, 2005, when Charleston Southern rushed for 200 yards against Gardner-Webb.