CSU vs. Gardner-Webb Game NotesNovember 1, 2006
CHARLESTON, S.C. - In what has turned out to be a critical game in the Big South standings, Charleston Southern (8-0, 1-0) and Gardner-Webb (6-2, 2-0) will face of Saturday at Buccaneer Field to see who will be able to stay undefeated in the Conference and keep their championship hopes alive.
CSU vs. Gardner-Webb Game Notes
TODAY’S GAME: Today’s game is the sixth meeting between these two Big South Conference opponents. Charleston Southern spoiled homecoming for the Bulldogs last year, winning 35-7 in Boiling Springs. Gardner-Webb won the four meetings prior to that.
LAST TIME OUT: The Buccaneers used a strong running game to beat Georgetown (1-7, 0-4) 24-10, on Saturday afternoon at Buccaneer Field in front of a homecoming crowd of 3,597. With the win, the Bucs moved to 8-0 on the season, setting a new school record for wins in a season, and have extending the winning streak to 13 consecutive games. Kenny Harper led the way on the ground with 88 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown, averaging 5.5 yards per rush. Quarterback Collin Drafts was 12-16 passing, amassing 201 yards and one touchdown. Drafts is now six yards shy of 9,000 for his career. Five of those passes went to Drew Rucks, who had 97 yards and one touchdown on the day, while Maurice Price caught four balls for 51 yards. The 16 passes thrown by Drafts was the lowest number attempted since the Buccaneers took on South Florida on Nov. 2, 2002 when Clint Chappel went 6-10. Defensively, Jada Ross had 10 tackles with 3 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. The Buccaneers also had two interceptions, with Jon Carmon and David Misher each picking one off.
Quarterback Devin Campbell hit Duvaughn Flagler on a five-yard fade route with 3:05 to play, capping an 80-yard drive that gave Gardner-Webb a 35-31 win over VMI. The win marked the fourth time this season that Gardner-Webb had rallied to come from behind with under 5:00 to play in the fourth quarter – with Campbell directing the charge on each of those drives.
LET’S GO STREAKING: The Buccaneers have now won 13-straight games, dating back to Oct. 15, 2005. CSU owns the second longest active streak, trailing only #1 ranked San Diego (16). San Diego beat Morehead State last week (44-21) and will travel to Jacksonville this week. The Buccaneers also have a four-game conference winning streak and a nine-game home winning streak.
Quarterback Collin Drafts has thrown a touchdown pass in each of the last 17 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 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.
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. He is currently fifth nationally in in total offense with 280.13 yards. Drafts rushed for a career-high 90 yards against Wingate and has led the Buccaneers on the ground five of the last six games. After throwing for 201 yards against Georgetown, Drafts needs just six passing yards to reach 9,000 yards for his career.
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. Price currently sits in first place in the country, averaging 9.13 receptions per game, and ninth in the country with 95.5 yards per game. Already this year, Price has set a new record for career receptions at CSU and the Big South Conference. Against V.M.I., Price had a season high 161 yards on 12 receptions.
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 18th in his Top 40 I-AA Poll, while College Sports Report has CSU listed as the 14th-best team in I-AA, and I-AA.ORG and the AGS Poll has CSU at . The Buccaneers are currently receiving votes in the Sports Network poll.
I GOT YOUR BACK: CSU returns one of the best linebacking corps in America in juniors Jada Ross, Jonna Lee and Josh Mitchell. In the season opener against Presbyterian, Ross and Mitchell combined for 27 tackles, and they followed that up with 22 against The Citadel. Last week the duo had 30 combined tackles. Lee needs just four tackles-for-loss to move into the top 10 in the Big South. He currently has 19.5 in his career.
YOU’RE GROUNDED: The Buccaneers have rushed for more than 125 yards four 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.
RED-ZONE DOMINANCE: The Buccaneers have had success in both red-zones, leading the Conference on both sides. The CSU defense has held opponents to just 58.3 percent, surrendering points just 14 out of 24 times. The offense holds an 81.8 percent success rate. The Buccaneers have scored 27 times, getting inside the 20 on 33 occasions.