CSU vs. Coastal Carolina Game NotesNovember 15, 2006
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. The perfect season may be gone, but the Buccaneers (9-1, 2-1) still have a shot at a share of their second-straight Big South Championship as they face an 8-2 Coastal Carolina squad that is 3-0 in the Big South.
CSU vs. CCU Game Notes
TODAYíS GAME: This will be the third meeting between these two in-state and Big South rivals. Coastal Carolina holds a 2-1 edge overall, but the Buccaneers got the better of the battle last year in a memorable double overtime victory. The two teams shared the Big South title last year with identical 3-1 Conference records. This year, the opportunity presents itself again, as the two teams will battle to decide the Big South champion.
LAST TIME OUT: The Liberty Flames (5-5, 1-2) took the momentum early with two, 80-yard drives and held off Charleston Southern (9-1, 2-1) for a 34-20 victory on Senior day at Williams Stadium. The loss ended three winning streaks for CSU, who held the Nationís second-longest winning streak at 14 games. Liberty gained 179 total offensive yards in the first quarter, to CSUís 48. Quarterbacks Smith and Terrell combined to go 6-6 through the air for 135 yards for the Flames, while Drafts started the game just 3-6, gaining 38 yards. Drafts would go on to complete 12 of his next 14 passes before giving way to Eli Byrd who ended the day 8-13 with one interception. Drafts threw for 116 yards, while Byrd added 71 in his first appearance at quarterback of his career. Junior wide receiver Maurice Price hauled in a record-tying 13 passes for 61 yards. Defensively for CSU, C.J. Hirschman led the way with 12 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Linebacker Jonna Lee added 11 stops for the Buccaneers. Manny Rojas had 11 stops for the Flames, picking off one pass and recording one tackle-for-loss. The Flames would amass 354 total yards on the day, while CSU managed 265, despite running more offensive plays, holding a 60-56 edge in that category. The Buccaneers also had three turnovers, while Liberty did not turn the ball over at all.
No. 14 Coastal Carolina scored on four straight possessions in the first half and pulled away for a 52-24 Big South Conference win at Gardner-Webb, Nov. 11. The Chanticleers advanced their record to 8-2 and 3-0.Coastal set a Big South Conference matchup record with 638 yards of total offense, including 332 on the ground and 306 through the air. Coastalís defense got into the act, tying a school record with five interceptions on the day.
Thigpen set a Big South record with his seventh 300-yard total offense game of the year, finishing with a school-record 425 yards of total offense, including a career-best 119 on the ground. He also was 22-for-27 for 306 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Running back Jamie Fordham (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) had a season-high 84 yards on eight carries, while Tolbert and Perkins had 77 yards and three scores and 46 yards and two touchdowns, respectively. Defensive lineman Sam Harper (York, S.C./York) had a season-high eight tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks.GWU was led by Peoples with 59 yards rushing, while Doolittle was 18-for-27 for 180 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
STREAKS END: With the 34-20 loss last week, the winning streaks came to an end for Charleston Southern. The Nationís second-longest winning streak, previously owned by the Buccaneers at 14 was halted, as was CSUís five-game Big South streak.
Quarterback Collin Drafts had thrown a touchdown pass in each of the last 18 games, dating back to the Sept. 10, 2005 shut out loss to Presbyterian. Drafts was held scoreless last week in the loss.
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. He is currently fifth nationally in in total offense with 280.70 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. Last time out, Drafts had a record-breaking performance in his final appearance at Buccaneer Field. His 31-41 passing performance set the League record for completions, while his 452 total offensive yards was the best in the Big South as well.
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. With a CSU single game record-tying 13 receptions last time out, Price has had 10 or more receptions in 5 games this season.
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, givesn 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 fell out of the top-25
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. Against V.M.I., 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.
YOUíRE 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 in red-zone defense. The CSU defense has held opponents to just 63.3 percent, surrendering points just 19 out of 30 times. The offense holds a 78.9 percent success rate, scoring 30 times, getting inside the 20 on 38 occasions.