Coastal Carolina (7-4) at (22) Bethune-Cookman (9-2)
The Sports Network
By Tim McDonnell, FCS Assistant
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 2 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Larry Kelly Field at Municipal Stadium (10,000) -- Daytona Beach, Florida. Surface: FieldTurf. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Jim Barbar, Cory Chavous and Angela Mallen. Home Record: Coastal Carolina 3-2; Bethune-Cookman 3-1. Away Record: Coastal Carolina 4-2; Bethune-Cookman 4-1. Neutral Record: Coastal Carolina 0-0; Bethune-Cookman 2-0. Series Record: First Meeting. Conference: Coastal Carolina - Big South; Bethune-Cookman - Mid- Eastern Athletic. Nicknames: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers; Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Head Coaches: Coastal Carolina - Joe Moglia (7-4 at Coastal Carolina and overall); Bethune-Cookman - Brian Jenkins (27-7 at Bethune-Cookman and overall). Playoff Records: Coastal Carolina (0-2); Bethune Cookman (0-3). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Coastal Carolina 2 (2006, 10); Bethune- Cookman 3 (2002-03, 10). Sports Network Ranking: Coastal Carolina (NR); Bethune-Cookman (22).
GAME NOTES: Despite critics who say there should only be one team from the Big South Conference in the playoffs, if you look at Coastal Carolina's resume, the competition faced has been pretty solid. The Chanticleers' only losses this season came against Eastern Kentucky (8-3), FBS member Toledo (8-3) and two teams also in the playoffs, Appalachian State (8-3) and Stony Brook (9-2).
Bethune-Cookman is trying to become the first MEAC team since 1999 and after 16 straight playoff loses to win in the postseason. The Wildcats survived a tough early season schedule and it paid off. They finished conference play undefeated at 8-0 and were rewarded with being able to host their second playoff game in the last three years.
Coach Brian Jenkins' squad loves to establish the run first and averages 247 yards per game this season, good for No. 10 in the FCS. In fact, 23 of the team's 27 total rushing touchdowns this season have come by its four leading rushers. Isidore Jackson, Rodney Scott, Brodrick Waters and Quentin Williams have all rushed for over 400 yards and average 90, 54, 53 and 49 yards per game on the ground, respectively.
Coastal Carolina won the program's fifth Big South title this season, thanks to a perfect 3-0 record on the road in league play, which ultimately decided the conference's tiebreaker. It's the third playoff berth in only 10 years of having a football program. However, the 'Chants have yet to win a postseason game. The Chanticleers do boast a 13-1 all-time mark against the MEAC, losing only to Delaware State.
Signal-caller Aramis Hillary has put up nice numbers in 10 games. He's thrown for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns versus five interceptions. His favorite targets, receivers Matt Hazel, Niccolo Mastromatteo and DeMario Bennett, are extremely reliable and have accounted for 14 touchdowns this season.
Bethune-Cookman has a great opportunity to end the MEAC's playoff losing streak and to show that HBCU football can play with the big boys. On the other hand, CCU has a lot to prove as well because few gave the team respect for earning a spot in the playoffs. Expect a decent crowd at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla., especially because BC-U's marching band has another chance to play and excite both teams' fans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bethune-Cookman 38, Coastal Carolina 30.
11/21 16:17:00 ET