Coastal football prepares for Top 25 battle with old rival Liberty

Sports

CONWAY, S.C. – The No. 14 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina football team will host its first-ever FBS top 25 nationally ranked opponent inside Brooks Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 5, as the No. 25 Liberty Flames come to Conway to renew a rivalry that started back in 2003.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live nationally on ESPNU.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

• For the first time ever, ESPN College GameDay will host its show from 9 a.m. to Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Coastal Carolina University.

NATIONALLY RANKED CHANTICLEERS

• For the seventh-straight week and just the seventh time in the program’s young FBS history, the Chanticleers were ranked in the top 25 nationally.

• CCU came in this week at No. 14 in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll powered by USA Today Sports.

SUN BELT – HIGHEST CALLING AGAIN

• The No. 14/14 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina football team made history once again on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, as the Chanticleers became the highest nationally-ranked football team for the second time in Sun Belt Conference history.

• In the Week 14 polls, the 2020 Sun Belt Conference East Division Champions were ranked at No. 14 in both the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll presented by USA Today Sports.

2020 SUN BELT EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS

• Coastal Carolina won the program’s first-ever Sun Belt East Division Championship last week with a 49-14 conference road win at Texas State (Nov. 28).

• The Chanticleers won the Sun Belt East Division title in only the program’s fourth year as a full-time Sun Belt Conference and FBS member.

• Coastal will host the West Division Champion in Louisiana on Saturday, Dec. 19, in the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game.

BEST START IN SUN BELT HISTORY

• Coastal’s 9-0 start this season is the best start by a football team in Sun Belt history. The Chants’ start topped Appalachian State’s previous mark of 7-0 last season.

CHASING HISTORY

• The 2020 Chanticleers are closing in on the program’s best-ever start, as the 2014 team began the year at 11-0.

• A win over Liberty (Dec. 5) on Saturday would give the Chanticleers 10 wins. The double-digit wins total would be the fifth time in program history and the first time since CCU went 10-2 in 2016, their first year of transition from FCS to the FBS level.

AMERICA’S TEAM

• With this Saturday afternoon’s contest versus Liberty (Dec. 5) scheduled to air on ESPNU, nine of the Chanticleers’ 10 games this season will have been on national television.

09/12/20         at Kansas                        Fox Sports 1 (FS1)

09/18/20         Campbell                         ESPN

10/03/20         Arkansas State               ESPN2

10/14/20         at #21 Louisiana              ESPN

10/24/20         Georgia Southern           ESPNU

10/31/20         at Georgia State             ESPNU

11/07/20         South Alabama               ESPNU

11/21/20         Appalachian State          ESPN

12/05/20         #25 Liberty                      ESPNU

• In fact, last week’s contest at Texas State (Nov. 28) was the Chants’ only game this season to not have been broadcast live on a national television station.

BUSTING THROUGH THE SUN BELT

• Coastal is off to a 7-0 start in conference play for the first time since joining the Sun Belt as a full-time member in 2017.

• Prior to this season, Coastal had not won more than two conference games in any season since joining the Sun Belt in 2017.

YEAR         SBC         OVERALL

2017            2-6           3-9

2018            2-6           5-7

2019            2-6           5-7

2020            7-0           9-0

GOING STREAKING

• Coastal’s current nine-game winning streak this season is the longest single-season winning streak for the Chants since moving to the FBS level in 2017.

2020

09/12/20          at Kansas                        W, 38-23

09/18/20          Campbell                         W, 43-21

10/03/20          Arkansas State               W, 52-23

10/14/20          at #21 Louisiana              W, 30-27

10/24/20          Georgia Southern           W, 28-14

10/31/20          at Georgia State             W, 51-0

11/07/20          South Alabama               W, 23-6

11/21/20          Appalachian State          W, 34-23

11/28/20          at Texas State                W, 49-14

• The last time the Chants’ won nine games in a row was in 2014 when they started the season at 11-0.

• If you go back to the 2019 season, Coastal Carolina has won 10-straight games and will look to tie the program-record of 11-straight wins with a win this Saturday over Liberty (Dec. 5).

11/30/19          Texas State                     W, 24-21

09/12/20          at Kansas                        W, 38-23

09/18/20          Campbell                         W, 43-21

10/03/20          Arkansas State               W, 52-23

10/14/20          at #21 Louisiana              W, 30-27

10/24/20          Georgia Southern           W, 28-14

10/31/20          at Georgia State             W, 51-0

11/07/20          South Alabama               W, 23-6

11/21/20          Appalachian State          W, 34-23

11/28/20          at Texas State                W, 49-14

VERSUS THE FBS TOP 25

• Coastal Carolina is just 1-3 all-time versus FBS top-25 nationally-ranked teams in the program history. However, the lone win came this season, a 30-27 conference road win at then-No. 21 Louisiana (Oct. 14).

All-Time Versus FBS Top 25

08/30/08          at #22 Penn State          L, 10-66

09/04/10          at #25 West Virginia       L, 0-31

11/23/13          at #11 South Carolina    L, 10-70

10/14/20          at #21 Louisiana              W, 30-27

• The Chanticleers are 1-0 versus FBS top-25 teams as an FBS member with their win over then-No. 21 Louisiana (Oct. 14) earlier this year.

• Saturday’s home game will be the first game in Chants’ history against an FBS nationally-ranked top 25 team at Brooks Stadium.

SERIES VERSUS LIBERTY

• Coastal Carolina is 7-7 all-time versus the Liberty Flames with both teams sporting a 5-2 overall record at home in the all-time series.

• Three out of the last four meetings have been decided by three points or less with Liberty coming out on top in two of those three close contests.

All-Time Series Results

11/15/03          at Liberty         L, 21-38

10/23/04          at Coastal        W, 33-6

10/22/05          at Liberty         W, 27-21 (3OT)

10/28/06          at Coastal        W, 28-26

11/03/07          at Liberty         L, 24-37

10/04/08          at Coastal        L, 38-43

10/17/09          at Liberty         L, 13-58

11/13/10          at Coastal        W, 45-31

10/15/11          at Liberty         L, 27-63

10/27/12          at Coastal        W, 36-12

10/19/13          at Liberty         W, 55-52 (2OT)

11/22/14          at Coastal        L, 14-15

11/19/15          at Liberty         L, 21-24

11/17/16          at Coastal        W, 42-7

• However, Saturday’s contest will be the first between the two teams as FBS members.

• The Chanticleers are 1-0 all-time versus Liberty in non-conference play (2016), as the first 13 meetings between the two teams came as Big South Conference foes.

SCOUTING THE FLAMES

• Under second-year head coach Hugh Freeze, Liberty is 9-1 this season including Power 5 wins over both Syracuse (Oct. 17) and Virginia Tech (Nov. 7) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

• Liberty, like Coastal, is one of just four teams along with BYU (9-0) and Notre Dame (9-0) to enter the week with nine wins on the year.

• After starting the season 8-0, the Flames dropped a last-second contest 15-14 at NC State (Nov. 21) before bouncing back to shut out UMass (Nov. 27) 45-0 at home last week.

• Liberty’s offense is among the best in the nation this season, as the Flames rank eighth nationally in rushing offense (252.1 yards per game), 10th in fourth-down conversion percentage (75 percent), 17th nationally in total offense (483.5 yards per game), and 19th in both time of possession (33:11) and scoring offense (38.3 points per game).

• Do-it-all quarterback Malik Willis, an Auburn transfer, leads the Flames in both passing and rushing this season. He has completed 151-of-236 pass attempts for 2,040 yards, 20 touchdowns, and four interceptions through the air, while also rushing 120 times for a team-high 807 yards and 10 scores on the ground.

• In the passing game, Willis has spread the wealth as seven different LU players have recorded double-digit catches this season led by DJ Stubbs and Demario Douglas with 33 and 27 receptions, respectively. Stubbs, Douglas, Johnny Huntley, and CJ Daniels all have three touchdown catches, one behind team leader Kevin Shaa and his four receiving scores.

• Behind Willis, the Liberty running game is led by the trio of Joshua Mack (125 carries, 692 yards, 4 TDs), Peytton Pickett (87 carries, 505 yards, 6 TDs), and Shedro Louis (60 carries, 431 yards, 3 TDs) who all have rushed for over 400 yards and scored three or more rushing touchdowns on the year.

• Defensively, the Flames’ defense ranks ninth nationally in total defense (301.2 yards per game), seventh in passing yards allowed (171.6 yards per game), 34th in rushing defense (129.6 yards per game), and 18th in scoring defense (19.2 points per game).

• Javon Scruggs leads the defensive unit with a team-high 61 total tackles, while Anthony Butler is second with 58 total stops.

• Liberty is 18th nationally in takeaways with 16, including 10 interceptions, and also totaled 56 tackles-for-loss and 26 sacks as a team on the year.

ELITE COMPANY

• Saturday’s matchup between Coastal Carolina and Liberty features two of the nation’s only four FBS teams with nine wins already this season.

• Coastal is joined by both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 8 BYU at 9-0 this season, while Liberty is 9-1 on the year.

ONE OF A KIND

• This week’s contest between No. 14 Coastal Carolina and No. 25 Liberty is one of just two matchups between FBS Top 25 teams along with

No. 10/11 Indiana at No. 18/19 Wisconsin.

OFFENSE IT IS

• The Chanticleers and Flames both have high-octane offenses that have found the end zone a lot this season.

• Coastal’s offense ranks first in the Sun Belt and 16th nationally at 38.7 points per game, just three spots ahead of Liberty’s offense which ranks 19th in all of FBS at 38.3 points per contest.

SEASON OF FIRSTS

• Coastal will look to continue its season of first this weekend, with the program’s first-ever win over an FBS Liberty team.

• What bodes well for the Chants is that 2020 has been a season of firsts for the men in teal.

·         First-Ever Sun Belt team to start the season at 9-0          

·         First Time Ever Ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll

·         First Time Ever Ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll      

·         First-Ever Win over an FBS top 25 opponent (Oct. 14)    

·         First-Ever Win over Arkansas State (Oct. 3)          

·         First-Ever Win over South Alabama (Nov. 7)        

·         First-Ever Win over Appalachian State (Nov. 21)  

·         First-Ever Win at Texas State (Nov. 28)    

·         Coastal Carolina hosted ESPN College GameDay (Dec. 5)

HOME SWEET HOME

• The Chanticleers’ winning percentage of .717 (76-30) at home in Brooks Stadium ranks 28th overall among all FBS schools and their winning percentages at their current home stadium.

Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics

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