BCU/Coastal Carolina Game Preview

If Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins and Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia ever decided to talk football over a cup of coffee (or quality adult beverage), the two men are likely to share very similar coaching stories.    

Moglia, who is in his first season at CCU, guided the Chanticleers to a three-way share of the Big South conference title and earned the league’s FCS playoff automatic qualifier bid.  Jenkins led his Fighting Wildcats to a three-way share of the MEAC crown and the conference’s AQ in his first season at Bethune in 2010.

Jenkins and Moglia have both been named as 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award finalist; both coaches are disciples of the spread offense; and they both preach the gospel of ‘developing young men’.

When the two faceoff on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. at Daytona Beach’s Municipal Stadium, both will look to secure the first ever FCS playoff victory for their respective programs.  (BCU is 0-3 in the FCS playoff play while Coastal is 0-2 in the postseason tournament.)

When Coastal has the ball

The Chants are led on offense by Big South All-Conference 1st team selectee, Aramis Hillary.  The University of South Carolina transfer ranked tops in the Big South and 23rd nationally in total offense (261.7 ypg).  Hillary is a dual threat player who can hurt you with his legs and his arm.  But coach Moglia cites a different primary reason for Hillary’s success:

“One of his biggest strengths is that he makes good decisions. We give him progressions on all of his reads, whether it be through the option run or through the pass and he’s been great at that. He’s been effective when he’s had to run and throw the ball and that’s primarily due to the fact that he’s been able to make good decisions.”

Hillary’s favorite target this season has been fellow Big South 1st team selectee Matt Hazel.  The 6-3, 190 pound junior receiver has caught 49 passes for 615 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Hazel was described by his coach as a precise route runner who understands coverages and has great hands. 

Offensive Center Pat Williams and slot receiver/punt returner Niccolo Mastromatteo are also Big South first team performers.  It was Williams and Mastromatteo that jumped off the film for coach Brian Jenkins.

“#20 (Mastromatteo) is very exciting.  I really like watching him on film.  I have this thing for little guys and I don’t know why”.  Coach Jenkins went on to state: “the Center (Williams) is a very physical, nasty player, and I mean nasty in a good way, not in a cheap shot way.  He plays the game like an old-school football player and I love that”.

Our take

The Chanticleers boost an explosive offense whose greatest strength lie in its balance.  On the season, CCU has rushed for 2200 yards while gaining 2569 through the air.  Quarterback Aramis Hillary has the ability to break contain and extend plays with his feet.  Wide out Matt Hazel was one of the Big South’s best possession receivers this season while fellow wide-out Niccolo Mastromatteo proved to be one of the most explosive players in the conference. 

The Wildcat defense has been good all year applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks and will need to do so on Saturday to help slow down the Coastal offensive attack.  The defensive front and particularly the defensive ends will need to remain discipline in their pass rush responsibilities and keep their containment assignments.  On the back end, BCU’s secondary has been outstanding this year at limiting big plays through the air and taking the ball away.  They will need to turn in another top flight effort on Saturday in hopes of keeping the CCU offense contained.

Here is a look at the Chants’ relevant offensive statistics:

Rushing offense:          200.00 ypg
Passing offense:          233.55 ypg
Total offense:            433.55 ypg 
Scoring offense:          35.18 ypg

 Notable: WR/PR Niccolo Mastromatteo is responsible for the 2nd and 3rd longest scoring plays in CCU football history (a 91 yard punt return against Charleston Southern in 2010 and an 81 yard punt return against Presbyterian earlier this season).

 When Coastal is on defense

From a statistical standpoint, the Chanticleers defense has been less than stellar throughout the course of the season.  CCU ranks in the bottom third in most of the important national defensive statistical categories.  The Chants give up an average of 26.55 points per game, 181 yards rushing per contest, and over 400 yards of total offense.

Playoff bound opponent Appalachian State racked up 684 yards of offense on CCU while 3-8 Gardner-Webb piled up 547 yards of offense on the Chants. 

Despite the statistics, coach Jenkins sees a defense on film who is “a well-coached football team.  The defensive front is very aggressive, their linebackers run to the ball well, and the defensive secondary don’t get beat deep much”.

Sophomore linebacker Quinn Backus is an All-American candidate and was named the Big South Defensive Player of the year this season.  Backus set the CCU single-season mark with 123 tackles and ranks 10th nationally averaging 11.2 tackles per contest.  He was also responsible for forcing 3 fumbles and picking off 2 passes this season.

Our take

Coach Moglia stated in his weekly teleconference that the Wildcats will move the ball on his squad but his team must limit the big plays.  With that in mind, BCU’s offense must take advantage of a CCU defensive unit that has been poorest at spots throughout the season.  The Wildcat offense can ill-afford to help the CCU defense by putting themselves in adverse situations and piling up reckless penalties. 

CCU’s base defense is a 4-2-5.  BCU must use their size advantage up front to establish the running game. You would also like to see the Wildcats not struggle to the slow start that has plagued them at times this season.  If the Wildcats protect the ball and execute to their normal standard, they should find great success against the Chanticleer defense.


Chanticleer (SHON-ti-cleer) comes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  A Chanticleer is a rooster who rules the barnyard with cunning and wit. His competitiveness never wanes as he battles to the end, using his brains to come out on top.

Quick Facts:

~ Junior running back, Isidore Jackson, needs just 8 more yards to reach 1,000 yards on the season.  Jackson would be just the 6th BCU player in the modern era to reach the 1,000 yard milestone and the first to do so since quarterback Allen Suber ran for 1,035 in 2002.

~ Assuming Quentin Williams doesn’t turn an ankle in practice, this will be the first time BCU has entered a playoff contest with a healthy signal-caller.  In BCU’s last playoff appearance (2010), MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, Matt Johnson, was unable to participate due to a shoulder injury.  Coach Jenkins stated earlier this week that 11 starters on offense and defense were missing in that game.

~ A win on Saturday would give BCU its fourth 10-win season in history and the 2nd in the Brian Jenkins era.

BCU by the Numbers

Category                    Nat’l Rank     Avg.
Rushing Offense             10             247.45
Passing Offense             111             38.45
Total Offense                50              385.91
Scoring Offense             34              30.82
Turnover Margin             3                1.64
Rushing Defense            28              129.55
Pass Defense                10               164.55
Pass Efficiency Def         1                 95.18
Total Defense                5                 294.09
Scoring Defense             10               17.73

Key Player Rankings

Rushing:                          Isidore Jackson (90.18 YPG) – 41st
All-Purpose Runners:        Isidore Jackson (102.36 YPG) – 84th
Total Offense:                Quentin Williams (156.33) – 94th

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.  The game will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com.  HailWildcats.com will host a Live Chat during the game.  The Live Chat will provide posters with a highly interactive platform in which they can discuss and follow the game as it is happening live. The Live Chat interfaces with Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

@BCUAthletics, @BCUExaminer, and @HailWildcats Twitter feeds will interface with the Live Chat. This will allow the posters to interact with the men and women who are dedicated to bringing you the most in-depth coverage of Bethune-Cookman football.  The Chat will also allow users to access the most up to date gameday information from one centralized location.

You can participate in the Live Chat by posting your opinions/feedback/questions or by simply following along. All are encouraged to participate.

The Live Chat Link will become active at approximately 1:45 p.m. on gameday and will be available on the HailWildcats.com front page.

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