Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Coastal Carolina’s football program lost
enough key players from the best team in program history that there could have
been cause for concern entering the 2014 season.
But all the Chanticleers keep doing in the first month of the season is climb
higher than ever in The Sports Network FCS Top 25.
Coastal – off to a 4-0 start – reached No. 3 on Monday for its highest ranking
ever, trailing only No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 Eastern Washington in
the national media poll.
The Chanticleers (SHON-ti-cleers) have done a terrific job living up to their
school nickname – a rooster who rules the barnyard with cunning and wit.
Throw in speed and power, too, because the Chanticleers have become the leading
power in the Big South Conference.
A year ago, Coastal set the program record with 12 wins while advancing to the
FCS playoff quarterfinals under coach Joe Moglia. But the Chants lost 10
starters and seven players who earned a form of all-conference honors from that
This season, dual-threat quarterback Alex Ross has kept the high-scoring
offense going and speedy sophomore running back De’Angelo Henderson has been a
perfect replacement for Lorenzo Taliaferro, who rushed for 1,729 yards and
scored 29 touchdowns before heading off to join the Baltimore Ravens.
“I feel like we have started off pretty good, but I am nowhere near satisfied,”
said Henderson, already a two-time Big South offensive player of the week. “I
always feel like I can get better at what I do. As a team, I think that we all
feel that we could be better.”
On defense, All-American linebacker Quinn Backus has been all-world for
Coastal as he adds to career totals of 352 tackles and 193 solo tackles – both
highs among active FCS players.
The Chants use a 4-2-5 alignment, receiving strong play as well from defensive
ends Calvin Hollenhorst and Roderick Holder, linebacker Brett Johnson and
safety Richie Sampson. Their defense has allowed only three points in each of
their last two wins, including 48-3 at Florida A&M on Saturday.
Moglia, in his third season in Conway, South Carolina, returned to the
sidelines from a long career in the business world. He has a 24-8 overall
North Dakota State knows a business-like approach better than any FCS team. The
three-time defending national champion Bison increased their division record
winning streak to 28 games by defeating then-No. 4 Montana, 22-10, at the
Coach Chris Klieman’s 4-0 team collected 150 of the 159 first-place votes in
the Top 25. The Bison have a bye this week.
The other nine first-place votes went to Eastern Washington, which beat
Montana’s other national power, Montana State. The Eagles (3-1) pulled out a
52-51 thriller over the Bobcats with a touchdown and two-point conversion with
27 seconds remaining.
After Coastal Carolina, the rest of the Top 10 was No. 4 New Hampshire (2-1),
No. 5 McNeese State (1-1), No. 6 Villanova (2-1), No. 7 Montana (2-2), No. 8
Jacksonville State (2-1), No. 9 South Dakota State (3-1) and No. 10 Northern
Southeastern Louisiana (2-2) tumbled eight spots to No. 11 after suffering a
last-second loss to Southeast Missouri.
The Lions were followed by No. 12 William & Mary (3-1), No. 13 Montana State
(2-2), No. 14 Chattanooga (1-2), No. 15 Bethune-Cookman (2-1), No. 16 Fordham
(3-1), No. 17 Southern Illinois (3-1), No. 18 Youngstown State (3-1), No. 19
Eastern Kentucky (4-0) and No. 20 Richmond (2-2).
Rounding out the Top 25 were No. 21 Tennessee State (3-1), No. 22 Liberty (3-1)
and then three newcomers to the poll, No. 23 Illinois State (2-0), No. 24
Albany (3-0) and No. 25 Delaware (2-1).
Sam Houston State, Northern Arizona and Furman fell from the Top 25.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors,
broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the Top 25. In the voting,
a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the
way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.
During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon,
except for the final weekend of the regular season, when it will be released
Sunday morning, Nov. 23, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff
The Sports Network will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship
game, which will be held Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas.