Coastal’s Israel, Catron net Big South weekly awards

ccufoot-19Coastal Carolina wide receiver John Israel (Florence/Wilson HS) was tabbed the Choice Hotels Big South Offensive Player of the Week and placekicker Alex Catron (Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS) added Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honors in leading the third-ranked Chanticleers to a 43-22 Homecoming victory versus Charleston Southern on Saturday.

Coastal Carolina, one of seven NCAA Division I teams to remain undefeated (four in the FCS and three in the FBS), is the first Big South program to open the season 8-0 in consecutive seasons. The Chanticleers additionally extended their home winning streak to 12 games – the longest active streak in the Big South and tying the longest home win streak in school history.

Coastal’s current eight-game win streak is third-best in the FCS, trailing North Dakota State(32 consecutive wins) and Harvard (10 consecutive wins), while its 12-game home win streak is the second-best active streak is the FCS’s behind North Dakota State (18 consecutive home wins).

Israel only caught three passes in earning the honor. However, his three receptions were the three longest pass plays by Coastal this season, including touchdowns of 74 and 51 yards, and his 174 total yards is the second-best, single-game effort in school history. (Jerome Simpson owns the CCU single-game mark after totaling 207 yards on eight receptions in a loss at Georgia Southern in 2006.)

On CCU’s first drive and facing 3rd-and-8 on the CCU 13, Israel caught a 49-yard pass and Coastal would go on to score a TD for an early 7-0 lead. Israel’s second reception came with 1:20 left before halftime and CCU ahead by two. He caught a 74-yard touchdown to give CCU a 21-12 lead. His final reception came on the opening drive of the second half, once again on 3rd-and-8 with the Chants ahead, 21-15. Israel caught a screen pass, used two blocks and raced untouched for a 51-yard score. He posted his first career 100-yard receiving game and first multi-TD catch effort in the victory.

Catron earns his second career Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honor and first since the second game of 2012. The senior finished with four touchbacks on his seven kickoffs against Charleston Southern, in addition to one punt for 39 yards while converting all five of his PAT attempts. He entered game with just six touchbacks for the season and 16 for his career. His lone punt was a 39-yarder that was downed on the CSU 5. On the three kickoffs that were returned, CSU totaled just 38 yards (12.7 yards per return) with returns of 16 yards (to the CSU 18), eight yards (to the CSU 18) and 14 yards (to the CSU 19).

Coastal Carolina ranks fifth in the FCS in kick return defense as opponents average a mere 15.68 yards per return. (The FCS national leader is Savannah State with an average of 14.93.)

The Chanticleers return to action this Saturday (Nov. 1) at Gardner-Webb. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm and the game will be telecast on the American Sports Network.

Coastal Carolina is the only FCS program – and one of just two in the whole of the NCAA joining Division II’s Henderson State – to be 5-0 in road games this season. The Chants have tied the Big South record for longest road win streak, matching the feat accomplished by Liberty (Oct. 20, 2007 – Oct. 4, 2008) and equaled by Charleston Southern last year from Aug. 31 – Oct. 12,2013.

Photo by Bill Grammer

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