CCU ranked No. 1 in FCS; Brown, Henderson lauded

ccufoot-27alacasaFor the second time in as many years, the Coastal Carolina football program is the #1 ranked team in the nation. It was also announced Monday that De’Angelo Henderson was named the Big South Choice Hotels Offensive Player of the Week and Devin Brown was named both Big South Special Teams Player of the Week and the FCS Football honorable mention National Player of the Week.

Coastal Carolina, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Joe Moglia, received four of the 23 possible first place votes in the FCS Coaches poll and tallied 517 total points. North Dakota State and Villanova are tied for second with each earning 490 points. Others to receive first place votes by the FC coaches include North Dakota State (6), #4 Sam Houston State (2), #5 Illinois State (6), #6 Jacksonville State (1), #8 Montana (3) and #10 South Dakota State (1).

The Chanticleers moved up two spots to third in the STATS FCS top 25, trailing Sam Houston State and North Dakota State. Coastal Carolina did received 24 of a possible 143 first place votes by the national media and is just 17 points (3,115) from top-ranked Sam Houston State (3,132). Only 85 points separate the top five teams in the STATS FCS poll. Sam Houston State, which moved from #3 to the top spot, received 31 first place votes while #2 North Dakota State received 22, #4 Illinois State 20, #5 Jacksonville State 24, #6 Villanova six, #7 Eastern Washington six, #8 Montana two and #9 South Dakota State eight.

The Chanticleers, who won their first 11 games of 2014, were ranked #1 in the FCS Coaches poll for the final two weeks of the regular season last year. Coastal Carolina climbed to as high as #2 in the national media poll and received first place votes in each of the final two weeks of the regular season. (The only other time in its 13-year history Coastal also received one first place vote was by the national media in week two of the 2005 season after upsetting then #1 James Madison.)

Liberty is ranked #14 in the FCS Coaches poll and #15 in STATS while four upcoming CCU opponents were among those receiving votes, including Western Illinois, South Carolina State, Charleston Southern and Bryant.

Henderson, a preseason All-American, earns his fourth Big South weekly honor as he was the league’s freshman of the week once in 2013 and the offensive player of the week twice last season. At Furman, the junior accumulated a career-high 224 all-purpose yards, scored a touchdown for the 15th consecutive game and became the running back in league history with at least 100 receiving yards in a game.

Overall, Henderson had 15 rushes for 95 yards with a score while posting career highs with seven receptions and 129 yards, including a career-best 60-yard reception. After the opening weekend, he ranks 19th in the NCAA FCS for receiving yards and 25th for receptions, while ranking 43rd in rushing yards.

The 224 all-purpose yards was the ninth-best total in the NCAA FCS for the opening weekend and ranks as the second-best, single-game effort in CCU history (trailing Mike Tolbert’s 266 in 2007 thanks to 244 rushing yards). Henderson was five rushing yards shy of becoming the first player in Big South history to have 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards in the same game. Henderson moved to second on the CCU career rushing yards list with 2,228 and only needs 116 yards to become the school’s all-time leader.

Henderson had receptions of 17 and 23 yards on CCU’s opening drive, which ended with a Chanticleer touchdown, and he gave Coastal a 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter with a 2-yard rushing TD. On CCU’s first drive of the third quarter, he caught a swing pass and turned it into a career-long 60-yard gain. Three plays later, CCU scored to take a 28-21 lead.

Brown, a preseason All-American, set a Big South record by returning his fourth career kickoff for a touchdown. (Brown had a 95-yard kick return versus VMI in 2013, a 99-yard kick return at North Carolina A&T in 2014, a 98-yard kick return at North Dakota State in 2014 and a 100-yard return at Furman in the 2015 opener.) For the game, Brown, who earns his third career Big South Special Teams Player of the Week, finished with three kick returns for 138 yards and added three receptions for 16 yards, including a key first down during CCU’s last touchdown drive.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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