Chants’ late-season surge nets top 25 final ranking

After winning the program’s fifth Big South Championship and reaching the second round of the NCAA FCS Division I Championship for the first time, the Coastal Carolina football program is ranked 24th nationally in the final poll conducted by The Sports Network.

This marks the fourth time in the 10-year history of Coastal Carolina football the program has finished the season ranked among the nation’s top 25. The Chanticleers finished the 2004 and ’05 seasons ranked 24th, while finishing a program-best 14th in 2006. Coastal received votes in the final poll of 2010 but finished just outside the top 25 as its points in votes were good enough for 27th.

Under the direction of first year head coach Joe Moglia, the 2012 Chanticleers finished 8-5 overall and 5-1 in the Big South. Coastal traveled to Bethune-Cookman, who finished 22nd in the final poll, for the Chanticleers’ third NCAA playoff appearance and claimed a 24-14 victory over the Wildcats. Coastal had its season end the following week with a loss at Old Dominion, who finished sixth nationally, in the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

Other CCU opponents in 2012 to finish among The Sports Network poll include #9 Appalachian State, #11 Stony Brook and #23 Eastern Kentucky.

Due to Coastal’s success despite playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules – the NCAA lists CCU as having the 17th-toughest in the nation – Coach Moglia was the 2012 Big South Coach of the Year and a finalist for two national honors, the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year and the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year.

Coastal Carolina finished 13th in scoring offense (34.31 points per game) and 18th nationally in total offense (437.77 yards per game). The Chanticleers also showed significant improvement in three categories: turnover margin (+0.23 thanks to 14 picks to rank 15th nationally compared to just six INTs in 2011); fewest penalties (5.08 per game for just 44.15 yards per game compared to 75.36 penalty yards per game in 2011); and converted 49.73 percent of its third down opportunities to rank 10th nationally, compared to just 36.20 percent and a national rank of 80th in 2011 and converting 49.73 percent of its third down opportunities to rank 10th nationally, compared to just 36.20 percent and a national rank of 80th in 2011.

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