Coastal moves up to No. 20; Norman wins league honor

Coastal Carolina moved up to No. 20 in the latest Football Championship poll and senior Josh Norman was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week for his play in helping the Chanticleers defeat VMI in the teams’ 2011 conference opener this past Saturday.

Coastal Carolina is 4-1, marking the program’s best start since 2005, and opened Big South play last Saturday with a convincing 34-10 win over VMI at Brooks Stadium. The win was Coastal’s fifth-straight, regular-season home victory and the Chanticleers are 8-2 over their last 10 games overall with a loss to Western Illinois in the first round of the 2010 NCAA playoffs and a loss at Georgia in week three of the 2011 season.

Coastal continues to receive votes in The Sports Network/Fathead.com media poll, getting the 29th-best point total in this week’s ranking period.

For the third straight game, Norman led Coastal in tackles with seven solos versus the Keydets. He added three pass break ups, giving him 30 for his career. The two-time, first team All-Big South pick and 2009 All-American is now just one PBU shy of the school record and Big South career mark of 31, held by ex-Chanticleer Quinton Teal. Norman also made his first interception of the season, giving him 12 for his career. He now ranks second on the CCU and Big South all-time picks lists behind Teal’s 17.

On VMI’s second drive, with the Keydets on the CCU 34, Norman had his first PBU on first down. Three plays later, on 4th-and-4, Norman had a PBU in the end zone to force a turnover on downs. In addition to his impressive statistics, Norman was matched up most of the game with one of the conference’s top receivers, Tracy Hairston. For the game, Hairston only caught three passes for 16 yards. On one completion to Hairston, Norman made a stop for no gain. In the third quarter and VMI facing 2nd-and-7, Hairston caught a pass and Norman made the stop for just a 5-yard gain. On the next play, Norman registered his third PBU of the game to force a punt.

Norman currently ranks 11th (tied) in the NCAA and first in the Big South in passes defended (1.60 per game). His seven PBU for the season also leads the Big South, while ranking eighth (tied) in the NCAA. His 12 career interceptions ranks seventh (tied) for most among active FCS players.

This marks Norman’s third career Big South Defensive Player of the Week honor and the third time a Chanticleer has been recognized by the league in 2011. Earlier, quarterback Aramis Hillary was named Offensive Player of the Week (versus Furman) and linebacker Quinn Backus was tabbed the Big South Freshman of the Week (versus Georgia).

Coastal Carolina will return to action this Saturday for a key Big South meeting with Liberty. Kickoff in Lynchburg, Va., is set for 3:30 pm.

From staff reports/Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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