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Coastal Carolina set for Cure Bowl matchup against Northern Illinois

Kickoff is set for Friday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Coastal and NIU will be meeting for the first time on the gridiron this week at the 2021...
Coastal and NIU will be meeting for the first time on the gridiron this week at the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl.(WMBF)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 4:43 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 12:49 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will kick off in the program’s second-ever Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) postseason bowl game on Friday, Dec. 17, as the Chanticleers (10-2, 6-2 Sun Belt) will take on the Northern Illinois Huskies (9-4, 6-2 MAC), the 2021 Mid-American Conference Champions, at the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and will air on the radio at WRNN Hot Talk 99.5 FM.

CHANTS GOING BOWLING

• Coastal is going bowling for the second consecutive season, ironically enough, at the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla. where the Chanticleers made their first-ever bowl appearance last year in 2020.

CCU in Bowl Games

DATE OPPONENT RESULT

12/26/20 vs. #23 Liberty L, 34-37 (OT)

COASTAL IN POSTSEASON PLAY

• While Coastal Carolina is just 0-1 all-time in FBS bowl games, the Chanticleers have plenty of postseason experience having made the NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs a total of six times.

• The Chants are 4-7 all-time in postseason play, including last year’s bowl loss to nationally-ranked Liberty (Dec. 26, 2020).

NCAA FCS PLAYOFFS

DATE OPPONENT H/A RESULT

11/25/06 #1 Appalachian State A L, 28-45

11/27/10 #21 Western Illinois H L, 10-17

11/24/12 #22 Bethune-Cookman A W, 24-14

12/01/12 #3 Old Dominion A L, 35-63

11/30/13 #12 Bethune-Cookman H W, 48-24

12/07/13 #4 Montana A W, 42-35

12/14/13 #1 North Dakota St. A L, 14-48

12/06/14 #16 Richmond H W, 36-15

12/13/14 #2 North Dakota St. A L, 32-39

11/28/15 #18 The Citadel H L, 38-41

NCAA FBS BOWL GAMES

DATE OPPONENT H/A/N RESULT

12/26/20 #23 Liberty (OT) N L, 34-37

SERIES VERSUS NORTHERN ILLINOIS

• Coastal and NIU will be meeting for the first time on the gridiron this week at the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl (Dec. 17).

CCU VS. MAC

• Coastal is 1-3 all-time versus teams from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with the lone win coming this year on the road at Buffalo (Sept. 18) back in the third week of the season.

All-Time Versus the MAC

DATE POWER 5 FOE RESULT

9/3/09 at Kent State L, 0-18

9/22/12 at Toledo L, 28-38

8/31/19 Eastern Michigan L, 23-30

9/18/21 at Buffalo W, 28-25

SCOUTING THE HUSKIES

• The Northern Illinois Huskies are 9-4 overall and went 6-2 in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play.

• The Huskies won their sixth MAC Championship, defeating Kent State 41-23 in the MAC Championship game on Dec. 4 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

• MAC Coach of the Year Thomas Hammock led the Huskies to an unprecedented turnaround this season, going from 0-6 in 2020 to a conference championship title in 2021.

• The Huskies also had nine student-athletes earn All-MAC honors, as C.J. Brown was named to the All-MAC first team. Three offensive players in Nolan Potter (OL), Brayden Patton (OL), and Trayvon Rudolph (WR/KR) earned a spot on the second team, while Logan Zschernitz (OL), Clint Ratkovich (RB), James Ester (DL), Lance Deveaux Jr. (LB), and Jordan Gandy (DB) all were named to the third team.

• NIU’s offense this year is averaging 31.5 points and a total of 422.0 yards per game, both of which rank in the middle of the MAC.

• However, that offense is led by a rushing attack that ranks second in the MAC and fifth in the nation at 234.2 yards per game, and an offensive line unit that has allowed 10 sacks all season, which ranks third nationally.

• Former Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi leads the offense as he has completed 180-of-310 pass attempts for 2,416 yards, 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

• On the ground, Jay Ducker, who was named the MAC Freshman of the Year, has rushed a team-high 194 times for 1,038 yards and three touchdowns, while Ratkovich leads the way with 12 rushing touchdowns.

• In the passing game, a trio of Huskies in Rudolph (49 catches, 877 yards), Tyrice Richie (44 catches, 540 yards), and Cole Tucker (35 catches, 488 yards) have over 35 catches on the season, while Rudolph leads the team with seven touchdown catches.

• Defensively, the Huskies are giving up 32.7 points and 447.7 yards per game this season, including allowing 20 points or more in all 13 games on the year.

• All-MAC selections Brown (104) and Deveaux Jr. (69) lead the team in tackles, while fellow all-conference selection Gandy is first on the team with 10 pass breakups.

RUN DMC

• The 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl should see plenty of action on the ground, as both the Chanticleers and Northern Illinois rank in the top-10 in all of FBS in rushing yards per game.

• The NIU Huskies rank fifth nationally with an average of 234.2 rushing yards per game on the season, which ranks second in the MAC.

• CCU is right behind the Huskies, as the Chants rank sixth nationally and lead the Sun Belt in rushing yards per game at 231.3.

NEWBIES MAKING HISTORY

• The Cure Bowl will feature two relatively new FBS head coaches in Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell and Northern Illinois’ Thomas Hammock.

• Both have helped their programs make history in their young tenure, as Chadwell led Coastal to its first-ever Sun Belt Conference Championship title and postseason bowl appearance in 2020.

• In his fourth year as the head coach at CCU, Chadwell has also led the Chanticleers to back-to-back double-digit win seasons for the first time in the program’s young FBS history and only the second time in program history (2013 and 2014).

• In just three years at his alma mater, Hammock led the first-ever FBS program to go from a winless season one year (0-6 in 2020) to a conference championship title the next year, as NIU won the program’s sixth MAC Championship this year.

NON-SATURDAY GAMES

• Coastal has played a total of six non-Saturday games this season, going 5-1 overall, and has improved to 10-6 all-time in non-traditional Saturday contests.

CCU in Non-Saturday Games All-Time

DATE OPPONENT RESULT

9/25/03 at North Greenville W, 49-39

9/7/08 Colgate L, 19-23

9/3/09 at Kent State L, 0-18

11/19/15 at Liberty L, 21-24

11/17/16 Liberty W, 42-7

9/12/18 at Campbell W, 58-21

11/23/18 at South Alabama L, 28-31

11/7/19 Louisiana L, 7-48

9/18/20 Campbell W, 43-21

10/14/20 at #21 Louisiana W, 30-27

9/2/21 The Citadel W, 52-14

9/10/21 Kansas W, 49-22

10/7/21 at Arkansas State W, 52-20

10/20/21 at Appalachian State L, 27-30

10/28/21 Troy W, 35-28

11/26/21 at South Alabama W, 27-21 (OT)

CCU in Non-Saturday Games in 2021

DATE OPPONENT RESULT

9/2/21 The Citadel W, 52-14

9/10/21 Kansas W, 49-22

10/7/21 at Arkansas State W, 52-20

10/20/21 at Appalachian State L, 27-30

10/28/21 Troy W, 35-28

11/26/21 at South Alabama W, 27-21 (OT)

NEUTRAL SITE GAMES

• Coastal has played in just one neutral site game in the program’s 19-year history, last year in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl versus No. 23 Liberty (Dec. 26) at Camping World Stadium.

CCU in Neutral Site Games

DATE OPPONENT RESULT

12/26/20 vs. #23 Liberty L, 34-37 (OT)

STUDENT-ATHLETES

• A total of five Coastal Carolina football student-athletes in Steven Bedosky, Trey Carter, Silas Kelly, Charles Ouverson, and Alex Spillum were all named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District first team in football.

• All five Chants were named to the NCAA Division I District 4 first team which includes student-athletes from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico.

• All five have received the honor multiple times now for their CCU careers.

MCCALL REPEATS AS SBC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

• For the second consecutive season, Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

• McCall, who was the 2020 Sun Belt Player and Freshman of the Year, was 9-1 on the season as a starter while missing two games due to an upper-body injury.

• A Davey O’Brien and Maxwell Award semifinalist, as well as a two-time Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week honoree, McCall leads all of NCAA FBS in passing efficiency (207.9) which would shatter the NCAA single-season record of 203.1 set by Mac Jones of Alabama last season.

• He also leads all of FBS in yards per pass attempt (12.12 yards) and passing yards per completion (16.61 yards).

• He leads the Sun Belt in completion percentage (73.0), passing efficiency (207.9), passing touchdowns (23), passing yards per game (255.8), passing yards per completion (16.61), points responsible for (168), points responsible per game (16.8), total offense per game (280.8), and yards per pass attempt (12.12).

SWEET 16 EARN SUN BELT POSTSEASON HONORS

• A total of 16 Chanticleers picked up All-Sun Belt honors, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and media members.

• The 16 All-Sun Belt selections match a program high for the Chants since moving to the Sun Belt Conference as a full-time member in 2017, as Coastal also had 16 honorees in 2020.

All-Sun Belt First Team

CHANT

Grayson McCall QB

Shermari Jones RB

Jaivon Heiligh WR

Isaiah Likely TE

Josaiah Stewart DE

D’Jordan Strong CB

C.J. Brewer DT

Silas Kelly LB

All-Sun Belt Second Team

CHANT

Willie Lampkin OL

Jeffrey Gunter Bandit

All-Sun Belt Third Team

CHANT

Trey Carter OL

Alex Spillum DB

Jaivon Heiligh RS

All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention

CHANT

Kameron Brown WR

Braydon Bennett RB

Teddy Gallagher LB

Enock Makonzo Spur

• With his third-team honor this season, offensive lineman Trey Carter joined Shamarious Gilmore of Georgia State as the first-ever five-time All-Sun Belt honorees in the conference’s history.

GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE

• For the first time since opening the 2018 season at South Carolina and Williams Brice Stadium, the Chanticleers will play on natural grass this weekend at Exploria Stadium.

• Coastal, which played at home on natural grass from 2003-14 until installing the “Surf Turf”, has played 114 games on natural grass in the program’s 19-year history, going 84-30 overall.

• Ironically, the Chanticleers have also played a total of 114 games on artificial turf, having gone 64-50 overall on a synthetic playing surface.

CURE BOWL HISTORY

• In last year’s 2020 FBC Mortage Cure Bowl, CCU wideout Jaivon Heiligh etched his name in the Cure Bowl record book.

• Heiligh set a new Cure Bowl record with 13 receptions, breaking his own school record of 12 catches set in 2019, and recorded a new Cure Bowl high of 178 receiving yards, which was also a career-high for the Chant wideout.

BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL

• Coastal has excelled on both sides of the ball this season.

• CCU is the only Group of 5 team and one of four FBS teams nationally to be ranked in the top-25 in both total offense (493.1 – 7th) and total defense (324.8 -17th) – CCU, Mississippi State, Michigan, and Alabama.

• CCU is one of five FBS teams nationally to be ranked in the top-20 in both fewest first downs allowed (defense) and most first downs gained (offense) – CCU, Mississippi State, Alabama, Purdue, and Western Michigan.

• CCU is one of eight FBS teams nationally to be ranked in the top-30 in both red-zone scoring offense (89.1 – 26th) and red-zone scoring defense (76.5 – 26th) – CCU, Appalachian State, Iowa State, Colorado, Arkansas, Florida State, West Virginia, Georgia, Pittsburgh, and UTSA.

• CCU is one of nine FBS teams nationally to be ranked in the top-25 in both scoring offense (40.4 – 6th) and scoring defense (20.0 – 19th) – CCU, Georgia, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Appalachian State, Houston, Alabama, and Ohio State.