Football

Big South Football Preview

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Coastal Carolina: Chanticleers return 15 starters from last season’s league co-champs, which finished 12-2 and ranked No. 5 in nation after advancing to FCS quarterfinals.

TOP CONTENDERS

Liberty: Flames, who shared league title with Coastal Carolina after 15-14 victory over Chanticleers in regular season, return 16 starters from FCS playoff qualifiers.

Charleston Southern: Buccaneers, who have won 18 games the past two seasons under coach Jamey Chadwell, cracked FCS Top 25 rankings last season.

FIVE TO WATCH

▪ Alex Ross, Coastal Carolina, QB, Sr. (6-1, 205): Last season’s Offensive Player of the Year set league records; he’s a national player of the year candidate.

▪ C.J. Mau, Gardner-Webb, NG, Sr. (6-2, 319): Anchor of Bulldogs’ defensive line past two years named league’s preseason Defensive Player of Year. He’s also a national player of the year candidate.

▪ De’Angelo Henderson, Coastal Carolina, RB, Jr. (5-8, 205): Led Big South, ranked in top 10 in nation in rushing (1,534 yards) and rushing TDs (20) last season.

▪ Darrin Peterson, Liberty, WR, Sr. (6-2, 190): Big South’s top receiver in 2014 came 10 yards shy of league record for receiving yards (1,379), fourth-best in nation.

▪ D.J. Abnar, Liberty, RB, Sr. (5-10, 185): Made first year starting pay off in 2014 with 1,289 rushing yards, 15 TDs, 1,435 all-purpose yards.

DON'T MISS THIS GAME

Nov. 21: Coastal Carolina at Liberty: Regular-season finale for both teams could determine conference champion, seeding for FCS playoffs.

OUTLOOK

The Big South had two teams qualify for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, and both finished the season in the Top 25 FCS coaches’ poll. Can the league put three teams in the FCS playoffs this season?

Next: CIAA

Bill Kiser

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