The Tigers, fresh off of an upset at No. 8 Miami last weekend, return to the familiar environs of Death Valley for a Homecoming date with in-state and FCS foe Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers (3-4 overall) lost 16-10 to Stony Brook last weekend to fall under the .500 mark. The teams will celebrate Halloween with their uniforms – Coastal head coach David Bennett approached Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney early in the summer about the option of the Chanticleers wearing all black, and Swinney responded by saying the Tigers would help celebrate Halloween in style by wearing all orange.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Zach MacDowall, QB – MacDowall has started five of the seven games for the Chants, and leads the team in passing. The redshirt junior originally signed with Wake Forest out of high school, but redshirted one season before transferring to Coastal. On the season, he has completed 74-of-129 passes for 973 yards and four touchdowns.
Eric O’Neal, RB – The junior running back ranked sixth in the Big South in rushing, and recently passed over 1000 yards in his career. He has rushed 86 times this season for 367 yards and two touchdowns, but is also second on the team in receiving, snaring 17 passes for 101 yards.
Desmond Steward, LB – The redshirt sophomore had an outstanding game against Towson on Sept.19th when he tallied 16 tackles, the highest amount for a Big South team this season. On the season, he leads the Chants with 50 total tackles. He has no quarterback sacks, however.
David Bennett, Head Coach – Bennett earned his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Clemson University in 1986, where he worked with the running backs on the Tigers' 1986 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship squad. He coached with former Clemson head coach Danny Ford. While at Clemson, he coached in the Independence and Gator Bowls.
Gary Smallen, Asst. Coach – The tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator played at Furman, and he graduated in 1972.
Drew Watson, Asst. Coach – Watson coaches the safeties, is a native of Anderson and is a 1984 graduate of T.L. Hanna High School.
The teams have never met on the football field. The Chanticleers have a two game contract with Clemson, and the teams will meet again in Death Valley on Sept. 6, 2014.
DID YOU KNOW?
*With just three graduating classes in two years, the Chanticleers have shown they have some quality talent, with four players currently on National Football League rosters. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was the first-ever draft pick out of the Big South Conference by the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, and started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season before being traded to the Miami Dolphins earlier this year. Defensive back Quinton Teal is starting his third year with the Carolina Panthers after playing in 28 games his first two years in Charlotte. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 NFL Draft while fullback Mike Tolbert was a 2008 free agent signee of the San Diego Chargers and started seven of his 13 games played in his rookie season.
* The Chants have had their struggles on the offensive side of the ball in 2009, both in yards and scoring. The Chanticleers are scoring just 16.0 points per game and averaging 309.7 yards of total offense. In the last two contests, Coastal has a combined 26 points and just 352 yards of offense. The group also has not posted more than 28 points in a single game this year, with four of the seven with 17 or less.
DID YOU HEAR?
“This is the most important game of the season for our program. If we mess this one up, all of the good things that happened after the win at Miami are gone.” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
CLEMSON INJURY REPORT
Out- Kantrell Brown, S, Concussion
Doubtful- Michael Palmer, TE, Concussion
Probable- Scotty Cooper, LB, Concussion