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2014 Football Opponent Preview: Coastal Carolina
In addition to its position previews and player features, LibertyFlames.com has taken a look at each of Liberty's 2014 Big South football opponents during the month of August.
During the opponent series, the website brought you audio from the head coach of each football program, as LFSN's Nick Pierce had a chance to talk with each of them during Big South Football Media Day in July.
The series concludes today with a look at the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who garnered 14 out of 18 first-place votes in the Big South preseason football poll.
The Chanticleers are coming off their most successful season in program history, which included two NCAA FCS Playoff wins.
In just their second season under Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina posted a 12-3 overall record and shared the Big South title with Liberty with a 4-1 record. However, because of their double overtime victory over the Flames, the Chanticleers were awarded the league's automatic postseason bid.
Once they reached the playoffs, Coastal Carolina knocked off Bethune-Cookman and FCS powerhouse Montana before succumbing to eventual national champion North Dakota State.
Coastal Carolina returns 16 starters from last year's squad, including five on offense and seven on defense. Leading the offensive charge is quarterback Alex Ross, a Walter Payton Award candidate. In 2014, Ross threw for 3,093 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Pacing the way on defense is Big South Defensive Player of the Year Quinn Backus. In 2013, the linebacker finished the year with 144 tackles (85 solo, 59 assisted). He is once again a Buck Buchanan Award candidate after finishing seventh in the voting for last year's top defensive FCS player in the country.
The Flames have lost two in a row to the Chanticleers, including last year's thrilling 55-52 double overtime game at Williams Stadium. Coastal Carolina overcame a 19-point deficit in the second half to steal an upset victory from Liberty in front of its Homecoming crowd.
The pair will close out the 2014 regular season schedule in Conway, S.C., on Nov. 22, a place Liberty has only won once in program history. The last time the Flames won at Brooks Stadium, current N.Y. Giants running back Rashad Jennings led the Flames to a 43-38 shootout win in 2008.