Mountaineers host Coastal Carolina Saturday
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
The two times the Chanticleers played at Appalachian State, they’ve suffered big defeats. The Mountaineers beat Coastal Carolina 30-3 in the teams’ first meeting back in 2005, one week after the Chanticleers upset then-defending Division I-AA champion James Madison.
One year later, with future NFL players quarterback Tyler Thigpen and receiver Jerome Robinson on its roster, Coastal Carolina was hammered by the Mountaineers again. This time, Appalachian State won 45-28 after taking a 31-0 halftime lead.
Coastal Carolina gets another chance at Appalachian State Saturday. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
As with Thigpen, Coastal Carolina brings an outstanding quarterback to The Rock. Aramis Hillary leads the Chanticleers’ offense in 2012 after transferring from South Carolina in 2009.
Hillary is the brother of former Appalachian State receiver CoCo Hillary, who was a quarterback in high school. He ranks eighth nationally in passing yardage with 1,127, ninth in total offense with 302.5 yards per game and is 18th nationally in passing efficiency (145.88 rating).
“He’s a terrific quarterback with a great arm and he’s a great runner,” Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said. “They are both tough football players that everybody likes to coach.”
Coastal Carolina goes into the game with a 2-2 record. The Chanticleers won their first two games, beating North Carolina A&T 29-13 and Furman 47-45 in triple overtime.
Coastal Carolina lost its previous two games, but pushed FBS Toledo to the brink. The Chanticleers led Toledo 21-17 in the third quarter, and trailed 31-28 in the fourth before final falling 38-28.
A week earlier, then-No. 20 Eastern Kentucky beat the Chanticleers 35-17.
“They’ve played a tough schedule,” Moore said. “They’ve played tough football teams and they’re a good team. I don’t get to see them that often, but I was taken aback by the talent they have because I didn’t know.”
Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia said he’s been happy with the progress of his team, but realizes that they still have work to do.
“I’ve been pleased with the offense and we’ve improved on defense from weeks two to three to four,” Moglia said. “Our special teams have been consistent with the exception of a few breakdowns last Saturday in the third period. We’re not anywhere near where we want to be.”
Moglia’s path to Coastal Carolina started with graduating college with an economics degree and then being an assistant football coach for 16 years. He then went to Wall Street to work for Merrill Lynch before working his way to becoming the CEO of TD Ameritrade.
Moglia then left Wall Street to be a volunteer assistant coach at Nebraska before taking over the Omaha Nighthawks, a football team in the UFL.
Coastal Carolina hired him last December.
“It’s as rewarding and satisfying as anything I can do,” Moglia said. “I’m proud to represent Coastal Carolina and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me.”
He gets an opportunity to face an Appalachian State team that is coming off a 34-17 victory over Chattanooga. The Mountaineers scored 24 points in the fourth quarter after getting off to a bad start when Chattanooga converted two ASU turnovers into 10 points.
Appalachian State eventually outgained the Mocs 401-270. Quarterback Jamal Jackson found Sean Price for touchdown passes of 36 and 14 yards, while linebacker Brandon Grier returned an interception 70 yards for another touchdown.
“They have a cadre of receivers they don’t have a problem going to,” Moglia said. “Defensively, they move well and they get to the ball and they’re not afraid to hit you. They’re a very good, solid FCS team.”