• Of Kenny Cook’s 40 receptions in 2012, he has 25 that have either gone for a first down or a touchdown.
• Gardner-Webb has allowed 40 points or more six times in 2012, the most since the 1993 defense allowed seven opponents over 40 points and a school-record 43.9 points per game.
• Gardner-Webb has scored in 53 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the Big South Conference.
• Gardner-Webb’s average starting field position in 2012 is its own 32.5 yards line. Opponents are starting on average at their own 34.7 yard line.
• Lucas Beatty is 4-for-4 with three first down completions on fourth downs this season (1 TD). Beatty is completing 65 percent of his passes on third-and-long situations, throwing for 21 first downs.
• Gardner-Webb is averaging 423.4 yards of total offense this season against unranked FCS opponents. Two of those foes – Richmond and Samford – went on to earn top-25 rankings later in the season.
• Lucas Beatty’s four games with 300+ yards passing in 2012 are the most by a GWU quarterback since the program made the move to NCAA Division I in 2000. John Craven (1992) passed for 300+ yards six times to establish the school’s overall record and Chip Stuart (1982) did so five times during his senior season.
• Gardner-Webb’s win over VMI marked the first of more than two touchdowns over a Division I foe since a 47-21 win against Presbyterian on October 18, 2008.
• Gardner-Webb will open the 2013 season at home against Furman (August 31) and open on the road against the Paladins in 2014 (August 30).
SCOUTING CHARLESTON SOUTHERN
Known for the past eight seasons as a pass-first squad under head coach Jay Mills, Charleston Southern has broken the mold in 2012 with a dominant ground game ... The Bucaneers rank No. 22 nationally and second in the Big South Conference with an impressive 197.4 yards per game rushing ... The effort has been balanced on the ground, with running back Teddy Allen emerging as the top threat (420 yards, 7 TD) and mobile quarterback Malcolm Dixon (367 yards, 5 TD) joining him as a weapon in a read-option attack ... Five other Bucs have at least 100 yards rushing on the season and CSU has scored 14 times on the ground ... Dixon has passed for 884 yards and eight scores, with three going to freshman Larry Jones III (13 catches, 344 yards, 3 TD) ... Defensively, CSU has All-America corner Charles James (25 tackles, 3 PBU, INT) anchoring the secondary and a pass defense that is allowing only 153.8 yards per game ... That pass defense total ranks fifth nationally among FCS schools and leads the Big South ... Safety Elijah Lee leads the team with 58 total tackles and tackel Isaac McKenzie has a team-high three sacks.
Gardner-Webb hits the road for the final time in 2012 to take on Charleston Southern in the Big South’s BB&T Game of the Week at 1:30 pm. The game will air live on ESPN3, with Evan Lepler and Nate Ross calling the action from Charleston, S.C. The game will also be broadcast on WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org) by Fabian Fuentes, the Voice of the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb leads the all-time series with Charleston Southern by a 9-3 count ... GWU lost at CSU in 2006 and 2008 ... The Runnin’ Bulldogs won 35-25 in Charleston on October 16, 2010 to snap that streak ... Patrick Hall ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns, with his final score at the 2:00 mark of the fourth quarter sealing the win ... Charleston Southern’s first win over Gardner-Webb came in a 38-7 drubbing on Homecoming, 2005 in Boiling Springs ... Gardner-Webb’s 57-15 win at Charleston Southern 10 years ago clinched the first ever Big South Conference football title and secured a final top-25 ranking in both major polls for the Runnin’ Bulldogs in 2002.
Gardner-Webb head coach Ron Dickerson, Jr., is in his second season in charge of the Runnin’ Bulldogs and holds a 6-14 career record with the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Charleston Southern head coach and 2005 Big South Conference Coach of the Year Jay Mills is 48-62 in his 10th season steering the Buccaneers and is 50-83 overall in 13 seasons.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE BUCCANEERS
Gardner-Webb’s defense registered seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss and two late interceptions to spark a 14-7 win in a defensive struggle last Homecoming in Boiling Springs. Tight end Treymaine Schley caught two touchdowns passes – one from Lucas Beatty and the other from tailback Ricky Rhodes – to account for Gardner-Webb’s scoring. All-Big South linebacker Marty Patterson registered 20 total tackles in the game and current junior defensive lineman Maurice Dickson collected 10 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in an outstanding effort up front.
LAST TWO FOR LUCAS
Quarterback Lucas Beatty (6-2, 220, RSo.) has been red-hot of late, completing a sizzling 46-of-64 passes for 649 yards, six touchdowns and only two interceptions over the last two games. His 181.74 pass efficiency rating has been helped by an average of 14.1 yards per completion.
A POINT TO NOTICE
Gardner-Webb’s offense has steadily improved over the course of the 2012 season, as the unit has adjusted well to new coordinator Kurt Beathard – son of former Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers GM Bobby Beathard. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have averaged 29.6 points and 399.6 yards of total offense over the past five games – with 97 first downs over that span (19.4 per game).
Gardner-Webb has seen a total of 10 freshmen start on offense and defense so far in 2012. Offensively, right guard Dylan Hopper (6-4, 295) and receiver Carlton Heard (6-0, 178) have been regulars in the lineup this season. Slot receiver Demarcus White (5-9, 165) made his first start against VMI. Defensively, cornerback Tiko Thompson (5-8, 148), safety Brandon Swayze (6-2, 190), tackle O.J. Mau (6-2, 275), linebacker Azziz Higgins (6-2, 225), linebacker Chad Geter (6-2, 220) and defensive back Jonathan Sherrill (6-3, 196) have made starts.
ONE MORE CATCH
Redshirt sophomore tight end Seth Cranfill (6-4, 230) tied the Big South’s single-season record for most catches by a tight end with one reception against Coastal Carolina (11/3), hauling in a seven-yard shovel pass from Lucas Beatty just before halftime. The Sherrill’s Ford, N.C., native has caught 34 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns so far in 2012 – tying Coastal Carolina’s David Duran (2009) for most catches in a season. Cranfill already holds the Gardner-Webb single-season record, previously held by Jason Bright (32 catches, 2001).
D-LINE DEEPLY SEASONED
The Runnin’ Bulldogs have a wealth of experienced depth in the defensive trenches in 2012. Five players have starting experience and seven have played extensively during their time in Boiling Springs to date. Tackle Matt Goods (6-2, 275, RJr.-2L) and end Preston Pemasa (6-2, 257, Jr.-2L) have earned All-Big South honors in each of their two seasons so far and both were named Big South Freshman of the Year in their respective rookie seasons. Versatile dual-threat linemen Tyler Hough-Jenkins (6-4, 281, RSo.-1L) and Maurice Dickson (6-4, 265, Jr.-2L) have experience at both tackle and end. Tackles Dylan Taylor (6-0, 255, Gr.-3L) and Maurice Bryan (6-2, 271, Gr.-3L) are both graduate students with three years experience, with Taylor earning multiple starts over the past two seasons. Youngsters Shaquille Riddick (6-7, 235, So.-1L) and O.J. Le’iauta Mau (6-2, 275, Fr.-HS) will also continue to log snaps.
Redshirt sophomore Kenny Cook (6-4, 216) has evolved into a dangerous weapon in the red zone, as evidenced by his five touchdown catches this season – with three inside the red zone and all five coming from inside 25 yards. Cook has caught a team-high 40 passes for 571 yards, and is averaging 17.2 yards per catch in Big South Conference games. He has two 100-yard games in league play, and is averaging 97.2 yards per game against league foes.
BIG STARTS FOR BEATTY
Lucas Beatty (6-2, 220, RSo.) has enjoyed a breakout season in his first full season as the Gardner-Webb starter under center, passing for a career-high 2,143 yards and 10 touchdowns. A closer look at the number reveals hot starts for the Charlotte, N.C., native in several games. Five times so far in 2012 Beatty has completed at least his first five passes. Four times those starts have resulted in 300-yard passing games – the most by any Gardner-Webb quarterback in a single season since John Craven had six games with at least 300 yards 20 years ago in 1992. Against Liberty, Beatty completed his first six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown – and finished the first half by going 16-of-17 for 301 yards and a score. He hit on his first six passes against VMI (10/27) and went 5-for-5 on the opening drive against Coastal Carolina (11/3).
TRENDING TOWARD SPECIAL
Beatty is currently the Big South’s top passer at 238.1 yards per game, putting him on pace to pass for 2,619 yards through the season’s 11 game schedule. If he can maintain or improve his current pace, Beatty would finish with the third-best passing season in Gardner-Webb history, trailing only John Craven’s 1992 (4,089) and 1993 (2,950) efforts. Beatty’s season currently ranks 11th in school history and his 2,774 yards are 10th on the career list.
BURCH’S BIG YEAR CONTINUES
Linebacker Tanner Burch (6-3, 242, So.) is in the midst of a special season at middle linebacker and has been a very bright spot for a young linebacker corps for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Burch has notched at least 10 tackles in eight of Gardner-Webb’s nine games, earning Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors twice. Burch leads the Big South with 113 total tackles and ranks No. 3 nationally with 12.6 tackles per game. He has added 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a pass break up in his first nine career starts. He saw limited action as a reserve in 2011, but was highly sought after as a prep senior at Savannah Christian (Ga.) Prep. Burch was named 2010 Georgia Class 1A State Defensive Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and earned MaxPreps/US Air Force Small School All-America honors that same season. Burch had 11 total tackles (eight solo) against Coastal Carolina on November 3.
A HEALTHY EARLY SLATE
Four of the first six opponents Gardner-Webb battled on the FCS level have been ranked in the top-25 at some point this season. Wofford and Stony Brook each remain in the top-10, Samford has been ranked twice and Richmond is currently ranked No. 22 in the Fathead.com/Sports Network Top 25. The last time Gardner-Webb played two top-10 FCS teams in the same season was early-October 2007 – when it battled SoCon powers Appalachian State and Wofford on the road in back-to-back weeks. All three non-conference FCS squads – Wofford (No. 13), Richmond (No. 20) and Samford (No. 28) are currently ranked among the top-30 nationally (as of November 5).
NO MORE LIGHTS
Gardner-Webb will play its final two games in 2012 during daylight hours, and statistically that might be good news for the GWU offense. In five day games against FCS foes so far in 2012, GWU is averaging 422.2 yards of total offense and 27.8 ppg. In its night games against FCS foes, the ‘Dogs averaged just 241 yards per game and 6.5 points per outing.
Gardner-Webb has developed a nice pipeline to the west coast in recent years, dating back to 2007 NFL Draft selection Brian Johnston (San Diego, Calif.). This season, the Runnin’ Bulldogs have 12 players who call California their home state, the most from the Golden State since the program made the jump to NCAA Division I in 2000. Of that dozen, nine were listed on the 2012 preseason two-deep.
PRESEASON NATIONAL HONORS
Gardner-Webb players collected several preseason honors, with kicker Trever Austin the most widely noted. Austin (5-10, 194, So.-1L) was named to the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List, the College Football Performance Awards Watch List and was an honorable mention All-America selection by Beyond Sports Network. Jamie Dunaway earned second-team All-America honors from Beyond Sports Network, and Preston Pemasa was named to the College Football Performance Awards Watch list at defensive end for the second preseason in a row. Gardner-Webb has had at least one preseason All-America since 2002.
THIS WEEK’S BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE GAMES
Saturday, November 10
Coastal Carolina at Presbyterian *, 1:00
Gardner-Webb at Charleston Southern *, 1:30
The Citadel at VMI, 1:30
#6 Stony Brook at Liberty *, 3:30
OFFENSIVE LINE A STRONG GROUP
Gardner-Webb returns six players with starting experience on the offensive line for the 2012 season. Five of those men are seniors: Right tackle Steve Demilio (6-5, 293, RSr.-3L); right guard Aaron Huck (6-3, 296, RSr.-1L); center Austin Sargent (6-3, 302, Sr.-3L); left guard Jamie Dunaway (6-3, 290, Sr.-3L) and left tackle Harrison Martin (6-6, 285, Gr.-3L). Right guard Jeff Harris (6-2, 292, RJr.-2L) is entering his fourth season in the program. David McConnell (6-5, 304, RSo.) and Dylan Hopper (6-4, 295, Fr.) each started the season’s first four games, with Harris and Martin each coming off the bench.
ON THE AIR
Gardner-Webb’s football games this season can be heard live on WGWG-FM (88.3), the school’s 50,000-watt flagship station. Fabian Fuentes will provide the play-by-play call all season, with David Allen providing color at home and Matt Clark serving in that role on the road. Log onto to wgwg.org for a live audio stream via the internet as well.
THE RON DICKERSON, JR., RADIO SHOW
Every Monday night at 7:00 pm, Fabian Fuentes and Ron Dickerson, Jr., will host the Ron Dickerson, Jr., Coaches Show on WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org). The show will broadcast live on campus and is open to the public.
Gardner-Webb returns home to close out the 2012 season with Military Appreciation Day against Presbyterian College on Saturday, November 17. Kickoff in Earnest W. Spangler Stadium is set for 1:30 pm. †