Sports

Schedule swap shorts Chants

CONWAY | It appeared everybody came out on the winning end when Coastal Carolina University, North Carolina A& T and Towson rearranged their football schedules last March.North Carolina A& T's scheduling error - the Aggies had doublebooked Oct. 3 with Coastal and North Carolina Central - was solved when Towson agreed to move its bye week to Sept. 12, allowing the Tigers to host Coastal one week later. That freed Coastal to host the Aggies on Sept. 26.Coastal didn't mind the moves at the time, because the Chanticleers still had an 11-game schedule and their bye week was moved closer to the middle of the regular season. Nearly six months later, however, it appears the Chants may have gotten the short end of the stick.The changes allowed Towson, which was soundly beaten by FBS Northwestern in the season opener, to use its bye week to rest up and prepare for the Chants in the school's first home game. North Carolina A& T didn't have to forfeit any games and will likely collect a large gate for hosting North Carolina Central on Oct. 3 in a rivalry game.Coastal? Well, the Chants get to face an inspired, rested group of Tigers, now under first-year head coach Rob Ambrose."You've got to make the best of it," Coastal coach David Bennett said. "It's better knowing you've got a game instead of playing just 10 ballgames."The Chanticleers have been on "upset alert" all week, with Bennett reminding them daily of the factors that could make this game more difficult than it appears on paper. He even declared during Wednesday's media luncheon that Towson is the favorite.That may seem to be a bit of a reach, especially after the Chants piled up 302 rushing yards in a 31-3 win at Brooks Stadium in 2008. However, the Tigers admittedly quit in the second half last year, something that doesn't seem likely to happen again under Ambrose.And there is no doubt that the bye week allowed the Tigers to refocus after the 47-14 loss to Northwestern, Tigers senior linebacker Alex Butts said."Two days after that game we tried to forget about it," Butts said. "The past is the past. ... It really helped us out a lot to have that extra week for recovery. Not too many guys got banged up, and we're coming into this game fresh."That extra week - Coastal and Towson were originally scheduled to be off this week before playing next week - would have been welcomed by the Chants, who are dealing with injuries to tailbacks Jeremy Height - who is likely out of commission for two weeks - and Eric O'Neal and quarterback Zach MacDowall.Towson, however, is relatively healthy.Ambrose said, "Having a bye week after you play the biggest, strong, nastiest dude on your schedule is always [good]."k Contact JOSH HOKE at 843-626-0318.ONLINE | To view Hoke's Coastal Carolina blog "The Roost," go to TheSunNews.com.

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