COASTAL CAROLINA 41, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 20 | BOX SCORE
The Coastal Carolina football team cruised to a 41-20 victory over Charleston Southern Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium to earn a share of the 2012 Big South Championship. The Chanticleers (7-4 overall) finished 5-1 in the Conference, tied with Liberty and Stony Brook. However, the Chants earned the Big South's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs by virtue of the tiebreaker.
The FCS playoff pairings will be announced on ESPNU's selection show Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. Coastal will hold a viewing party in the team room on the third floor of Adkins Field House, beginning at 1:00pm. It is the Chanticleers' fifth Big South title in 10 years and they will make their third appearance in the FCS playoffs.
Coastal, for a school-record the sixth consecutive game, rushed for over 200 yard, gaining 252 and rushing for five touchdowns. Aramis Hillary rushed for a career-high 115 yards and a touchdown, while completing 12-of-22 passes for 102 yards.
Against the Buccaneers, the Chants sprinted out to a 21-0 second-quarter lead and led by double-digits the entire way. This is the fifth consecutive CCU win by 20-plus points and the third straight CCU has scored at least five offensive touchdowns. The previous two weeks, CCU rushed for five TDs and threw for three at Gardner-Webb, passed for five and rushed for three at Presbyterian.
Jeremy Height added 68 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Marcus Whitener gained 55 yards and ran for two scores.
Quinn Backus led Coastal's defense with 16 tackles to set the CCU single-season record, now with 123. The previous mark was 116 set by Jamar Leath in a 12-game 2006 season. Backus added an interception, forced fumble and two tackles-for-loss in the victory.
Coastal Carolina forced a turnover on the first drive of the game as Backus picked off a Malcolm Dixon pass. The Chants could not take advantage and punted. With the ball on the CSU five, Backus made another big play, forcing a fumble. While the Buccaneers would recover, CSU would punt and Coastal took over on the Buccaneer 37 and would score six plays later on a two-yard Lorenzo Taliaferro rush.
On Charleston Southern's ensuing drive, the Bucs went for it on fourth-and-one from the CSU 44. Coastal Carolina junior Tyler McCarthy read the option play and dropped Mike Davis for a five-yard loss. After one first down, Hillary had a 15-yard run and, one play later, capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 Chanticleer lead.
On its next drive, Charleston Southern went for it on fourth down on the CCU eight, facing fourth-and -two. Senior Quinton Davis made the stop at the seven to give Coastal the ball.
Following an exchange of punts, Coastal would drive 58 yards, thanks in part to a pass interference call against the Buccaneers, and take a 21-0 lead after a two-yard TD by Height.
Charleston Southern trimmed its deficit to 21-7 as time expired in the first half. Briar Van Brunt connected with Corvaughn Archie for 34 yards to the CCU seven with two seconds left. Derek Hatcher then hit Larry Jones III for a seven-yard score as time expired.
On the opening drive of the second half, Coastal took 10 plays and 4:28 to reach the end zone. Hillary had completions of 18 and 12 yards to Niccolo Mastromatteo. Then, facing fourth-and-two on the CSU 19, Hillary connected with Thomas Pauciello to the one. Two plays later, Whitener found paydirt and Austin Cain ran in the two-point play for a 29-7 lead.
The Buccaneers matched the touchdown on their ensuing drive. Teddy Allen set the tone with a 17-yard run. Later Dixon connected with Archie for 17 yards to the CCU four. After a loss of one yards, Allen scored from five yards out. The Buccaneers tried to answer Coastal's two-point play, but Dontavais Johnson picked off Dixon in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a CCU defensive two-point play. It marked Coastal's second 100-yard two-point play this season as Mike McClure matched the feat in a win at Furman in week two of the season.
The Chanticleers responded with another 10-play scoring drive. The key play in the drive was a Hillary a 21-yard rush before Whitener had runs of eight and two yards, the second for a TD, to give Coastal a 38-13 lead. On the first play of Charleston Southern's ensuing drive, LaDarius Hawthorne picked off his third pass of the season. Again, Hillary had a big play to set up a score thanks to a 46-yard run. While the drive stalled, Alex Catron split the uprights from 36 yards out to give Coastal a 41-13 lead.
The Bucs kept the pressure on midway through the fourth as Dixon found tight end Nathan Prater open down the middle of the field for a 37-yard score. The point after trimmed the Buccaneer deficit to 21, 41-20.
However, the Chanticleers were able to run more than four minutes of the clock on their next drive before punting. Charleston Southern got the ball back with just 4:09 left on the clock and drove from its own 24 to the Coastal 25 before time ran out.
Soon after Coastal kicked off against the Bucs, Liberty finished off a 33-14 win over VMI, helping set up the three-way tiebreaker that the Chants won due to having the most road wins in Conference play.
LIBERTY 33, VMI 14 | BOX SCORE | WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Liberty scored four rushing touchdowns, including two in the decisive fourth quarter, to secure a 33-14 win over VMI, Saturday afternoon, and claim the program's fifth Big South title in the last six seasons.
With the win, Liberty finishes the season with a 6-5 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Big South play. The 2012 Big South title was shared three ways for the second time in three years, as Liberty shared the Conference crown with Stony Brook (9-2, 5-1 Big South) and Coastal Carolina (7-4, 5-1 Big South).
Liberty defeated Stony Brook at home last weekend to end the Seawolves' regular-season campaign, while Coastal Carolina wrapped up its regular-season slate today with a 41-20 victory over Charleston Southern at home.
The win caps off Liberty's first season under head coach Turner Gill and pushed the Flames run of winning seasons to seven straight years. This year's senior class finished their careers at Liberty as the fourth-winningest class in program history (29-15), three Big South titles (2009, 2010 and 2012) and a 20-4 Big South record.
Defense dominated the pace of play for most of the afternoon at Foster Stadium with it taking nearly 15 minutes of play before either team put together a successful drive.
The first 24 plays of the game resulted in a combined 60 total offensive yards for both teams and it wasn't until a turnover was committed that either team was able to jumpstart its offense.
After forcing its second consecutive three-and-out series, Liberty took over at its own 34-yard line with only 24 seconds left on the first quarter clock.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Woodrum tried to find one of his receivers over the middle of the field, but his deep pass attempt was picked off by Mike Smith and returned 22 yards to the Flames 32-yard line.
On the next play, VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrock rolled out and found Aaron Lewis for his first career touchdown reception, giving the Keydets a 7-0 lead.
The Flames finally responded midway through the second quarter, as Liberty started to establish its rushing efforts.
Liberty kept the ball on the ground seven times during the nine-play, 51-yard scoring drive, capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Sirchauncey Holloway with 2:30 left to play before halftime. John Lunsford's extra point attempt was blocked, allowing VMI to cling to a 7-6 lead.
The Flames quickly forced VMI to punt on the next drive and the Flames switched up their offensive attack to move the ball down the field during the remaining time.
Woodrum was 3-of-5 on the drive, starting with a 20-yard pass to Elliott Dutra and a 19-yard route to Jaquan Glover to penetrate the red zone.
Woodrum completed the seven-play, 64-yard drive with a darting pass to senior tight end Justin Gunn with 12 ticks left on the opening half clock. After the successful point-after attempt by Lunsford, Liberty headed to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
Liberty led the first half, outgaining the Keydets, 178 total offensive yards to 107 total offensive yards. Both teams passed for exactly the same yardage total (114 yards), while Liberty rushed for 64 yards and VMI was held to minus seven yards on the ground.
Woodrum and Kordenbrock matched each other by each completing 11-of-17 passing attempts. Dutra was Liberty's leading receiver with four catches for 56 yards, while the Keydets had four players each have two receptions.
Holloway was Liberty's ground leader with 10 carries for 34 yards, while Derrick Ziglar was the lone Keydet to gain positive yardage (four yards) on his two carries.
Both sets of offenses continued to struggle to start the third quarter, with five straight three-and-out series that led to a combined 16 total offensive yards.
Back-to-back passing routes from Woodrum to senior wide receiver Pat Kelly helped record the first first down of the third quarter and start Liberty's first offensive push of the second half.
Aldreakis Allen then took over, carrying the ball three times to help the Flames widen their lead. Following a 31-yard pickup to the outside and a five-yard gain, Allen burst up the middle to score from six yards out.
The Flames went for two after the rushing touchdown, but Kelly was not able to catch the ball and stay in the end zone, leaving the score 19-7 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
VMI quickly answered and pulled back within a score on its next drive. The four-play, 75-yard drive was spotlighted by a 39-yard reception by Dexter Bridges and a pair of 15-yard penalties against the Flames.
Kordenbrock finished the drive and pulled VMI within five, 19-14, with a six-yard scoring pass to Mario Thompson with 1:54 left in the third quarter.
The Keydets continued to battle, but Liberty's ground game wore down the home team, as the Flames scored twice in the fourth quarter to finish off their Big South title run.
Seven rushing plays on a 10-play, 64-yard drive helped the Flames widen their lead with the seventh being a nine-yard burst by Allen with 5:36 left to play in the game to push Liberty's lead to 26-14.
On the second play of the ensuring drive, Kordenbrock was sacked by Demetrius Ward, who caused a fumble that was picked up by teammate Toby Onyechi to give Liberty the ball back.
Four plays later, Holloway capped off his days in a Liberty uniform with his 28th career rushing touchdown, a one-yard push up the middle, to seal the Flames' road victory with 2:43 left to play in the game.
Liberty led a balanced offensive attack during the 60 minutes of play. Liberty finished the game with 351 total offensive yards, 179 on the ground and 172 through the air.
The Flames held their fifth opponent in 2012 below 100 rushing yards, as VMI finished the game with an opponent season-low 26 rushing yards. The Keydets did move the ball on the day with 257 passing yards, the second-most passing yards Liberty has allowed this year.
Allen became the 10th player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, as the junior finished the day with 15 carries for 99 yards to give him 1,019 rushing yards in 2012.
Holloway finished his Liberty career with 17 carries for 64 yards and two scores. For his career, the senior had 1,850 rushing yards and 30 total touchdowns (28 rushing, two receiving).
Woodrum finished his first season under center for the Flames by completing 19-of-29 passing attempts against VMI for 172 yards.
Woodrum became the most successful freshman quarterback in program history, finishing the year with 1,963 total offensive yards. His 2012 total surpassed the previous record held by Paul Johnson set in 1986 (1,829 yards).
Dutra led the Flames on the day, capping off his career with a seven-catch, 76-yard effort against the Keydets.
Kelly, who missed the last two offensive series for the Flames with an injury, finished his senior year one reception shy of a single-season program record. On the day, he had six receptions for 44 yards, giving him 80 on the year (program record is 81 set by Pat Nelson in 1991).
Kelly did finish his days in a Liberty uniform as the fifth player in program history with 2,000 receiving yards. For his career, the senior had 162 career receptions and 2,107 career receiving yards. His career reception total ranks third in program history and his career yardage total ranks fifth in program history.
Liberty's active career tackles leader continued to finish his career strong, as defensive back Brent Vinson led the Flames in stops for the fourth time in five games. The senior finished the VMI game with seven tackles (five solo, two assisted), completing his days at Liberty with 171 career stops.
Following Vinson on the afternoon was Kenny Scott, who had six stops (four solo, two assisted), and Scott Hyland (three solo, two assisted) and Jibrille Fewell (one solo, four assisted) with five tackles.
Kordenbrock finished 22-34 for 220 yards and two touchdowns, the third game this season in which he has posted at least a 60% completion effort. I n addition to Thompson's effort, Deon Watts had a career-best four catches and Bridge posted a career-high 66 receiving yard
GARDNER-WEBB 21, PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE 15 | BOX SCORE | WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Kenny Little ran for a career-high 172 yards and two touchdowns and Gardner-Webb held on to defeat Presbyterian, 21-15, Saturday in both teams' season finale.
Little's 65-yard touchdown run with 13:33 to play in the game put Gardner-Webb (3-8, 2-4 Big South) up 21-2. After Presbyterian (2-9, 0-6 Big South) rallied to trim the lead to 21-15, Little barrelled four yards on fourth-and-one with 30 seconds left down to the Presbyterian 21-yard line to seal the win.
The Blue Hose got a 23-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Griffin with 11:38 to play in the game to cut the lead to 21-8 and Griffin found a streaking Michael Ruff over the middle for a 49-yard score with 6:15 to play to get within two scores.
Gardner-Webb's next drive stalled and Presbyterian got the football back at its own 36-yard line with 2:38 to play. Sophomore defensive end Shaquille Riddick came up with the defensive play of the afternoon for Gardner-Webb on second down, sacking Griffin on second down and forcing a fumble that Preston Pemasa recovered at the 34.
The Runnin' Bulldogs handed the ball off to Little four-straight plays to salt the game away.
Gardner-Webb jumped on top first with 5:30 left in the opening period, with Lucas Beatty hitting Kenny Cook from 42 yards out. Little added a seven-yard scoring run with 12:53 to play before halftime, but the extra point was blocked and returned by L.J. Perry for a defensive two-point conversion.
Neither team could mount much of a threat the rest of the half, but Presbyterian did drive within field goal range with less than a minute on the clock. Aaron Mayes' 41-yarder missed to the right, however, and Gardner-Webb led 13-2 at the break.
Gardner-Webb posted 442 yards of total offense and 25 first downs on the afternoon, with Little spearheading a ground game that piled up 203 yards on 48 attempts. Little averaged 5.9 yards per carry, totaling more than half (29) of GWU's carries in a workmanlike effort.
Beatty was sharp early, completing 8-of-9 passes for 105 yards and a score in the first quarter. The redshirt sophomore finished by connecting on 17-of-25 passes for 235 yards and a score, hitting Cook seven times for 85 yards.
Demarcus White added a career-high five catches for 70 yards, Deonte Swinton had four catches for 61 yards and Seth Cranfill had a 23-yard catch late in the first quarter. Juanne Blount carried 12 times for 51 yards in support of Little.
Gardner-Webb's defense, playing its second-straight game without All-America candidate Tanner Burch, held Presbyterian to just 30 yards rushing on 26 carries - posting four sacks and nine tackles for loss. The Blue Hose had 282 yards of total offense.
Bradley Taylor led the way with a career-high 13 stops (seven solo) and a tackle for loss. Riddick had a career game as well, totaling 10 tackles (five solo), 2.0 tackles for loss and a forced fumble on his sack. Riddick also had three of Gardner-Webb's seven quarterback hurries.
Pemasa, Maurice Bryan and O.J. Mau also had sacks for Gardner-Webb.
Presbyterian got a career-high passing effort from Griffin, as the youngster completed 22-of-32 passes for 252 yards and a pair of scores. Ruff had nine catches for 109 yards and Anderico Bailey finished with four for 56 yards.
Lance Byrd carried 11 times for 41 yards to pace the rushing effort, which was hampered by 35 yards in losses. Donelle Williams finished with 14 tackles and Joe Wideman had 10 hits and four tackles for loss for the Blue Hose defense.