Sep 7, 2013
CONWAY - #22/24 Coastal Carolina used a strong passing attack and capitalized on a number of Furman mistakes to take a 35-28 victory in its home opener in front of a crowd of 8,636. All-American linebacker Quinn Backus led the defense with 15 total stops, an interception and a pass breakup on Furman's final offensive play of the game.
CCU quarterback Alex Ross threw for 245 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while going 17-25. He also rushed for three yards and a score. Senior Matt Hazel led the receiving corps with 77 yards on six catches and also picked up a touchdown on a 24-yard rush.
Senior Lorenzo Taliaferro led CCU's ground game with 56 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown. As a team the Chanticleers rushed for 130 yards and four touchdowns.
The Paladins outgained the Chants 431-375 but two missed field goals, a fumble and an interception thwarted Furman a number of scoring opportunities.
After scoring a game-changing touchdown in the season opener off a blocked field goal, Backus gave Coastal an early boost as he intercepted a Reese Hannon pass on Furman's opening drive. While Coastal got the Furman 12, the drive stalled and Coastal's field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Coastal forced a Furman punt on its next possession, which Niccolo Mastromatteo returned 19 yards. Mastromatteo then caught a 28-yard pass and Hazel would haul in a 13 yarder. Five plays later Ross found Thomas Pauciello in the back on the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Dalton Demos ran in the conversion for two points and an 8-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, JaDamion Ross forced a fumble and LaDarius Hawthorne recovered on the Furman 24 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Ross hit the left edge and lateralled the ball to Matt Hazel, who tight-roped down the left sideline for a 24-yard rushing touchdown. The two-point play failed and Coastal led 14-0.
As the first quarter drew to a close, Furman put together an eight-play, 89-yard drive that covered 4:44. Richard Feacher capped the drive with a 30-yard touchdown to trim the Paladin deficit to seven, 14-7.
Coastal answered with a 75-yard drive. However, the Chanticleers barely converted a fourth-and -inches just inside the Furman three. On the next play, Lorenzo Taliaferro found paydirt from two yards out to give Coastal a 20-7 lead.
Furman looked to answer with points, but a 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. However, two plays later, Jairus Hollman intercepted a pass and returned it 11 yards to Chanticleer 27. Once again, the Chanticleer defense stood strong and forced a field goal, which also was wide left to make the score 20-7 at the break.
Furman capitalized on a Marcus McMorris interception to trim its deficit to six, 20-14, midway through the third quarter. Hank McCloud broke up the middle for a 32-yard gain and later capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown rush.
Undaunted, Coastal bounced back to take a 14-point lead. Mastromatteo had back-to-back receptions of 13 and 15 yards - the first coming on a third-and-six. Taliaferro got Coastal to the one on a 10-yard run and Ross snuck into the endzone for a one-yard rushing score. De'Angelo Henderson ran in the ball to convert the two-point play and give CCU a 28-14 advantage.
The Paladins bounced back on the ensuing drive steadily moving down the field to make it a seven-point game. However, the drive ended with a 23-yard Hannon to Gary Robinson pass. The extra point made the score 28-21.
The back and forth game continued as the Chanticleers answered with a scoring drive of their own and once again owned a 14-point lead (35-21). Henderson had an impressive 12-yard run, John Israel caught a 20-yard pass and Bruce Mapp came up with a diving 19-yard reception. After the Mapp reception from the Furman seven, Henderson rushed six yards before fumbling. However, Tyrell Blanks recovered the ball in the end zone for a CCU score.
Furman once again answered and made the score 35-28. After a holding call and facing third-and-12 from the CCU 27, Hannon hit David Dingess for a 13-yard completion. Two plays later Hannon threaded the needle for a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Culbreath.
Furman had one final drive to try and tie the game, but, much like last week, Colton Blackburn made a big sack on third down to force fourth and long. Backus then sealed the win with a pass breakup with under 1:30 left to play.
Coastal will hit the road the next Saturday and try to improve to 3-0 for the first time in this the school's 11th year of football with a 6 pm contest at Eastern Kentucky.