Oct. 19, 2013
LYNCHBURG, Va. - Coastal Carolina erased a 19-point, third-quarter deficit, thanks in part to four touchdowns by Lorenzo Taliaferro, to force overtime. Then, in the second extra period, CCU senior LaDarius Hawthorne blocked a field goal to give the #4/6 Chanticleers a 55-52 double-overtime victory over the Flames at Williams Stadium. Coastal improves to 7-0, 2-0 in the Big South and Liberty falls to 3-4, 0-1.
The win was just Coastal's second in Lynchburg and first since a 27-21 triple-overtime win in 2005. Also, Coastal snapped Liberty's 18-game home conference winning streak, dating back to 2006.
Down eight with 4:23 to go in regulation, Coastal drove 75 yards in nine plays, ending with a 15-yard Alex Ross to Thomas Pauciello touchdown with 46 seconds left. Still down two, Ross connected with Bruce Mapp to tie game. During the drive, CCU was facing fourth-and-four before Ross kept the drive alive with a first down completion to Niccolo Mastromatteo.
In the first OT, Desmond Rice raced 25-yards on the first play and the extra point gave Liberty a seven point lead. Taliaferro had a three-yard run before Ross gave CCU a first down with a completion to DeMario Bennett. Taliaferro took over with runs of seven yards and a final seven yards. Alex Catron added the extra point to force a second overtime.
Coastal had the ball first to start the second OT and Taliaferro picked up seven yards, but could not pick up additional yardage. Catron came on and made a 35-yard field goal to give CCU its first lead of the game, 55-52. Liberty gained four yards on their first play and two on their second. Facing third-and-three, Calvin Hollenhorst sniffed out a screen play and dropped Rice for a four-yard loss to force a field goal and set the stage for Hawthorne's game-winning block.
This marks the second time Hawthorne has blocked a field goal this season. In the season opener, he blocked a South Carolina State field goal and CCU's Quinn Backus returned it 56 yards to tie the game at 20-20. Also this season, Hawthorne has recovered two fumbles and forced another on special teams.
Taliaferro set a CCU season record and tied a single-game record while rushing for at least 150 yads for the fifth time in seven games this season. First, with four rushing TDs, he tied a CCU single-game mark, set by Aundres Perkins in 2004. Also, with four scores today, he now has 17 for the season, which breaks the old mark of 14, set by Perkins in 2003 - the program's first season of football.
Overall, he rushed 26 times for 151 yards and accounted for 175 yards all-purpose yards thanks to three receptions for 24 yards.
Matt Hazel added nine receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns while Ross completed 23-of-36 passes for 286 yards and three TDs. Defensively, Quinn Backus had a team-best 10 tackles, including two for losses.
Liberty took control early, forcing a three-and-out on Coastal's first possession of the game then marched 88 yards in 11 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Josh Woodrum completed 4-of-6 passes for 56 yards and Rice capped the drive with a seven-yard rushing score.
Coastal was forced to punt on its second possession. On Liberty's first play after the punt, CCU freshman Alex Scearce came down with his first collegiate interception to give CCU the ball on the Liberty 49. Two plays later, Ross called his own number and ran 36 yards to the Liberty 12. Taliaferro took over from there, rushing three times with the last being a two-yard touchdown run.
Liberty answered right back to take a 14-6 lead. Woodrum hit Gabe Henderson to a 12-yard gain, Darrin Peterson for 11 yard, Rice for 16 and Henderson for a 29-yard score.
To start the second quarter, Coastal was facing third and two. Taliaferro made a nice cut at the first down marker and gained 15 yards. He then powered his way up the middle for 12 yards before gaining six to the Liberty 34. On the next play, Ross connected with Matt Hazel, who made a player miss, broke a tackle and scored a 34-yard touchdown to make the score 14-13.
Liberty's offense continued to make big plays and took a 21-13 lead with 8:20 left in the second quarter. After a loss of six, Woodrum found Henderson for a 21-yard gain then Dante Shells for 12 yards. Woodrum converted a third-and-two with a three-yard run and backed that up with a 20-yard TD strike to Brandon Apon.
Coastal dodged a bullet, fumbling the ensuing kickoff, but off-setting penalties forced a re-kick. Coastal got the into Liberty territory before Jacob Hagan picked off a pass and returned it 33 yards. Again, Liberty came through with a big play as Rice had a 30-yard run to the CCU three and Woodrum followed with a TD pass to Nicky Fualaau to give the Flames a 28-13 lead.
The teams traded punts, which figured key to the outcome as Liberty used only 28 seconds in their three-play drive and punt. With 59 seconds left before the break and Coastal on its 24, De'Angelo Henderson gained 12 yards on a swing pass and Taliaferro picked up 12 on a completion. Ross then ofund Hazel for 12 yards to get to the Liberty 31. After an incomplete pass and eight seconds left, Catron made is a 12-point game, 28-16, as he made a career-long, 48-yard field goal, also the second-longest in CCU history behind Josh Hoke's 49 yarder versus Delaware State in 2005.
Liberty opened the second half with a 77-yard scoring drive to take its 19-point lead, 35-16. The Flames got a 14-yard gain, a 30-yard gain, a 13-yard gain and a 12-yard gain to get to the CCU eight. Clifton Richardson carried the ball the final eight yards for the score.
Liberty looked to have all the momentum, forcing Coastal to punt on its opening drive of the second half. However, CCU punter Austin Cain shoveled the ball to Andre Johnson, who picked up 25 yards and a first down. Coastal was forced to convert a second fourth down as Ross hit Hazel for six yards on fourth-and-four. Taliaferro followed with a 17-yard run and a five-yard touchdown to make the score 35-23.
The Flames used a trick play on the following drive to go back up, 42-23. After a 27-yard completion, Woodrum pitched to the ball to a running back, who threw back across the field to Woodrum. Woodrum bobbled the ball, but regained his composure and threw a 36-yard completion to Jacquan Glover to the CCU five. Two plays later, Rice scored from four yards out.
Undaunted, Coastal came right back. Ross completed a 46-yard pass to Hazel on the first play and four plays later the two hooked up again for a 13-yard touchdown to trim the CCU deficit back to 12, 42-30.
Coastal's defense forced a Liberty punt to open the fourth quarter - just the Flames' second punt of the night - and CCU marched 60 yards in nine plays to get to within five, 42-37. Ross hit DeMario Bennett for a short completion on third down which turned into a 31-yard gain to the Liberty 14. Taliaferro finished the drive with a nine-yard score.
On the next drive, Liberty's Peterson made an impressive catch for a 45-yard gain on third-and-one. However, the Chanticleer defense would force a field goal and John Lunsford split the uprights from 22 yards out to put the Flames up eighth, 45-37, and set the stage for an exciting finish.
Coastal returns home to face VMI for Heroes on Parade Day Oct. 26 at 6 pm.