CONWAY, S.C. In the first-ever football game in school history, Coastal Carolina used a 97-yard drive to score with seven seconds to play to defeat Newberry, 21-14. In front of a sellout-crowd of 7,948, the Chanticleers moved to 1-0, while Newberry, also playing their season opener, fell to 0-1.
In the battle of first-year head coaches, CCU's David Bennett and Newberry's Zak Willis, the Chants got on the board in their first-ever drive on a two-yard touchdown run by Aundres Perkins to go up 7-0 with 6:17 to play in the first quarter. Newberry answered with a 71-yard drive midway through the second, capped by a 22-yard touchdown run by Mike Brown to knot the game at seven. However, the Chants would regain the lead with 27 seconds to play in the half, capitalizing on a muffed punt Mazi Drummond, to score on a 11-yard run by Perkins to lead 14-7 at the intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Indians' Brian Shealy connected with Derrick Higgins for 48 yards and to tie the game at 14 with 12:29 to play. After offensive struggles throughout the remainder of the quarter with no drive of more than five plays, the Chants came up big with the backs against the wall. Pinned on its own three-yard line, CCU ran the ball 11 straight plays and went 97 yards, capped by Eshoun Talley's nine yard touchdown run with just seven seconds to play. After a hail-mary attempt as the clock expired, the field erupted in celebration, including the goalposts coming down in the north end zone.
The Chants dominated the rushing game, going for 172 yards versus the Indians' 88. Coastal running back Aundres Perkins led the ground charge with 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Eshoun Talley added nine carries for 32 yards and a touchdown on the final drive of the game, while CCU quarterback Tyler Thigpen was 10-for-26 for 79 yards. For Newberry, Mike Brown rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries, while Brian Shealy completed 16 of 33 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown. CCU controlled much of the game, posting 21 first downs to the Indians' 10, holding a time-of-possession advantage of over nine minutes, and going 3-for-3 in the "Red Zone".
Head Coach David Bennett Quotes
"It's a win and it's great for Coastal Carolina. This is a gold mine here in the making."
"It's been over a year since I've had the privilege to do a pre-game talk. It was hard to do, as all the players were so excited that they looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I needed the strength not to be emotional in front of this team, but I did tell them that you only get one chance to make a first impression."