WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- The Coastal Carolina University football team snapped a two-game slide to start its season by defeating the Monmouth Hawks 26-7 this afternoon, Sat. Sept. 13 at Kessler Field on the campus of Monmouth University. With the win, the Chanticleers are 1-2, while the Hawks fall to 0-3.
On Coastal Carolina's opening drive, the Chanticleers moved the ball effectively down the field to put the first points on the board. During the drive, quarterback Zach MacDowall hit wide receiver Trent Usher on a 1st-and-10 play with a 34-yard strike to the MU 17-yard line. The drive stalled and resulted in a 28-yard Justin Durham field goal that gave the Chants the early 3-0 lead with 8:05 remaining in the first half.
On Monmouth's next possession, quarterback Brett Burke's pass was picked off by Chant Marrio Norman to give Coastal Carolina the ball back on its own 35-yard line. The offense made it count, driving 65 yards in six plays over 2:19. MacDowall connected with wide receiver Jamar Anderson on a 41-yard pass down to the Monmouth 2. On the second goal line play, fullback Vince Starr found the endzone on a 2-yard run to stretch Coastal Carolina's lead to 10-0 with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Monmouth had its first scoring chance of the contest early in the second quarter, but the drive stalled at the Coastal Carolina 26. Trailing 10-0, Monmouth elected to attempt a Fred Weingart 43-yard field goal that was tipped at the line by Marrio Norman, and fell well short.
Coastal Carolina moved the ball on its next drive, but MacDowall was stripped on the MU 3-yard line and the Hawks recovered the ball. Monmouth managed a first down, bringing the ball to its own 20. On the next play, Monmouth tailback Bobby Giles was stripped by defensive end Phillip Oboh, and the fumble was picked up by defensive lineman Robert Balkunas to give the Chants the ball back. Three plays later, MacDowall hit receiver Brandon Whitley with an 18-yard strike in the end zone to extend the Chants lead to 17-0 with 7:32 remaining in the first half.
Following a Monmouth punt, the Chants took over at their own 20 and put together a drive that featured 23 rushing yards by running back Arthur Sitton, a 17-yard catch-and-run by Eric O'Neal and a 19-yard pass to Marquel Willis. Coastal Carolina had the ball at the MU 18 but could not punch it further and settled for a 38-yard field goal by Durham, giving the Chants a 20-0 lead heading into the half.
After being reinstated by the NCAA on Thursday, running back Jamie Fordham made his season debut in the second-half and was a big part of the opening drive. The senior had four carries for 28 yards and two pass receptions for 10 yards on the drive. The carries included a 5-yard touchdown run that that brought the Coastal Carolina lead to 26-0 following a failed point-after-try.
On Monmouth's next drive, Burke threw his second interception of the contest into the hands of defensive back Keon Cunningham, giving Coastal Carolina the ball at its own 43-yard line. The Chants drove all the way to the Hawks’ 1-yard, but the Monmouth defense stopped a MacDowall fourth-down quarterback sneak to take over in the shadows of its own end zone with 14:04 left to play.
The stop on defense turned out to give Monmouth its best drive of the game, driving 71 yards and taking six minutes off the clock. As the case was for most of the day, the Coastal Carolina defense held strong, causing the drive to stall out at the Chants’ 28 on a failed fourth-down attempt.
Following a MacDowall interception, Monmouth took over at the Coastal Carolina 20-yard line. A Bobby Giles 3-yard scamper put the Hawks on the board, but the Hawks still found themselves trailing 26-7 with 5:22 left on the clock.
The Coastal Carolina defense held strong one last time as Monmouth was knocking on the door with less than a minute left. The Hawks had the ball inside the Chant 5-yard line, but were turned away on three consecutive running plays to end the game with a 26-7 Coastal Carolina victory.
Coastal Carolina outgained the Hawks 416-267, despite losing the time of possession battle, 32:57 to 27:03.
MacDowall was solid as the offense’s leader, as the redshirt-freshman was 17-of-26 from 233 yards and tossed a touchdown pass. Arthur Sitton and O'Neal led the ground attack, combining for 92 yards on 20 carries, while Usher grabbed five balls for 80 yards to lead the air attack. On defense, linebacker D.J. Rice had nine tackles, while the reigning Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week Dominique Davenport made eight stops.
Monmouth was led by tailback David Sinisi, who rushed for 79 yards on 21 carries, while Burke was 14-of-26 for 84 yards and threw two interceptions.
The win marks the first time that Coastal Carolina has gotten a victory in the third week of the season in the program’s six-year history.
The Chants return home next weekend for a Sat., Sept. 20 match-up with the Towson Tigers. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Brooks Stadium.