October 15, 2005
CONWAY, S.C. -- No. 15 Coastal Carolina rallied twice in the final quarter, including a 41-yard drive for a game-tying field goal, and earned a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over visiting Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15. With the win in their first-ever overtime game, the Chanticleers moved to 5-1 and 1-0 in the Big South while the Bulldogs fell to 2-4 and 0-1 in league play. Coastal also extended its home winning streak to 10 games, one shy of the Big South record.
The Chanticleers fell behind early as Kory Alston sprinted by the CCU defense for a 51-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 Gardner-Webb lead with 7:52 to go in the first quarter. The drive was 67 yards in five plays in just 1:41.
Coastal responded early in the second, converting a Bulldog fumble into its first points of the game. The Chants marched in from 44 yards out in four plays, with running back Aundres Perkins (Effingham, S.C./West Florence) running over a GWU defender for a four-yard touchdown run to knot the game at seven.
The Bulldogs then ratted off the next 10 points of the game. Hunter Smith hit a 24-yard field goal with 3:39 to play in the first half. Then with just 14 seconds to go until intermission, quarterback Nick Roberts dove in from one yard out to cap a seven-play, 46-yard drive to put GWU up 17-7 at the break.
CCU came out and created its own opportunity to start the second half, forcing a Gardner-Webb turnover to start at the GWU 25-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Tyler Thigpen (Winnsboro, S.C./Fairfield Central) connected with wide receiver Jerome Simpson (Reidsville, N.C./Reidsville) for a 23-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to 17-14.
Gardner-Webb built the lead back to 10, marching down the field 63 yards in seven plays over 2:53. Jermaine Boston rushed in from two yards out and the Bulldogs led 24-14 with 2:05 to go in the third quarter.
The fourth-quarter drama started early in the period, as the Chanticleers motored 91 yards in just six plays. Thigpen and Simpson connecting a second time, this time from 30 yards out, as CCU trailed 24-21 with 14:53 to go in regulation.
In the next possession, Coastal went from even deeper in its own territory, starting at its own four-yard line. It took the Chanticleers 13 plays to go 96 yards, with Perkins covering the final seven for his second touchdown of the contest, and Coastal had its first lead of the game, 28-24, with 7:57 to play.
After trading possessions, the Bulldogs mounted a late drive of their own, going 64 yards in nine plays. Roberts hooked up with Duvaughn Flagler for a six-yard touchdown and GWU led 31-28 with 27.7 seconds to play.
More dramatics ensued for the Chanticleers, with Coastal getting the ball on 31-yard line with 22.7 seconds to play. CCU found a way to work it 41 yards down to the Gardner-Webb 28. Josh Hoke (Statesville, N.C./West Iredell) then hit a 45-yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock to tie the game at 31 and send it to overtime.
Coastal won the flip and went on defense first. Gardner-Webb started at the CCU 25 and had it down to the 14, when, on second down, linebacker Anthony Steele (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) picked off Roberts to end the Bulldogs' drive.
The Chanticleers then started their possession on the GWU 25 and got it down to the Bulldogs' seven yard line in three plays. After another play put the ball in the middle of the field, Hoke strolled on to the field and drilled it through the uprights from 25-yards out and Coastal came out with the thrilling victory.
Coastal put together a season-high 444 yards, including a season-best 251 yards of rushing. Gardner-Webb was fairly balanced, on the offensive end, recording 186 yards rushing and 215 yards passing for 401 yards of total offense. Each team coughed up the ball five times overall.
CCU's Thigpen was 16-for-25 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 29 yards on the ground. Running back Patrick Hall (Richmond, Va./Monacan (Geneva College)) led all rushers with 81 yards on 10 carries, while Perkins added 53 yards on 11 carries. Gardner-Webb was led by Roberts, who was 24-for-36 for 215 yards and one touchdown, and rushed for 54 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Boston was also a key for the Bulldogs with 74 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries and 45 yards on seven receptions.
Coastal will return to the field, Sat., Oct. 22, traveling to Lynchburg, Va., to take on the Liberty Flames. Kickoff at Williams Stadium is set for 7 p.m.