Coastal got on the board quickly in the first, as quarterback Tyler Thigpen hooked up with receiver Chris Noble on the fourth play from scrimmage for a 54-yard touchdown and Josh Hokes extra point put the Chants up 7-0 just 1:26 into the game. Coastal Carolina then scored on its next possession as well, as running back Patrick Hall capped off a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a six-yard run and CCU led 14-0 just over six minutes into the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hoke hit a high kick into the southwest wind and it fell around Gardner-Webbs 27 yard line, where Anthony Steele recovered it and put Coastal in business again. The Chants then converted it on Hokes 29-yard field goal and CCU was up 17-0 with 7:49 to play in the first.
Gardner-Webb then answered on its next possession, as Harold Wells punched it in from a yard out to finish a 14-play, 65-yard drive and cut the margin to 17-7 late in the first quarter.
Coastal Carolina then put together a long drive of its own on the next possession, going 80 yards in 11 plays. Hall scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out, and CCU was again up 17 at 24-7 with 11:39 to go in the first half.
"Patrick Hall is full throttle in everything that he does," Coastal head coach David Bennett said. "And the credit goes to the offensive line for making those holes."
After an exchange of possessions, Gardner-Webb again got on the scoreboard, as Nick Roberts scooted in from one yard out, and when Hunter Smiths kick failed, the Bulldogs trailed Coastal 24-13 at the intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, Coastal found a way to put the game out of reach. In for the injured Thigpen, quarterback Ren McKinnon sparked the Chanticleers on the ground, scoring from four yards out and giving Coastal a 31-13 lead with just 5:21 to go in the game. The Bulldogs did manage one more score, as Kory Alston caught a 14-yard touchdown from Nick Roberts and with the two-point conversion failing, CCU led 31-19 and ran out the remainder of the clock on its final possession.
"We have confidence in Ren," Bennett continued. "He did a great job today. On the touchdown, his speed outran the defenders to the corner of the end zone. Hes a very mobile quarterback and can throw the football too."