LYNCHBURG, VA. -- Coastal Carolina's football team was unable to withstand a balanced Liberty offense as the Chanticleers lost to the host Flames 37-24 at Arthur L. Williams Stadium Saturday, Nov. 3. With their five-game Big South winning streak snapped, the Chanticleers now fall to 3-6 on the season and 1-1 in the Big South, while Liberty improves to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Liberty set the tone early with a three-play, 56-yard scoring drive that took 1:22. After a 37-yard rush by Zach Terrell moved the ball to Coastal's 19, Rashad Jennings covered the remaining 19 yards on two plays, going four yards on first down and then added a 15-yard run up the middle for the touchdown. Noah Greenbaum added the extra point to put Liberty up 7-0.
The Flames then took a 10-0 lead with a 22-yard field goal from Greenbaum. Liberty drove 69 yards on nine plays to set Greebaum up for the field goal.
Liberty pushed its lead to 17-0 at 9:20 in the second quarter with quarterback Brock Smith completing a seven-yard pass to Chris Stokes. The Flames covered 70 yards in seven plays during the scoring drive, including a 35-yard complete pass from Smith to Dominic Bolden.
Coastal got onto the scoreboard when redshirt junior Will Richardson found senior Jerome Simpson in the endzone for a nine-yard touchdown. Redshirt freshman Justin Durham converted on the extra point to make it a 17-7 game with 3:39 remaining in the first half. It took Coastal 5:34 to drive down 76 yards on 13 plays.
However, the Flames responded on the next drive. After an intentional grounding penalty that put the ball back at the Liberty 10, Smith connected with Brandon Turner for a 86-yard pass to the Coastal 4. Terrell posted his second touchdown of the game on the following play, but the missed extra point by Greenbaum left Liberty up 23-7 with just under 3:00 in the half. That would be the score when both teams entered the locker room at halftime.
Durham connected on a 38-yard field goal at 12:51 to start the third quarter and make it a 23-10 game. After a 49-yard kick-off return by freshman Eric O'Neal, Coastal got the ball on Liberty 46 and went 25 yards off five plays in 1:56.
Coastal had an opportunity to cut into the lead even more, driving down to the Liberty 11, but a fumble with 10:45 remaining in the third gave the ball back to LU. The Flames took advantage of the miscue, behind the efforts of Jennings, marching up the field 89 yards on nine plays. Jennings accounted for all 89 of those yards and eight plays and Greenbaum converted on the extra point to give Liberty the 30-10 advantage at the 7:33 mark.
Jennings found the endzone for the second time in the third quarter when he ran for the six-yard touchdown with 50 seconds remaining in the quarter. The Flames covered 72 yards off eight plays. Greenbaum added the extra point to give Liberty a 37-10 lead.
Coastal struck first in the fourth quarter when redshirt freshman Sean Fortson connected with Simpson in the endzone for a 27-yard touchdown at 7:56. Durham's extra point kick was good to make it a 37-17 game in favor of Liberty. It took the Chants 3:06 and eight plays to cover the 80 yards for the score.
The Chants added another touchdown with junior Arthur Sitton rushing for one yard with 1:43 remaining. The drive started when junior Clarence Donley blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt by Greenbaum. Junior Warren Jennings recovered the ball at the Coastal 10. The Chants then used 10 plays to cover 90 yards in 3:46. Durham added the extra point to make it a 37-24 game, which ultimately proved to be the final score.
Although Coastal controlled possession of the ball 31:37 to Liberty's 28:23, the Chants had 213 rushing yards off 51 rushes and 102 passing yards. Liberty totaled 262 rushing yards off 43 rushes and had 265 passing yards for 527 yards of total offense to just 315 for CCU.
Senior Mike Tolbert had 13 carries for a team-best 82 yards, while Simpson made six catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns. With 41 career touchdowns, Simpson now becomes the first Big South receiver with 40 or more career touchdowns and continues to lead all active Division I-FCS receivers in that category. Rashad Jennings dominated the running game, rushing for 172 yards off 21 carries and had three touchdowns. Smith went 11-for-15 and threw for 265 yards with one interception.
Coastal closes out its home schedule next Saturday night, Nov. 9, when the Chants welcome Gardner-Webb to Brooks Stadium on Senior Night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.