SAVANNAH, GA. -- No. 8/9 Coastal Carolina took advantage of Savannah State miscues early in the game, scoring on three straight possessions and handling the host Tigers, 42-16, Nov. 5.With the victory, the Chanticleers move to 8-1 on the year, while Savannah State falls to 0-9.
Savannah State got the ball first and moved down to the CCU 16, but the Chanticleer defense made a play, as defensive back Quinton Teal (Bennettsville, S.C./Marlboro County) picked off the pass at the six-yard line and returned it to the SSU 20. Three plays later, fullback Mike Tolbert (Douglasville, Ga./Douglas County) busted in from four yards out and Coastal led 7-0 with 8:40 to go in the first.
CCU's defense held and the Chanticleer offense made it happen immediately. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Tyler Thigpen (Winnsboro, S.C./Fairfield Central) threw a perfect post pattern to wide receiver Jerome Simpson (Reidsville, N.C./Reidsville), going 60 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 CCU lead.
Coastal got the ball back again on a SSU miscue, this time an interception by linebacker Jamar Leath (Elon, N.C./Western Alamance). Three plays later, Thigpen and Simpson connnected again, this time on a 12-yard fade route and the Chanticleers had control of the game, 21-0 with 12:46 to go in the half.
SSU finally broke on the scoreboard, mounting an eight-play, 67-yard drivfe over 3:02. Kicker Dalibor Brnada hit just his second career field goal, this one from 31 yards out, and the lead was cut to 21-3 with 9:38 to go.
The Chants again took advantage of a short field following David Parker's (Clinton, Md./Oxon Hill) 21-yard punt return to the SSU 36. Coastal took five plays to go the distance, the last four on Tolbert's second touchdown of the game, and CCU led 28-3 at the intermission.
SSU continued to move the ball in the second half and punched it in the end zone with 1:16 to go in the third quarter. Running back Chadrick Cone dashed in from 29 yards out, capping an 11-play, 71-yard drive, and cutting the lead to 28-10.
Coastal's defense rose to the occasion again, getting on the scoreboard itself. Defensive back Chris Allen (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood) hit Cone at the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble. Linebacker Anthony Steele (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) scooped up the ball rumbled in the end zone from 24 yards out and CCU's lead was back to 35-10 with 8:23 to go in the game.
Cone again found the end zone for the Tigers, getting in from three yards out with 5:21 to go in the game. The extra point was missed, leaving Coastal with a 35-16 lead.
CCU got the final margin on the last play of the game, as Thigpen scrambled in from seven yards out as the clock expired. Kicker Josh Hoke's (Statesville, N.C./West Iredell) sixth extra point made the final margin 42-16.
Coastal was outgained 384-273 in total offense, though the Chants were very balanced offensively. CCU rushed for 137 yards and gained 136 in the air. Thigpen was 11-for-18 for 136 yards and two touchdowns passing, while leading CCU with 42 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Simpson hauled in four catches for 92 yards and a pair of scores.
SSU was led by Cone on the ground with 134 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Garret Williams was 24-for-40 for 288 yards and two interceptions, while wide reciever Clyde Tullis had 12 catches for 162 yards.
Coastal will return to the field, Sat., Nov. 12, hosting Mansfield (Pa.) for Senior Day at Brooks Stadium. The Chanticleers will honor their 10 seniors in a pre-game ceremony with kickoff scheduled for 12:30 p