Football Comes From Behind to Defeat Gardner-Webb 17-14 on Senior Day
CONWAY, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina's football team battled from behind most of the game but pulled out a 17-14 Big South Conference victory over Gardner-Webb on Senior Night at Brooks Stadium, Nov. 10. With the victory, the Chanticleers moved to 4-6 and 2-1 in Big South play, while the Bulldogs drop to 5-5 and 2-1 in league action.
Gardner-Webb took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, covering the 83 yards in 13 plays and 6:11 on the game clock. Quarterback Stan Doolittle connected with wide receiver Dobson Collins for a 16-yard touchdown strike and Taylor Ports' extra point put the visiting Bulldogs up 7-0 early in the game.
Both teams traded numerous possessions through the remainder of the half until CCU was able to get on the board just before the intermission. CCU took the ball with 7:44 remaining in the half and chewed up almost all of it on 12-play, 60-yard drive. Kicker Justin Durham tied his career long by connecting from 44 yards out with 48 seconds remaining to cut the margin to 7-3 at the halftime break.
The Bulldogs scored on their first possession of the second half as well, taking advantage of a Coastal interception to get the ball at CCU's 41. Five plays later, David Montgomery scampered in from 21 yards and the point after pushed the lead to 14-3 with 10:43 to play in the third quarter.
The Chants found the end zone late in the third quarter, as senior wide receiver Jerome Simpson reeled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback William Richardson. This capped an eight-play, 74-yard drive in just three minutes that trimmed the GWU lead to 14-10 with 4:34 remaining in the third.
CCU was back in business after a high snap nearly got away from GWU punter Michael Hanna, but he was unable to get away from converted defensive back Santini Washington, giving the Chants the ball at the Bulldogs' 17. The pair of Simpson and Richardson hooked up again for the eventual game winner, this time a leaping Simpson catch from six yards out to put Coastal up 17-14 with 7:43 remaining.
Gardner-Webb had one last chance after driving the ball on its ensuing possession to Coastal's 27-yard line with just under three minutes remaining. On fourth down, kicker Evan Kay attemped a 45-yard field goal but it was wide left. CCU managed to post two first downs and run the clock out for the win. Coastal had slightly more yards than Gardner-Webb 305-290, though time of possession was exactly even at 30 minutes each. There were just five penalties in the game, all against the visitors for just 35 yards. CCU managed 197 yards on the ground, as compared to just 128 for GWU. The Chants were led by fullback Mike Tolbert with 16 carries for 100 yards, while Simpson finished with five carries for 91 yards and the two touchdowns. Richardson was 8-for-14 for 108 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Washington, who converted to cornerback during the past week of practice, had four tackles, including one for loss and his first career interception in the game.
Montgomery led the visiting Dogs with 18 carries for 72 yards and one score, while Collins finished with six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Doolittle was 15-for-24 for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the contest.
Coastal will wrap up the 2007 season on the road, heading down the coast to take on instate-rival Charleston Southern, Sat., Nov. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for noon with the game being televised on SportSouth. Gardner-Webb returns home to host Liberty at Spangler Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.