Coastal Carolinas football team struggled on both sides of the ball in the early going, but made it happen in the second half for a 48-23 victory over visiting Jacksonville, Nov. 13. CCU moves to a school-record 9-1 on the season, while the Dolphins end their season at 3-7. Coastal also is now 6-0 at Brooks Stadium in 2004.
Jacksonville made its presence felt early, as quarterback Chris Horton connected with Nathan Conner for a 19-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Dolphin lead just over four minutes into the game. JU added a safety just a minute and a half later, as quarterback Ren McKinnons (Charlotte, NC/West Charlotte) pitch to running back Patrick Hall (Richmond, Va./Monacan (Geneva College)) went awry and Hall fell on it in the CCU endzone, giving the Dolphins a 9-0 lead.
CCU got itself on the scoreboard, as Hall went 37 yards to cap off a quick four-play, 50-yard drive and cut the Dolphin lead to 9-7. The Chanticleers then took the lead on a 27-yard field goal by sophomore Josh Hoke (Statesville, N.C./West Iredell), as CCU led 10-9 with 14:49 to go in the first half.
After several possession changes, Jacksonville put together a drive, going 79 yards in 12 plays over 5:09. Wide receiver Eldin Ferguson hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Anthony Salgado and the extra point gave the Dolphins a 16-10 lead that they took into the halftime lockerroom.
The Chanticleers received the second half kickoff and came out with a vengeance, as sophomore David Parker (Clinton, Md./Oxon Hill) returned the kick a school-record 82 yards to the JU 14-yard line. On the second play, McKinnon rushed in from 11 yards out, and Coastal had a 17-16 lead it would never relinquish.
The opening of the third quarter turned out to be an indicator of the surge of the Chants, as CCU scored 31 unanswered points in the period, the second-highest single quarter total in school history. Running back Aundres Perkins (Effingham, S.C./West Florence) scored on a nine-yard run to make it 24-16 with 10:51 to go in the quarter. Then the unlikely occurred, as defensive lineman Sam Harper (York, S.C./York) stripped Salgado of the ball and rumbled the 19 yards to the end zone for his first career score and a 31-16 CCU lead with 5:46 remaining in the third.
Following Hokes 24-yard field goal less than four minutes later, defensive lineman Kelvin McIver (Oakland, Calif./Bishop (St. Marys Coll.)) forced another fumble by Salgado, which Harper then recovered on the JU 7. Hall then took it in on the first play and pushed the margin to 41-16 with 45 seconds to go in the third.
Jacksonville kept attacking and Salgado eventually connected with Edrian Rogers for a 35-yard touchdown and the gap was 41-23 with 6:59 to play in the game. JU tried an onside kickoff, but CCUs Santini Washington (Jonesboro, Ga./Lovejoy) snagged it out of the air and returned it 45 yards to the Jacksonville seven-yard line. From there, Perkins finished it off with a one-yard dive and the Chanticleers up 48-23.
Hall led all rushers with 157 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, setting a new single-season rushing mark for CCU with 912 yards. He also became the first running back in Big South Conference history to record two touchdowns in four consecutive games, dating back to the Liberty game on Oct. 23. Perkins also had a pair of touchdowns, as he tallied 58 yards on nine carries. Linebacker Maurice Simpkins (Leesville, S.C./Batesburg-Leesville (Catawba)) led CCU with 13 tackles, while Harper recovered a school-record three fumbles on the day, leading to 14 points for the Chants.
Jacksonville outgained Coastal, 368-333, but struggled in the second half with just 111 yards of offense. The Dolphins also committed six turnovers, leading to 17 Coastal points. Salgado finished the game going 14-for-34 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Jerry Brant had 87 yards rushing on 16 carries for the Dolphins, while Ferguson led all receivers with 83 yards on four receptions and a touchdown.
Coastal Carolina plays its final regular season game of the year, Sat., Nov. 20, hosting Big South rival Charleston Southern for a 7 p.m. kickoff. CCU won last years meeting in Charleston, 48-14. This years game, which is being televised as part of the Big South Conferences television package, has greater meaning. If Coastal defeats the Buccaneers, the Chanticleers will cap off a perfect season in the Big South and claim the outright league title in just their second year.