CONWAY, SC Coastal Carolina made history by winning the Big South Conference title with a 56-28 victory over visting Charleston Southern, Nov. 20. With the win, CCU becomes the first school in Big South history to win 10 games in a single season, ending the regular season at 10-1, while CSU drops to 5-5 on the season. Coastal also finished the year undefeated at Brooks Stadium with a 7-0 record and ended the year with an eight-game winning streak.
The visiting Buccaneers got on the board first, as quarterback Collin Drafts connected with wide receiver Bryan Meers for a 23-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead with 5:18 to go in the first. The Chanticleers finally got untracked, putting together a 14-play, 76-yard drive, ended by Aundres Perkins three-yard touchdown run and the game was knotted at seven with 4:52 to play in the first half.
The momentum shifted to Coastals side, as the Chanticleers got the ball back with 2:23 to go in the half and made the most of it. CCU went 66 yards in five plays, as quarterback Ren McKinnon connected with wide receiver from 12 yards out and the Chants went into the lockerroom with a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Chants continued the flow on the opening drive of the second half, putting together another long drive of 89 yards in nine plays. Perkins again busted in the end zone from three yards out and CCU led 21-7, just three-and-a-half minutes into the second half.
The Buccaneers started a pattern of alternating touchdowns with CCU, starting with an 18-yard touchdown from Drafts to Harry Seabrook, and the lead was cut to 21-14 with 7:06 to play in the half. However, Coastal had a quick answer, as running back Patrick Hall went a season-best 68 yards on the first play from scrimmage and the Chants were again up by 14 at 28-14. Charleston Southern came back on their next possession, as Drafts connected with a third receiver in David Misher and the Bucs were again within seven at 28-21 with 2:35 in the game.
Coastal came back with another long drive, going seven plays in 84 yards and Perkins scored his third touchdown of the game to again give CCU a 14-point lead at 35-21 with 14:23 to play. After two changes in possession, Drafts threw his fourth touchdown pass of the year, hitting Eddie Gadson for an 18-yard touchdown and it was again a seven-point game at 35-28 with 9:51 to play.
CCU then put the game away with Halls second touchdown, as he scored from 21 yards out to end a seven-play, 69-yard drive in 3:37 and the Chants led 42-28 with 6:04 to play. After an interception by linebacker Jamar Leath put CCU back in business at CSUs two-yard line, Perkins dove in for his Big South record fourth touchdown of the game and the celebration began with Coastal up 49-28 with just under five minutes to go. Coastal added one more, as running back Leonard Atkins got his first career touchdown on a 12-yard run and the Chants were up 56-28 in the victory.
Coastal had a season-high 412 yards rushing, led by Halls 195 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Hall became the first Chanticleer to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, finishing the year with 1,107 yards. He also became the first player in Big South history to record two touchdowns in five consecutive games. McKinnon ran for a career-high 116 yards on seven carries, making it the first time CCU had two players rush for 100 yards in a single game. McKinnon was also 8-for-10 for 79 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Coastal also set several Big South single-season records in this historic year. The Chanticleers set new records for passing efficiency defense, scoring offense (37.5 ppg), scoring defense (16.0 ppg), rushing offense (279.9 ypg), rushing yards (3,079), average per rush (6.0), rushing defense (140.1 ypg) and total defense (313.6 ypg).
Charleston Southern was led by Collin Drafts, who had 272 total yards on the night. Drafts was 17-for-28 for 218 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 54 yards on 12 carries. Travis Mays led the Bucs with 93 yards on 23 carries, while Harry Seabrook led CSUs receiving corps with 118 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
Coastal is eligible for the I-AA playoffs and will see if it receives a bid, tomorrow at 1 p.m.