CONWAY, S.C. -- In one of the coldest games in program history, the Coastal Carolina University football team struggled to find the end-zone and dropped a 24-0 in the regular season finale against in-state rival Charleston Southern, tonight, Sat., Nov. 22 at Brooks Stadium. With their first-ever shutout loss, the Chanticleers finish the season at 6-6 and 1-4 in the Big South Conference, while the Buccaneers wrap up the year at 7-5 and 3-2 in the league.
The first half was a scoreless affair, with the Chanticleers having the best opportunities and dominating the time of possession, holding the ball more than 20 minutes. However, Coastal Carolina missed a pair of field goal attempts, including the last with just over a minute to go in the second quarter.
Charleston Southern put points on the board on its first drive of the second half after getting the ball on its own 16 on the opening kickoff. The Bucs marched 84 yards in just six plays, capped off by quarterback Tribble Reese hitting tight end Tyrese Harris with a 17-yard touchdown pass. The point after attempt was muffed, leaving the score 6-0 with 11:16 remaining in the third.
After a missed field goal on its second possession, CSU again mounted a 10-play, 80-yard drive and found the end zone again. This time, Reese hit Markus Murry with a 21-yard touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone to go up 12-0. The Bucs went for two and converted with Reese again finding Murry in the end zone, making it 14-0 Charleston Southern with 1:19 to go in the third.
A Coastal Carolina fumble gave CSU the ball at the Chanticleer 9-yard line and the Bucs again put points on the board. The defense held them out of the end zone, forcing a 26-yard field goal by John Paglia to go up 17-0 with 13:54 to go in the contest.
The Bucs sealed the win after capitalizing on another Chanticleer turnover, this time getting the ball at the Coastal Carolina 28. On the first play of the drive, wide receiver Gerald Stevenson picked up the ball on a trick play and scampered the distance for the touchdown, with Paglia's PAT making it 24-0 with 8:07 remaining.
Six turnovers (three fumbles and three interceptions) were significant for the Chants, as well as the lack of offense in the second half without quarterback Zach MacDowall, who was injured in the first half. The Chants managed just 95 yards of offense in the second half, including five of the six turnovers. Coastal Carolina still held the advantage in yards gained, 276-235, but the Bucs held the ball for over 20 minutes of the second half.
Due to the injury, Coastal Carolina utilized three quarterbacks, who combined to go 21-of-30 for 180 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. MacDowall was 8-of-8 for 80 yards before being forced to leave the contest in the first half. Running back Eric O'Neal led the ground game for the Chants with eight carries for 44 yards, while wide receiver Brandon Whitley had five receptions for 35 yards.
Charleston Southern was led by Gerald Stevenson's 10 carries for 63 yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Tribble Reese was 11-of-18 for 82 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.