CCU backs up No. 1 ranking with victory over Monmouth

ccufoot-31monmouthQuinn Backus – 12 tackles and an interception – and Alex Ross – three passing touchdowns and a rushing score – each played prominent roles in #1/2 Coastal Carolina claiming a 52-21 decision versus Monmouth Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium. The Chanticleers improve to 11-0 overall and 4-0 in Big South play, while the Hawks fall to 5-5, 0-4.

Coastal is the only Big South football program to open a season 11-0 and tied the Big South record for consecutive home wins at 13. Also, the Chanticleers tied their own Big South record, set last season, by scoring 30-plus points in 11 contests.

Backus added a 1.5 tackles for loss with a half sack and pass breakup. Ross eclipsed the 300-yard total offense mark for the seventh time this season while throwing his 49th career TD to move into a tie for fourth on the Big South all-time list. Overall, Ross completed 21-of-34 passes for 255 yards and three scores, while adding 14 rushes for 66 yards and a score.

Also having a big day for the Chanticleer offense were De’Angelo Henderson and John Israel, each scoring a touchdown and having over 100 yards. Henderson had 13 rushes for 111 yards, marking his seventh time to reach the 100-yard plateau this season. Israel had eight receptions for 111 yards for his second triple-digit performance of the season and career.

The Chants took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Ross had three completions for 33 yards and three rushes for 14 with Henderson finding paydirt from one-yard out. Henderson has scored a touchdown in all 11 CCU games this season.

After forcing a punt on Monmouth’s first drive, Coastal needed seven plays to cover 64 yards for a second touchdown. The drive looked as if it might stall after a sack and delay-of-game penalty, forcing 3rd-and-14 from the CCU 21. However, Ross dropped a pass over Tyrell Blanks’ left shoulder for a 21-yard score and 14-0 lead.

The Chants made it 21-0 on their third drive. Ross had a pair of completions and rushes for 19 and 17 yards, the second being a touchdown. Zach Silverberg set up the score with a 22-yard rush.

One play after the ensuing kickoff, Monmouth got on the board as Greg DePugh hit Neal Sterling in stride down the left sideline for a 73-yard touchdown.

Midway through the second quarter, Kamron Summers tipped a pass that Quinn Backus intercepted and returned 11 yards to the Monmouth 36. For Backus, it marked his second pick of the season and eighth of the All-American’s career. Five plays later, Ross found Bruce Mapp in the left corner of the end zone for a six-yard score and 28-7 advantage.

The teams traded interceptions to end the first half with Coastal’s Imir Sanders picking off a pass in the end zone on the final play before the break.

However, the Hawks opened the second half with an eight-play, 73-yard drive to cut their deficit in half, 28-14. DePugh completed a 3rd-and-12 with a 12-yard completion to Sterling. Hakeem Valdes added a 13-yard rush and Lavon Chaney capped the drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown.

Coastal answered right back. Henderson had a 43-yard run to get to the Monmouth 19. However, after a sack put the Chants in 3rd-and-17, Israel got behind the Hawk defense for a 26-yard reception form Ross for a 35-14 lead.

Ryan Granger pushed the CCU advantage to 38-14 with just over a minute to play in the third quarter on a 40-yard field goal – his fifth make in five career attempts. As the fourth quarter began, Osharmar Abercrombie put the Chants up 45-14 with a two-yard rushing TD, capping a nine-play, 58-yard drive.

Monmouth took advantage of a Chanticleer miscue to make the score 45-21. On a punt by the Hawks, the Chants muffed the catch and Monmouth recovered. After a trick play to get to the CCU seven, DePugh found Sterling for a seven-yard touchdown pass.

Andre Johnson carried the ball eight times in a 10-play drive that capped the scoring. He finished it with a highlight-reel 15-yard touchdown to give the Chants a 52-21 lead. Johnson looked to be stopped twice on the run but shed at least seven tackles to reach the end zone.

Coastal racked up 506 yards of total offense in the game, with 284 coming on the ground. The Chants defense totaled four sacks, including two by C.J. Thompson, and three interceptions. Pernell Williams and Brett Johnson each added six tackles, while Summers had the one interception and the break-up that led to another.

Coastal Carolina will conclude the 2014 regular-season with a home contest and opportunity to win its third straight conference championship by hosting Liberty at 1 pm.

At halftime, Coastal Carolina recognized its 2014 Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame Class, including Alan Connie (former cross country/track & field head coach), Diana Jepchirchir Mendes (cross country/track &field), Thomas Jordan (track & field), Josh Hoke (football), and Tyler Thigpen (football).

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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