Coastal Carolina falls at ODU in second round of NCAAs

Coastal Carolina and #4 seeded and third-ranked Old Dominion were tied at 35-35 late in the third quarter before the Monarchs pulled away for a 63-35 victory in the second round of the NCAA Championship, played Saturday at ODU’s Foreman Field at Ballard Stadium. Coastal Carolina ends the season with an 8-5 record, while Old Dominion improves to 11-1.

A career day by Coastal Carolina’s Matt Hazel was spoiled by an even better day by Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke, one of three finalists for the top award in FCS football – the Walter Payton Award.

Heinicke completed 32-of-44 passes for 497 yards with six touchdowns. He added two rushing touchdowns. Heinicke’s total is the most by a CCU opponent and the 672 yards of total offense is the most a CCU opponent has gained.

Hazel’s day included a career-high nine receptions for a career-high 155 yards, the third-best single-game total in CCU history. Also, with nine receptions, Hazel has 61 for the season, tying the CCU single-season mark. Aramis Hillary completed 21-of-39 passes for 352 yards with two interceptions and three touchdowns. His 352 passing yards ranks fourth on the CCU single-game list, missing his career high by one yard. The senior added 45 rushing yards, despite being sacked six times behind a banged up offensive line, with a rushing TD. Jeremy Height gained 89 yards on 12 carries (7.4 average) and Niccolo Mastromatteo added four receptions for 71 yards.

All told, Coastal piled up 540 yards of total offense, the ninth-best single-game total in CCU history.

Coastal Carolina took the opening kickoff and scored in seven plays. Key plays in the drive included a 29-yard reception by Hazel and a 28-yard run by Height to the ODU three. On the next play, Hillary capped the drive with a three-yard run for the early 7-0 lead.

Old Dominion responded and was aided by a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff allowing its drive to start near midfield. Tyree Lee had a 21-yard run to the CCU 11. Facing fourth-and-one on the CCU two, Heinicke completed a two-yard pass to Blair Roberts to even the score at 7-7.

After an interception and a sack that backed ODU inside its own one yard line, Heinicke completed a 13 yard pass on third and eighth while the Monarchs chipped away. Heinicke gave his squad a 14-0 lead with a seven-yard scramble and touchdown run. After another interception, Old Dominion drove 48 yards in eight plays with Heinicke again scrambling and scoring, this time from eight yards out for a 21-7 Monarch advantage.

Coastal’s offense got back on track thanks to a 27-yard run by Jeremy Height and a 24-yard reception by Mastromatteo. On third-and-five from the ODU 14, Hillary hit Hazel on a quick screen and center Pat Williams led the way for the 14-yard score, trimming the CCU deficit to seven, 21-14.

Midway through the second quarter, Coastal forced ODU’s first punt. Coastal struggled early in the drive but Hillary found Height for a short pass, which Height turned into a 59-yard gain to the ODU four. The completion was the 10th-longest pass play in CCU history and Height’s longest gain ever. Four plays later, facing fourth-and-one, Hillary hit Hazel in the right-corner of the end zone to tie the game at 21.

The Monarchs wasted no time to regain the seven-point lead, scoring in three plays. Lee had a 28-yard rush, a three-yard rush and Heinicke hit Roberts on a 35-yard touchdown to take a 28-21 lead with 3:28 left. Coastal quickly marched down the field, as Mastromatteo had a 26- and 19-yard reception and Hazel to the ODU three. Coastal had three tries of which two plays were penalties on Old Dominion. With five seconds left inside the ODU one, it was ruled that Coastal fumbled and ODU recovered to end the half.

Old Dominion got the ball to start the second half. Heinicke just got off a pass before being sacked, hitting Larry Pinkard for a short pass who turned it up field and out-ran the defense for a 50-yard score. The point after gave the Monarchs a 35-21 lead.

Coastal answered to make the score 35-28. Hazel had two key receptions, one for 23 yards and one for 22, before Hillary hit DeMario Bennett for an 11-yard touchdown. Three plays later, last week’s defensive hero, Johnnie Houston forced a fumble that Dontavais Johnson recovered. Hazel got CCU down to the 22 after catching his ninth pass of the game, which was his 61st of the season to tie a CCU single-season record. Three plays later, Travis Small burst through the middle for an 18-yard score to tie the game at 35.

The high-powered Monarch offense quickly regained the lead. Antonio Vaughn had back-to-back receptions of 24 and 39 yards to the Coastal eight. On third down, Heinicke found Pinkard in the left end zone to go up 42-35 with 1:01 left in the third quarter. After a Coastal punt and the first play of the fourth quarter, Heinicke hit Pinkard for a 73-yard score and a 49-35 ODU lead. ODU held Coastal on a fourth down and took over on the 50. The Monarchs would take a three-score lead, 56-35, after a 13-yard Heinicke to Nick Mayers completion. Colby Goodwyn tacked on a five-yard rush with 6:37 left to provide the 63-35 final.


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