Chants defeat Richmond to advance in FCS playoffs

CCU_095Four different Coastal Carolina players scored touchdowns and Quinn Backus led a strong defensive performance as the No. 7 seeded Chanticleers scored the first 21 points and rolled to a 36-15 victory over No. 10-seeded Richmond in the second round of the FCS playoffs Saturday at Brooks Stadium.

Coastal (12-1) notched a playoff victory for the third consecutive season and advanced to the third round for the second straight year. The Chanticleers will go on the road to face North Dakota State next week.

Alex Ross threw for one touchdown and ran for another, while completing 22-of-41 passes for 171 yards, while De’Angelo Henderson rushed for 134 yards – his eighth 100-yard plus effort of the year – on 19 carries and had a touchdown for the 13th straight game. Tight end Craig Weick had a touchdown catch and running back Andre Johnson ran for a score to help the Chants build the three-touchdown lead early in the third quarter. Coastal totaled 487 total yards, including 316 on the ground. Johnson added a career-high 58 yards on 13 carries, while Ross had 52 yards and Osharmar Abercrombie chipped in 43.

While the CCU offense scored 36 points, the defense was key to the win. Richmond entered the game first in the NCAA FCS in third-down conversions and ninth in passing yards. However, Coastal held the Spiders to 2-of-13 on third downs and just 216 yards through the air on 14-of-33 passing, through three quarters. Backus led the defense with 10 tackles as well as a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, 1.5 tackles for losses, two pass break-ups and two quarterback hurries. Backus, the NCAA FCS active leader in tackles, moved to 16th on the NCAA FCS all-time total tackles list (433) and into a tie for 11th on the NCAA FCS solo tackles list (239).

Both teams traded punts on their opening drives. After Coastal’s Kamron Summers intercepted a pass on the third drive of the game, both teams missed field goals. However, Coastal finally broke through as Alex Catron drilled a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 1:05 left in the first quarter. During the drive, Ross hit Bruce Mapp for a 26-yard gain to make Ross the school’s all-time leader in passing yards. He passes Tyler Thigpen’s mark of 6,598, set from 2003-06.

Coastal threatened on its next drive, but fumbled inside the Spiders’ five yard line. However, the Chants forced a Richmond punt. Coastal worked its way to the red zone but were forced once again to settle for another field goal, this time a 27-yard Catron kick for a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

With 33 seconds left before the break, Ross found Weick for a 13-yard touchdown. The score was the first of Weick’s career. The Chants then went for a two-point conversion and holder Austin Cain converted for the seventh time in as many tries in his career, his fifth rushing, for a 14-0 Chanticleer lead.

The Chants opened the third quarter with the ball and drove 71 yards in nine plays to take a 21-0 lead. Henderson had four rushes for 37 rushes on the drive, Johnson capped it off with a nine-yard rushing score and Catron added the extra point.

Two plays after the kickoff, the Spiders answered with a 76-yard Michael Strauss to Brian Brown touchdown pass. The two hooked up on the following two-point attempt to cut he Richmond deficit to 13, 21-8, with 11:11 left in the third period.

Coastal wasted little time regaining the 21-point lead. On third and short, Henderson looked stopped at the line of scrimmage, but made a spin up the middle and out-ran the Spider defense for a 50-yard touchdown, his longest rush of the season. The Chants answered Richmond’s two-point play with one of their own. Abercrombie took a direct snap, pitched the ball to Chris Jones on a reverse and he completed a pass to Ross in the end zone to put CCU up 29-8 with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter.

After an exchange of punts, the Chanticleers made it 36-8 late in the quarter on a one-yard rush by Ross that finished off  a nine-play, 61-yard drive that featured seven rushes, including a 30-yarder by Abercrombie.

Richmond got the game’s final score with 2:32 left on a 15-yard catch by Brown. The Spiders, though, were held to just 54 rushing yards by the CCU defense. Denzel Rice and Pernell Williams each added five tackles, while Kamron Summers had the team’s second interception.

Photo Credit: Chuck Silvey

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