Chants blow out Blue Hose, clinch share of BSC crown

ccufoot-backustackleLorenzo Taliaferro broke two more Big South records, Matt Hazel became CCU’s career receptions leader and LaDarius Hawthorne blocked his third field goal of the season to lead #9/11 Coastal Carolina, which set a Big South season record for points at 498, to a 46-13 victory over Presbyterian College Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

The Chanticleers, playing their final regular-season home game and honoring their 2013 Senior Class, improved to 10-1 overall and post a 4-1 Big South season record. With Charleston Southern’s loss to Gardner-Webb, Coastal clinched a share of the Big South championship, its second straight and the third in the last four years. If Liberty beats CSU next week, the Chants will be the sole champions.

This also marks just the second time in CCU’s 11 years of football the program has registered 10 wins, joining the 2004 team that finished 10-1. The Blue Hose fall to 3-7, 1-3. With 46 points, Coastal’s 498 for the season surpassed the Big South record for scoring, bettering the 494 points scored by Stony Brook in 2011.

Taliaferro, a Walter Payton Award candidate, gained 132 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns – all in the first half. Already the Big South single-season leader with 23 rushing scores entering the game, Taliaferro broke Big South records for total touchdowns, now with 24, and points scored, 144.

Hazel hauled in seven passes for 119 yards, his third 100-yard game this season and he now has five of the school’s top 13 all-time single-game efforts. In 45 career games, Hazel sets the CCU career record for receptions, now with 162, bettering the mark previously held by Jerome Simpson, who had 161 receptions in 45 career games.

Hawthorne blocked his third field goal of the season to set a CCU record, one shy of the Big South record of four.

As a team, Coastal totaled 642 yards of total offense, the Chants’ fourth game this season with 600-plus yards of total offense. It is Coastal’s second-best single-game effort all-time, 10 yards shy of the mark set earlier this season at Elon (652).

Coastal took the opening kickoff and scored on a pass play, but a penalty nullified the touchdown and the Chanticleers had to settle for a field goal, which was wide left. However, the Chanticleers forced a punt and Taliaferro continued to plow through the Blue Hose defense, gaining 90 yards on his first seven attempts of the game. Then, from the PC 12, Alex Ross called his own number on a quarterback draw and reached the end zone to give Coastal a 7-0 lead.

Coastal took a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. After a season-best, 53-yard reception by Hazel to the Presbyterian three, Taliaferro reached paydirt, tying two Big South single season records in the process. The senior now had 23 touchdowns this season and scored 138 points, tying Miguel Maysonet (Stony Brook, 2012) on both marks.

The CCU defense forced a three-and-out and, 8 plays later, the offense pushed its advantage to 21-0 as the second quarter began. Ross completed a 17-yard pass to Tyrell Blanks and an 11-yard pass to DeMario Bennett to the PC one. Taliaferro capped the drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone for his second score of the contest.

As the first half drew to a close, Presbyterian was looking to get on the scoreboard with a 37-yard field goal. However, Hawthorne came up with his third blocked field goal. Then, with 1:53 left before the break, Coastal drove 72 yards in eight plays to take a 28-0 lead. During the drive, Ross had completions of 18 yards to Blanks, 17 yards to Bruce Mapp, 12 yards and 15 yards to Blanks, the last going for a touchdown with four seconds left in the half.

Coastal forced a punt on Presbyterian’s first possession of the second half and then went 76 yards in six plays to build the lead to 35-0. Hazel caught three passes on the drive, including a 42-yarder, while Travis Small rushed three times for 25 yards, including a five-yard touchdown.

Freshman kicker Ryan Granger got into the scoring act for the Chanticleers early in the fourth quarter as he booted a 44-yard field goal that made it 38-0. The score capped off an 11-play, 44-yard drive that featured nine rushes.

Presbyterian got on the board on its next drive as receiver Tobi Antigha hauled in an 87-yard touchdown pass from Heys McMath for the longest pass play in Brooks Stadium history.

The Chanticleers answered back with an eight-play, 61-yard drive, finished off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Dalton Demos. Demos, who rushed five times for 32 yards on the drive, then threw to tight end Craig Weick for the two-point conversion that pushed the lead to 46-7 with 8:17 left in the fourth.

The Blue Hose capped the game’s scoring on Antigha’s second touchdown catch of the game, a 15-yarder from McMath with 1:34 to play.

Coastal Carolina will conclude the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 23) at South Carolina. Kickoff is set for 1 pm at Williams Brice Stadium.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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