CCU’s last-minute meltdown

After Coastal Carolina went ahead by one point with 1:53 to play, Gardner-Webb benefited from three Chanticleer personal fouls to set up Trever Austin’s game-winning 31-yard field goal, which lifted the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a 26-24 win on Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.

Austin capped a 11 play 54-yard Gardner-Webb drive with a 32-yard field goal to put the visitors up by six with 2:06 remaining.  However, on the ensuing kickoff Tre Henderson streaked 86 yards down the sideline to knot the score at 23-all.  Grant Clayton knocked home the extra point to give the Chanticleers a one point lead at 24-23.  The kickoff return was the longest in Coastal history surpassing Arthur Sitton’s 85-yard return against VMI in 2007.

An excessive celebration penalty after the score moved the kickoff back to the 15-yard line.  A short kicked coupled with a face mask and a late hit against the Chants put the Runnin’ Bulldogs well within field goal range at the 14-yard line with 1:27 remaining.  The visitors ran three running plays to take the clock down to seven seconds before sending Austin in for his game-winning attempt.

Coastal Carolina got on the board first when the league’s leading scorer, Grant Clayton, split the uprights from 42 yards, marking a career-long for the sophomore.

Gardner-Webb answered with a field goal of its own, a 22-yarder by Austin. Key to the drive was a 20-yard Lucas Beaty to Trey Schley completion on third-and-14.

The Bulldogs then took the lead to start the second quarter as Austin converted another 22-yard field goal. The score could have been worse as Garnder-Webb started its drive on the Coastal one. After a 61-yard punt by GWU’s Graham Purvis was downed on the one, Alonzo Winfield forced a fumble, which Devin Johnson recovered, on the first play of the drive. Coastal held the Bulldogs for no gain twice, then Andrae Jacobs dropped  Ricky Rhodes for a four-yard loss, forcing the field goal.

The Chants regained the advantage with a nine-play, 62-yard drive. Facing third-and-13, Hillary found Akeem Wesly for a 20-yard gain. The drive was capped when Hillary lateralled to Matt Hazel, who then completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Wesley. Clayton extra point gave the Chants a 10-6 lead.

Gardner-Webb took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored 48 seconds later, needing just three plays. Rhodes had a 48-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the half and, two plays later, Beaty found James Dugas for a 20-yard score. Austin tacked on the point after for a 13-10 Bulldog advantage.

Midway through the third quarter, Coastal Carolina blocked a Gardner-Webb punt. However, GWU’s Jordan Woods recovered the ball and ran the ball 31 yards for a first down. Richard Jules then reeled off a 30-yard run. Later, one first and goal from the five, the Bulldogs lined up in the “wildcat” and Rhodes threw a five-yard touchdown to Dugas, giving GWU a 20-10 lead.

Backed up on its own seven after a Bulldog punt, Coastal marched 93 yards in 3:10 to trim its deficit to three, 20-17. The Chants took advantage of two pass interference calls, including one in the end zone, and Hillary had completions of 10 and 15 yards to Matt Hazel and Wesley, respectively. After the second pass interference, Travis Small found paydirt on a two-yard from two yards out.

Coastal Carolina will hit the road next Saturday (Oct. 29) to face Stony Brook. Kickoff is set for 4 pm and the game will be available on ESPN3.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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