Chants shot down by Flames

Liberty took advantage of turnovers by No. 20 Coastal Carolina on the Chanticleers’ first two possessions of the game to jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back for a 63-27 Flames’ victory Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium.

Coastal (4-2, 1-1 Big South) rallied midway through the game, but the Flames (4-2, 2-0) answered two third-quarter Chanticleer touchdowns with two of their own to put the game out of reach.

In the loss, Coastal Carolina senior Josh Norman had two pass break ups, giving him 32 for his career to become the school’s and Big South’s all-time leader in the category. Former Chant Quinton Teal previously held the mark with 31.

Liberty took the opening kickoff and scored two plays later. Sirchauncey Holloway had a 59-yard run from scrimmage on the first play and quarterback Mike Brown had a five-yard rush for a score, putting Liberty up, 7-0, 21 seconds into the game.

Coastal fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, but the Chanticleer defense would hold the Flames and force a punt. In fact, Norman broke up a pass on third down to force the punt. With that, Norman tied Teal’s mark.

However, Coastal was flagged for roughing the kicker on the punt, allowing Liberty to keep possession. Brown would get a 14-yard run to the CCU 11 to keep the drive alive. Two plays Aldreakis Allen scored from six yards out for an early 14-0 Liberty lead.

Coastal’s offense began to click, but a fumble near midfield gave the Flames back the ball. Liberty nearly turned the ball back over on a halfback pass as Norman was unable to hang on to an apparent interception, which would be scored a pass break up for the out-right CCU and Big South records. Liberty took advantage of the break as Allen broke a 14-yard run and Brown threw a 20-yard completion to Tommy Shaver. After three attempts from inside the CCU five, Brown ran the ball in on fourth-and-one for a 21-0 lead.

After a Coastal punt, Liberty expanded its lead to 28-0. Thanks to a 35-yard, Brown to Chris Summers pass on third down, Liberty would eventually score on a two-yard Allen run. A third Coastal fumble near midfield set up Liberty’s fifth score of the first half. After converting a fourth-and-one from the CCU three, Desmond Rice had a one-yard run, putting the Flames up 35-0.

With 3:16 left in the first half, Brown found Peter Gagliardi for a 32-yard touchdown pass to give the Flames a 42-0 lead.

Prior to the break, Coastal marched 68 yards in 11 plays to make the score 42-7. During the drive, Matt Hazel kept Coastal moving, catching a deflected pass across the middle for a first down. Aramis Hillary would cap the drive with a 20-yard strike to Chris Presley.

Early in the third quarter, Coastal got on the board again. Hillary hit Adrian Sullivan for a short pass and Sullivan out-ran the defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing Liberty drive, Marcus Lott, who led the team with 10 tackles, forced a fumble, which freshman Quinn Backus recovered. Two plays later, DeMario Bennett took a handoff and threw a 32-yard touchdown to Hazel, who made an impressive leaping catch for the score. Grant Clayton’s extra point made the score 42-21 in the Flames’ favor.

Liberty regained the momentum, taking advantage of a CCU personal foul to get to the Coastal 22. After a 16-yard run by Allen, Rice capped the drive with a one-yard score. Liberty’s defense forced Coastal’s offense to a three-and-out. After the Chanticleer punt, Brown completed an 18-yard pass and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Pat Kelly for a 56-21 LU advantage.

On Coastal’s next drive, which ended in a punt, Liberty’s Ryan Ferguson blocked the punt and Bobby Partillia recovered it in the endzone, putting Liberty up 63-21.

Coastal tacked on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. After recovering a muffed punt on the Liberty 10, and facing fourth-and-one from the one, Cody Craig threw his first career TD, hitting Bennett for his first collegiate touchdown. The point after was blocked, proving the 63-27 final.

Offensively, Hillary completed 18-of-27 passes for 207 yards and two scores. Hazel finished with six receptions for 90 yards. For Liberty, Brown was 13-of-17 passing for 218 yards and two TDs, while he rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries.

Coastal Carolina will return to action next Saturday (Oct. 22) at 7 pm, hosting Gardner-Webb.

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