Citadel’s last-second kick ends Coastal’s title hopes

ccufoot-citadelThe Citadel’s Eric Goins kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Bulldogs past Coastal Carolina in the opening round of the 2015 FCS Playoffs Saturday at Brooks Stadium.

The loss ends the Chanticleers’ season at 9-3, while The Citadel improved to 9-3 and will face cross-town rival Charleston Southern in the tournament’s second round on Dec. 5

Three Bulldogs — Dominique Allen, Tyler Renew and Cam Jackson — ran for more than 100 yards as The Citadel finished with 524 of its 556 total yards on the ground. Coastal’s Alex Ross finished with 415 yard and three scores through the air, while De’Angelo Henderson rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries.

Ross set CCU single-game records for passing yards (415) and yards of total offense (454) while setting CCU and Big South records with a 91-yard touchdown pass.

The Citadel turned an interception on the third play of the game into a touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead. Kalilk Williams intercepted a pass on third and 12 and returned it 28 yards to the CCU 11. Facing third-and-goal, Cam Jackson reached paydirt from six yards out and Eric Goins tacked on the point after for the 7-0 lead.

Three plays later, Ross connected with Bruce Mapp for a 91-yard touchdown. It marked the longest pass play in both CCU and Big South history (previous CCU long being an 86-yard Ross to DeMario Bennett pass in the 2013 NCAA FCS playoff win at Montana and surpassed the 90-yard VMI pass play from Kyle Hushes to Zach Collins versus Coastal Carolina in 2008). It was additionally the sixth-longest scoring play overall for the Chants.

The Bulldogs answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Tyler Renew finished the drive with a three-yard rush for a 14-7 lead.

The Citadel was driving after a Chanticleer punt, but Calvin Hollenhorst forced and recovered a fumble on the same play. Ross had a 13-yard run during the drive and later hit Craig Weick for a 26-yard TD to tie the game at 14-14.

After The Citadel missed a 47-yard field goal, Ross connected with Tyrell Blanks for 17 yards and, two plays later, Henderson burst up the middle untouched for a 44-yard touchdown and a 21-14 CCU lead. Henderson, who has scored a TD in 26 straight games, moves to third on the Big South all-time lists for both rushing yards and touchdowns.

As the first half drew to a close, Coastal had a short punt, giving the Bulldogs the ball on the CCU 36. The Citadel completed a pass with under 15 seconds to play at the CCU one. The Bulldogs, out of timeouts, could not get its field goal unit on the field in time and time expired in the first half with CCU leading 21-14.

However, The Citadel opened the second half with a touchdown as Dominique Allen capped the 10-play drive with a seven yard rushing TD to tie the contest 21-21.

Coastal, more specifically Henderson, wasted little time to regain the lead. The junior had a 47-yard reception and added a 16-yard receiving TD to once again give CCU a seven-point lead, 28-21. During the drive, Henderson became the Big South’s all-time leading receiver by a running back. He already held the mark for receiving yards by a Big South running back. Also, with his third TD pass in the game, Ross has now been responsible for 91 TDs for his career, surpassing Charleston Southern’s Collin Drafts for the Big South all-time lead.

The big plays kept coming. On the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage after the Henderson score, Jackson found a crease and sprinted down the sideline for a 69-yard gain to the CCU four. Two plays later, Allen scored from one yard out to tie the game at 28-28.

Coastal was threatening to regain the lead, but a Chanticleer fumble eventually lead to a 49-yard field goal from the Bulldogs’ Goins and a 31-28 lead with 13:54 left in the game. Three plays later, Shy Phillips picked off a pass and returned it 32 yards for a 38-28 Citadel advantage.

The Chants quickly moved down the field, thanks to a 42-yard Ross to Chris Jones reception, and Ryan Granger split the uprights from 32 yards out to trim the deficit to seven, 38-31. With the make, Granger has a CCU-record 16 made field goals this season.

Coastal knotted the game 38-38 with 5:38 left. Ross hit Mapp for 16 yards then found Blanks for 33. Facing third-and-three, Osharmar Abercrombie powered his way up the middle for a 16-yard TD.

The Citadel answered with 11 drives to earn a field goal attempted on the 47 but was blocked by Coastal’s Marcus Williamson at the Coastal 30 with no gain. Coastal began their drive start at their own 30 with a pass from Ross completed to Jones for a 14 yard gain. Followed by a three yard pass gain with a Ross to Abercrombie connection. Ross was sacked on the third down for a loss of seven yards and the fumble was picked up by The Citadel’s Mitchell Jeter.

With four plays and a gain of 15 yards, The Citadel had the ball at the Coastal 43. Running the clock down, The Citadel took a time out with two seconds left on the clock and converted for a 43 yard field goal to win 41-38.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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