Coastal Carolina suffers heart-breaker at Arkansas

Coastal Carolina led by 13 to start the fourth quarter and nearly spoiled Arkansas’ Homecoming, but the Razorbacks scored touchdowns with 10:09 and 1:55 left the game for a 39-38 come-from-behind win over Coastal Carolina Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Coastal had a final chance with the ball and just under two minutes to go in the game. However, CCU turned the ball over after four incompletions before Arkansas ran out the clock for the win. The loss sent Coastal to 1-8 on the season, but it was the Chanticleers’ fifth setback this season by less eight points or less.

Tyler Keane got Coastal Carolina on track early, completing 9-of-11 passes for 113 yards and touchdown. However, he was injured midway through the second quarter and lost for the game with a thumb injury. Kilton Anderson came off the bench and CCU hardly skipped a beat. The junior was 6-of-17 passing for 115 yards with two scores.

Chris Jones was the top target, gaining 106 yards on four receptions while Malcolm Williams had a team-best seven catches for 95 yards.

Defensively, Kerron Johnson led the way with nine tackles while Preston Carey had three pass break-ups.

The Chanticleers converted 8-of-15 on third downs and held the Razorbacks to just 3-of-9 on third downs. Coastal also held a 31:02-to-28:58 advantage in time of possession versus a Razorback team that led the SEC in the category.

Arkansas scored on the opening drive of the game. However, during the drive it looked as if Coastal forced a fumble and recovered it only to have the call reversed after replay review. Quarterback Cole Kelly was 4-of-4 passing on the drive and Devwah Whaley scored from five yards out for the early 7-0 lead.

Coastal answered with its best drive of the season, having a season-best 14 plays and used a season-long 7:13, to tie the game at 7-7 on CCU’s first possession. Coastal converted all three of its third downs and Keane was 6-of-8 passing, including a nine-yard touchdown to Omar Black. Keane and Black teamed up to convert the first third down (3rd-and-5), Alex James picked up one yard on a 3rd-and-1 and Jacqez Hairston picked up eight on a 3rd-and-2.

After forcing a punt on Arkansas’ second drive, Coastal put together another impressive drive while taking advantage of three, 15-yard penalties. The big play of the drive was a 43-yard Keane-to-Jones pass. James then capped the seven-play, 88-yard drive with a six-yard rushing TD for the 14-7 lead to start the second quarter.

The lead was short lived. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Kelley hit T.J. Hammonds on a screen pass and he took it the distance for a 60-yard TD. The point after evened the ledger at 14-14.

Midway through the second quarter, Arkansas threatened, but the CCU defense stood strong and forced the Razorbacks to kick a 46-yard field goal to give the home team a 17-14 lead.

As the first half expired, Arkansas attempted a Hail Mary. After two Chanticleers tipped the ball, Arkansas’ Jonathan Nance tipped the ball once and corralled the ball and looked to have scored. However, after replay, it was ruled Nance was down before the crossed the goal line to end the half.

Coastal rode that momentum to start the second half as it had the ball to start the third quarter. Anderson opened the half with a 22-yard completion to Jones. He then found Williams for 40 yards and, later, the two came through with a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 21-17 lead.

Four plays later – and for the second time in as many games, Coastal scooped and scored on a fumble. Nicholas Clark picked up the backwards pass and returned the ball 31 yards for a TD for a 28-17 lead with 10:31 left in the third period.

Undaunted, the Razorbacks marched 71 yards in six plays to cut the CCU lead to three, 28-25. Austin Cantrell had a five-yard rushing TD and Jeremy Patton caught the 2-point conversion for the Hogs, which proved to be key as the game unfolded.

The Chants answered right back. On 3rd-and-2, Anderson found Jones over the middle for a 31-yard gain. The drive stalled Evan Rabon came on and split the uprights from 32 yards out to put CCU up six, 31-25.

As the fourth quarter began, Coastal was facing 4th-and-2 on the Arkansas 26. Osharmar Abercrombie spun his way for two yards to keep the drive alive. Anderson scrambled for a first down and later hit Jones for a 10-yard TD. Jones made a nice move with the ball to stretch it across the goal line before going out of bounds for the score and 38-25 cushion.

Arkansas was given new life thanks to an 88-yard touchdown run by Hammonds, the longest rushing TD Coastal has ever allowed, and cut the Chant lead to six, 38-32.

Down six, the Razorbacks started their final drive with 7:49 left in the game. They worked their way down the fiield and milked nearly six minutes off the clock, capping an 11-play, 76-yard drive with a one-yard QB sneak by Kelley. The extra point put the Hogs up one, 39-38, which proved to be the final score.

Coastal Carolina will return to Brooks Stadium to host Troy next Saturday (Nov. 11) with kickoff set for 4:30 pm.

Photo Courtesy of CCU

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