Late surge helps Chants pull away from pesky Bulldogs

ccufoot-31De’Angelo Henderson rushed for 136 yards and two scores, while Chris Jones had a career-high six receptions for 96 yards, to lead #1/2 Coastal Carolina to a 31-17 decision versus Bryant Saturday night at Brooks Stadium. For the second consecutive week, Coastal played before a capacity crowd, matching its attendance of 10,311 set last week.

The Chanticleers and Bulldogs were deadlocked, 17-17, in the first half, despite Bryant’s 256 yards of offense compared to CCU’s 179. However, the Chanticleer defense held Bryant to under 200 yards in the second half and no points, while Coastal got second-half rushing TDs from Henderson and Osharmar Abercombie to secure the win.

Alex Ross completed 19 of his 24 attempts for 212 yards and added a touchdown on a 12-yard pass to Bruce Mapp. Mapp followed Jones with five receptions that totaled 37 yards. Ross’ longest pass of the night found Jones for 38 yards.

Bryant took the opening kickoff and took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 39-yard Ricky Perez field goal.

The Bulldogs forced a Chanticleer punt on their first drive and, facing 3rd-and-6, Dalton Easton hit Matt Sewall on a post pattern for a 50-yard score and 10-0 advantage.

The Chants cut into their deficit with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Coastal was the beneficiary of a personal foul to keep the drive alive and, two plays later, Ross found Bruce Mapp for a 12-yard touchdown. Ryan Granger added the point after to make the score 10-7.

Coastal Carolina’s defense forced a punt on Bryant’s third drive. From that point Henderson took over, accounting for all four plays and 64 yards in the drive. He had a career-long, 59-yard run to start the drive, followed by runs of three, one and one, the last being a score for his 18th consecutive game with a touchdown – all rushing – to tie a Big South record. Henderson scored at least one TD in all 14 games of the 2014 season and each of the first four games this season. (Liberty’s Zach Terrell also scored a TD in 18 consecutive games, all rushing as well, from 2006-08.)

The Chanticleer defense forced a quick three-and-out on Bryant’s next possession, and the Bulldogs only managed a 22-yard punt that CCU took near midfield. Coastal got as far as the Bulldog seven yard line, but back-to-back penalties forced CCU to settle for a 42-yard Granger field goal and 17-10 lead.

With 3:55 left in the first, Bryant drove 80 yards in 10 plays to tie the game at 17-17.Ricardo McCray started the drive by breaking several tackles for a 24-yard gain. Later, facing 3rd-and-goal, McCray found Paydirt from five yards out to tie the game 17-17.

Henderson gave Coastal a 24-17 lead with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter. He rushed nine times for 47 yards in the 12-play, 89-yard drive, including a 20-yard gain to put him over the 100-yard barrier for the 13th time – fifth in Big South history – and over 2,640 rushing yards – sixth on the league’s all-time list. His last rush, a one-yard leap into the endzone, gave him two scores for the game and 32 for his career – fourth on the Big South all-time list.

Bryant’s drive at the start of the fourth quarter stalled on a fourth-and-six play after Marcus Williamson was credited with a quarterback hurry on Easton, forcing an incomplete pass and turnover on downs. Coastal gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs on its next possession, however, after Henderson fumbled on Bryant’s 39-yard line. The Bulldogs drove to Coastal’s 16, but a 3rd-and-7 pass attempt fell incomplete, and Bryant had to settle for a field goal attempt. The 33-yard attempt was blocked by Marcus Williamson, and gave the Chants the ball at their own 20.

Coastal’s final scoring drive began on its own 20-yard line with just under nine minutes left in the game. Henderson rushed twice as the Chants neared midfield before Abercrombie took over in the backfield. Ross hit Jones on back-to-back passes that totaled 26 yards before Abercrombie finished the drive with a 22-yard scamper into the endzone.

Bryant’s last drive of the game consumed the final 2:11 of play. The Bulldogs advanced the ball as far as Coastal’s 13-yard line before Roderick Holder sacked Easton as the clock hit zeroes.

Coastal Carolina will play the third of its four-game home stand next Saturday. The Chanticleers will host Alabama A&M at 6 pm as part of CCU’s Homecoming.

Photo by Johnny Gasque/CCU Athletics

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