Scearce, defense lead CCU to victory over Blue Devils

ccufoot-25Coastal Carolina was without injured All-American running back De’Angelo Henderson, but All-American candidate and linebacker Alex Scearce scored twice and was responsible for three turnovers to lead #17 Coastal Carolina to a 33-25 Homecoming victory over Central Connecticut State on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

Scearce had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered a fumble for a second score.

In Henderson’s absence, CCU quarterback threw for 141 yards — completing 7-of-15 passes with two scores — and rushed for a career-high 61 yards on a career-high 11 attempts. However, seven Chants combined to rush for over 200 yards, including 76 from first-time starter Kenneth Daniels and 40 from Wide receiver Ky’Jon Tyler.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively and it was the Chanticleer defense that produced the first points of the game. After a nice punt from Evan Rabon, pinning the Blue Devils on their own eight, CCU senior linebacker Alex Scearce came off the edge, tipped a pass attempt, snatched the ball in midair and returned it four yards for a touchdown.

The pick was Scearce’s fourth interception of the season and his second he has returned for a score. He ties Dominique Davenport (2010) for the CCU record by having two interception returns for TDs in a season.

Coastal’s offense picked up at the end of the first quarter and into the start of the second. The Chants converted a 4th-and-1 and, three plays later, Keane threw a perfect pass down to seem to Bruce Mapp for a 22-yard score. It is the 17th straight game Mapp has caught a pass and the eighth time in his last 11 with a TD.

On the ensuing kickoff, Central’s Drew Jean-Guillaume fielded the ball on the goal line and slipped on the two. Then, on the first play, Coastal’s Myles White forced a fumble in the end zone that Scearce returned for his second TD of the game, third of the season and Coastal’s seventh non-offensive TD this season. (Earlier this season, versus Charleston Southern, Scearce forced a fumble in the end zone that White recovered for a TD.)

The Chants opened the second half couple of first downs, but ultimately had to settle for a 45-yard field goal from Granger to take a 26-3 lead.

The Blue Devils also scored on their first possession of the third quarter as Jacob Dolegala capped a 12-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make the score 26-10. Dolegala also had a 25-yard pass reception to get CCSU into scoring position.

Central drew to within nine points as Dolegala hit Jose Garcia in the flat and out-ran the Chanticleer defense for a 14-yard TD. The extra point made the score 26-17 in CCU’s favor.

Coastal quickly answered with an 8-play, 74-yard drive to go up 33-17. Early in the drive, Keane hit Chris Jones for 17 yards and later the two connected for a 28-yard touchdown.

The Blue Devils came right back to score, taking advantage of a pass interference call and using just 2:41 to cover 69 yards. Dolegala found Joey Fields for a six-yard score. Dolegala then hit Tajik Bagley for the 2-point conversion to cut the Blue Devil deficit to eight, 33-25.

Coastal Carolina will return to action next Saturday (Oct. 29) at Presbyterian College for the Chanticleers’ final road game of the season. Kickoff is set for 2 pm.

Photo by Johnny Gasque/CCU Athletics

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