CCU comeback falls short behind MB product Keane

ccufoot-13keaneCoastal Carolina lost starting quarterback Josh Stilley early in the second quarter, but junior Tyler Keane led the 17th-ranked Chanticleers to back-to-back touchdowns and a 26-20 lead in the fourth quarter. However, #4 Jacksonville State scored with 6:44 left in the game and held on for a 27-26 win in a wild Saturday afternoon contest at Burgess-Snow Field.

With CCU down one, Coastal was driving before fumbling on the JSU 40. Four plays later, Coastal linebacker Alex Scearce recorded a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery all at once to give the Chants the ball on the JSU 41 with 3:56 left.

The Chants were unable to get a first down and its 51-yard field goal came up short with 2:27 left. Coastal forced a JSU punt and took control with 20 seconds left on its own 27. A 14-yard Keane-to-Osharmar Abercrombie completion gave Coastal the ball on the CCU 41. A final desperation play had an inadvertent whistle on what appeared to be a final snap and gave Coastal one untimed play. However, Jacksonville State sacked Keane to preserve the one-point win.

Coastal was forced to play four quarterbacks in the game as Stilley was injured early in the second quarter. Freshmen Austin Bradley and Avery McCall as well as sophomore Keane all took turns as the Chanticleer signal-caller the remainder of the game. Prior to leaving the game, Stilley was 7-for-10 for 132 yards and a 72-yard touchdown.

Keane completed 8-of-15 passes for 140 yards with a passing touchdown and passing 2-point conversion. Bruce Mapp was the top target for Keane and Stilley, getting four receptions for 140 yards.

Despite his struggles on ground, De’Angelo Henderson extended his NCAA Division I streak by scoring a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Henderson only had 48 rushing yards on 20 attempts. However, he had four receptions for 68 yards, including a 49-yard reception, for 116 all purpose yards.

The game opened with Jacksonville State’s Reggie Hall taking the opening kickoff five yards deep in the end zone and returning it 44 yards. A pass interference call against CCU got the Gamecocks to within scoring range. However, the Chanticleer defense stiffened and forced a 41-yard field goal attempt. CCU redshirt freshman Myles White pushed his way through the middle to block the attempt.

Coastal took advantage of two penalties during a 10-play drive, but ultimately had to settle for a field goal. Ryan Granger’s 49-yard attempt bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights to give CCU a 3-0 lead with 8:19 left in the first quarter.

The Gamecocks quickly answered with a seven-play scoring drive. JSU quarterback Eli Jenkins hit Demontez Terry for a 44-yard touchdown to put the hosts on top 7-3 with just over five minutes left in the opening period.

Both teams traded punts with both facing 4th and less than a yard. After JSU’s punt early in the second quarter, the Gamecocks were called for kick catch interference. One play later, Stilley hit a streaking Mapp in stride down the left hash mark for a 72-yard touchdown and a 10-7 lead. The pass was the 17th, one-play drive in CCU history and the fourth-longest, one-play drive in CCU history. Also, the 72-yard completion is the eighth-longest pass play in CCU history while standing as the seventh-longest passing TD in school history.

On the ensuing Jacksonville State drive, Coastal forced a punt deep the JSU territory. Jarius McMilan broke through the line to block the punt, which rolled through the back of the end zone for a CCU safety and 12-7 lead.

With just over four minutes left before the break, Jacksonville needed just four plays – and a CCU pass interference call – to cover 72 yards for a score. Josh Clemons covered the final 11 yards for the rushing touchdown. The extra point missed and the Gamecocks led 13-12.

On JSU’s second drive of the third quarter, Jenkins had a 22-yard run and later connected with Terry for a 40-yard score to give the Gamecocks a 20-12 lead.

Coastal cut its deficit to two, 20-18, thanks to a Henderson touchdown. The Chants had good field position after a 17-yard JSU punt, taking over on the Gamecocks’ 40. Keane hit Mapp for 17 yards to start the drive. Henderson then had a 19-yard run, followed by a four-yard rushing score. The 2-point attempt came up short to keep it a two-point deficit.

Coastal’s defense forced a turnover on downs near midfield. From there, Keane took over. Under heavy pressure, found Mapp over the middle for 16 yards to start the drive. He then connected with Devin Brown for 27 yards. Two plays later, again under heavy pressure, threaded the needle to Laquay Brown for a nine-yard score. The TD reception was the first time the sophomore had caught a pass for CCU. Keane then connected with Chris Jones on a quick slant for the 2-point conversion and 26-20 lead.

Despite a good punt that backed JSU up to its own 13, Jenkins led his squad to an 11-play, 87-yard drive to put the Gamecocks up one, 27-26. Jenkins made several keys runs in the drive, including a 14-yard score.

Undaunted, Coastal got to the JSU 36 in just two plays, thanks to a 30-yard Keane to A.J. Sattinger completion. However, a fumble on the following play set up the back-and-forth ending.

Coastal Carolina will return home to host Furman next Saturday at 6 pm for Coastal Carolina’s Family Weekend.

Photo by Johnny Gasque/CCU Athletics

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