Chants off to 5-0 start with blowout win over Phoenix

Coastal Carolina’s Lorenzo Taliaferro rushed for a career-high 205 yards, Alex Ross had 382 yards of total offense while accounting for four scores and the #11/12 Chanticleers (5-0) rolled up a school record 652 yards of total offense in a 53-28 win over Elon (1-4) Saturday afternoon at Rhodes Stadium.

Elon actually led 28-25 with 3:59 left in the second quarter before Coastal scored 28 unanswered, including a TD with 28 seconds left in the first half, to put 50 points on the board for the third consecutive contest. While Elon had 333 yards of total offense for the game, the Chanticleer defense pitched a shutout in the second half, allowing just 78 yards of offense in the second half – 48 in the third quarter and 30 in the fourth.

In addition to setting a CCU single-game record, Coastal has rushed for 300-plus yards in three straight games (339 at Eastern Kentucky, 382 versus Hampton and 355 at Elon) and now has produced five of the school’s top 11 single-game efforts for total offense over the last 10 games.
Over Coastal’s last 12 games, CCU is 11-1 – with its lone loss coming in the second round of the NCAA playoffs last season – and is averaging 42.2 points per game.

Taliaferro rushed 32 times for his 205 yards – 6.4 per carry – and scored three touchdowns. The 32 rushes and 205 yards rank second on the CCU single-game list. For the season, Taliaferro is averaging 6.8 yards per carry – 101 attempts for 691 yards – with 10 touchdowns, which ranks fifth-tied on the CCU single-season list.

Ross was 22-of-29 for 297 yards passing with three touchdowns and an interception. The sophomore also rushed 12 times for 85 yards – 7.1 per attempt – with a score. In Ross’ six career starts (one in 2012 and five this season) CCU has had three of the school’s top five single-game efforts for total offense, including a school-record 652 at Elon today, 631 (3rd-best) at Eastern Kentucky earlier this season and 596 (5th-best) at Gardner-Webb in 2012.

Coastal Carolina took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards to take an early 7-0 lead. Taliaferro scored from 24 yards out to cap the drive. Elon returned the ensuing kickoff to the 25 and got a 15-yard penalty to start from the Elon 40. On the first play, Kierre Brown broke off a 55-yard run to the CCU five. CCU forced a third-and-goal, but a pass interference call gave the Phoenix a fresh set of downs. One play later, Mike Quinn hit Doug Warrick for a two-yard scored and tied the game at 7-7.

The Chants had a near identical drive on its second possession, driving 75 yards and Taliaferro scoring, this time from two yards out. The score was Taliaferro’s ninth of the season to tie Mike Tolbert for sixth on the CCU single-season list. A bad snap on the extra point left the score 13-7.

Elon once again answered, driving 70 yards in 12 plays with Quinn hitting Rasaun Rorie on a six-yard bubble screen for a score. The point after was good to give Elon a 14-13 lead.

On Coastal’s third drive, Bruce Mapp started the drive with a 21-yard reception then converted a third-and-eight with an 11-yard gain. Taliaferro made an impressive 27-yard run and Ross completed the drive with a one-yard TD rush. The two-point try failed to give CCU a 19-14 lead.

After the teams traded punts, Elon regained the lead with 9:57 left in the second quarter. On the second play of the drive, Brown looked to be stopped but reversed field for a 37-yar gain to the CCU 10. Two plays later, B.J. Bennett took the snap in a “wildcat” formation and scored from three yards out.

Undaunted, Coastal bounced back with a seven-play, 79-yard drive. Taliaferro had a 29-yard run and Ross hit Niccolo Mastromatteo for a 15-yard score in the left corner. The two-point try failed and CCU took a 25-21 lead with just over seven minutes to play in the second quarter.

Coastal forced a punt, but two plays later Jonathan Spain picked off Ross at the CCU 24. After a 16-yard rush by Bennett to the CCU two, Quinn hit Zach Duprey for touchdown and 28-25 left in the first half.

Coastal was once again able to respond. Ross took a big hit on third-and-three but managed to find John Israel for a 19-yard gain. Two plays later, Ross found Tyrell Blanks for a 40-yard score with 28 seconds left before the break. Alex Catron’s extra point made the score 32-28 in CCU’s favor.

To start the second half, CCU’s defense forced a three-and-out. On third-and-seven, Ross found DeMario Bennett for a 34-yard gain. Ross then rushed for 10 yards before hitting Bennett in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard score and 39-28 advantage.

Elon’s offense threatened but ultimately was forced to attempt a 34-yard field goal, which missed to the right. Coastal then marched 80 yard in 10 plays. Taliaferro had runs of 10 and 15 yards to get to set a career high of 177 through the third quarter. De’Angelo Henderson capped the drive with a five-yard TD and 46-28 lead.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Taliaferro rushed for 46 yards in a 62-yard drive and scored from three yards out to provide the 53-28 final.

Coastal Carolina will have next week off before returning to action Oct. 12 to host Gardner-Webb at 6 pm.

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