Ross’ record night propels No. 3 Chants past Phoenix

ccufoot-4runAlex Ross threw two touchdowns and ran for one,  set the school record with 34 completions and tied the single game mark with 47 attempts while compiling a school-record 426 yards of total offense to lead #3 Coastal Carolina to a 31-3 victory over Elon Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.

Ross threw for 338 yards and added 88 rushing yards. In his 18th career start, he had his eighth career 300-yard game but first at home and now ranks fourth on the Big South all-time list with those eight single-game efforts, with the conference record being 15. Additionally, his 56 total plays in the game rank third on the CCU all-time list.

The 47 pass attempts tied the total of Aramis Hillary against Toledo in 2012. He nipped Tyler Thigpen’s total offense mark of 425 from 2006 and surpassed the 30 completions of Hillary, also in that Toledo game.

Meanwhile, Coastal’s defense held its opponent to just three points for a third consecutive game, becoming the first team in Big South Conference history to accomplish the feat. The nine combined points also sets a program record for fewest points allowed in a three-game stretch. The Chanticleers totaled 10 pass breakups, the third-most in school history and were once again led by Quinn Backus. The senior linebacker recorded 13 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and one sack, along with two breakups.

Overall, the Chants blew open tight game in the second half to stay perfect on the season at 5-0. After Elon kicked a field goal to make the score 10-3 with 10:20 left in the third quarter, Coastal scored 21 unanswered points on three consecutive drives – two Ross touchdown passes and a 24-yard TD run – to lead 31-3 with 5:47 left in the game.

After missing a field goal on the game’s opening drive, Coastal Carolina’s defense quickly forced a punt and the Chanticleer offense needed just 37 seconds to cover 62 yards. First, Ross hit Tyrell Blanks for 19 yards, followed by a 15-yard personal foul on Elon. De’Angelo Henderson took over from there with a 19-yard run and a nine-yard touchdown run. Alex Catron added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

The defenses dominated for the rest of the first half and Elon missed a pair of field goals. After the second miss, Coastal drove 49 yards in 1:24 with Catron splitting the uprights from 29 yards out for a 10-0 Chanticleer lead at halftime.

Elon converted a turnover early in the third quarter into a 19-yard field goal by John Gallagher to cut the Phoenix deficit to seven, 10-3. The field goal allowed by Coastal were its first points conceded since Florida A&M kicked a field goal on its opening drive the previous week, a span of 20 consecutive drives the Chanticleers kept their opponents off the scoreboard.

Coastal answered with an 11-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 5:24 off the clock. Highlights from the drive included Ross completions to Blanks (14 yards) and Henderson (16 yards) before hitting Bruce Mapp for a 10-yard score with 2:24 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, Ross hooked up with Devin Brown for 26 yards then completed a 16-yard pass to Henderson. On the next play, Ross found paydirt from 24 yards out on a run up the middle to give the Chants a 24-3 cushion.

After an Elon punt, Coastal scored for a third consecutive possession to take a 31-3 lead. Ross completed all four passes on the 10-play, 54-yard drive, capped by his second scoring toss to Mapp – this one from 10 yards out. Andre Johnson added a 23-yard run on the march.

Henderson finished 67 yards on just 10 rushes, while totaling eight receptions for 90 yards. Mapp had eight catches for 77 yards and the two scores, while Blanks chipped in six catches for 66 yards.

With 13 tackles in the win versus Elon, Quinn Backus became the Coastal Carolina all-time tackles leader, now with 365. He passed Jamar Leath (264 from 2003-06) for the record and ranks second in Big South history. The Big South mark is 454 by Jada Ross of Charleston Southern. Already the CCU all-time leader in solo tackles, Backus became the Big South all-time leader in solo tackles with 201. Presbyterians Justin Bethel previously held the mark at 199.

Coastal heads back on the road next Saturday to take on in-state rival Furman. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Greenville.

Photo by Bill Grammer

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