By Mike Cawood
Special to College Sports Journal
Editor’s Note: This story is courtesy of Coastal Carolina athletics.
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Coastal Carolina’s defense forced three turnovers on fourth down in the second half, including one with 3:02 left to play.
The Chanticleers then drove to the Monmouth 13 and Ryan Granger made a 30-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-20 win to spoil the Hawks’ homecoming at Kessler Field Saturday afternoon.
In the win, Coastal Carolina junior De’Angelo Henderson scored at least one touchdown for the 21st consecutive game to become the NCAA FCS all-time leader in the category.
The previous mark was 20 consecutive games set from 2006-07 by former Monmouth running back David Sinisi, who was at the game for the record-setting score.
The Chants stopped Monmouth on fourth-and-goal from the four on the opening drive of the third quarter then had back-to-back stops on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
First, with just over eight minutes to play, Monmouth went for it on fourth-and-four from the CCU 41, but Chanticleer senior Datarius Allen broke up the pass to give Coastal the ball.
Two plays after the turnover, Alex Ross completed a long pass to Tyrell Blanks, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Hawks.
Monmouth had a big play of its own to reach midfield. However, facing fourth-and-three, MU quarterback Cody Williams was forced to throw the ball away to give the ball back to Coastal and setup the game-winning drive.
Not only did CCU stop Monmouth three times, the Hawks’ kicker missed a 39-yard field goal to end the first half and an extra point.
Overall, Granger scored 11 points for the Chanticleers as he made field goals of 30, 32 and 30 yards along with three extra points in the win.
Henderson finished with 91 rushing yards on 25 attempts with his TD. Ross, who scored a rushing TD, completed 20-of-31 passes for 282 yards with Bruce Mapp hauling in six passes for 79 yards. Alex Scearce (10 tackles) and Jabarai Bothwell (nine tackles with three for losses) led the Chanticleer defense.
While Henderson set an NCAA FCS record, Monmouth tailback Lavon Chaney had a career day, rushing 24 times for 196 yards and two scores.
Williams completed 18-of-20 passes for 207 yards and a TD. His top target was Darren Ambush, who had nine receptions for 107 yards.
Coastal Carolina had good field position on its first two drives of the game, but only had a field goal to show for it as Ryan Granger connected from 30 yards out for a 3-0 CCU lead with 8:40 left in the first quarter.
Monmouth answered with an 11-play, 90-yard drive capped by a three-yard Chaney touchdown for a 7-3 lead by the Hawks. The drive was kept alive thanks to a pass interference call on a double pass.
The Hawks forced a Chanticleer punt on the ensuing possession and had all the momentum until Coastal’s Kerron Johnson intercepted a Williams pass on the Chanticleer five-yard line.
Ross had completions 15 and 10 yards to Mapp and a 20-yard completion to Frankie Richardson to get the Chants to the MU nine.
Henderson took over from there, running the ball four straight times, including a two-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal from the two.
Chaney opened the following drive with a 39-yard run and, five plays later, caught a swing pass to score a 17-yard touchdown.
The extra point sailed wide left for a 13-10 Monmouth lead with just under five minutes left in the first half.
Coastal quickly answered.
Osharmar Abercrombie took a short kickoff and returned it 20 yards to the 37. Blanks had an 11-yard reception and Henderson broke off a 14-yard run.
Coastal received a break on the next play as Ross threw a pass, which the Monmouth defensive back tipped right into the hands of Bruce Mapp for a a 25-yard gain.
Two plays later, Ross powered his way into the end zone for a touchdown and a 17-13 lead with just over two minutes left before halftime.
Monmouth missed a field goal as the second quarter drew to a close. Then, to open the third quarter, drove deep into CCU territory thanks to a 41-yard run from Chaney. Later, facing first and goal from the CCU eight, Coastal held the Hawks on four straight plays to force a turnover on downs.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Granger split the uprights from 32 yards out to give Coastal a 20-13 advantage.
The lead was short lived. Chaney started a six-play, 74-yard drive with a 14-yard run and finished it with a 21-yard touchdown run. The extra point by Matt White knotted the game at 20-20.
On Coastal Carolina’s final drive, the Chants used 12 plays to cover 44 yards. The key play was a 17-yard Ross to John Israel completion on third-and-11 near midfield – the Monmouth 44. Ross also completed a 12-yard pass to Blanks on third-and-4 to get to the Monmouth nine.
Coastal Carolina will stay on the road to face nationally-ranked Charleston Southern next Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the American Sports Network.