With the outer skirts of Sandy moving its way up the coast, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers battled the rain, wind, and Flames as they defeated conference rival Liberty 36-12.
The Chanticleers (4-4, 2-1) defense picked up right where they left off last week as LaDarius Hawthorne intercepted the Flames (3-5, 2-1) Josh Woodrum’s fourth and three pass and returned it 66-yards to give CCU the 6-0 lead. Hawthorne's 66-yard pick-6 tied the second longest in Chanticleer history. On the point-after-touchdown, place holder Austin Cain rushed in on the direct snap to convert the two-point-conversion making it CCU 8 Liberty 0.
Coming into the ball game Liberty averaged 28.6 points and 446.7-yards per game ranking second in the Big South. The Chanticleer defense had something else to say about that as they held Liberty to only 12 points and 265 total yards. The Flames did not make it into the red zone until half way though the fourth quarter. Quinn Backus lead the way with 15 total tackles a sack and an interception, his season high in tackles. The Chanticleers also a total of three interceptions that led to 15 points. After the game Coach Moglia talked about the strong performance of the defense, “We took it to them from a physical perspective, we hit them well, we were gang tackling, and we were doing a good job on our hits.”
After a defensive duel for most of the second quarter, the Chanticleer offense slowly moved down the field with several short passes from Aramis Hillary to a gang of receivers which set up a 46-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Height putting Coastal up 15-3 headed to the second half.
In Coastal’s second drive of the second half Jeremy Height was handed the ball on all six plays rushing for 52 yards taking in his second touchdown of the ball game, his eighth of the season. Height once again carried the offense on his back as he rushed for 99-yards averaging 8.2 yards per carry adding two touchdowns along the way.
In Liberty’s next possession, John Lunsford nailed a 50-yard field goal with about 15 miles-per-hour of wind at his back making it CCU 22 Liberty 6. This field goal was the third longest ever in Brooks Stadium history, three yards shy of the record.
A scary moment came late in the fourth quarter as Aramis Hillary was carted off the field after he went down on a rush play. He was taking to the hospital with a neck injury for precautionary measures. In the postgame press conference Coach Moglia was positive about the injury and shared that Hillary was able to move while being treated by the trainers. Hillary finished the game with 200 total yards in the ball game. Back-up quarterback red shirt freshman Alex Ross came in after Hillary’s injury. With just over three minutes left on the clock Ross drove down the field hooking up with Travis Small on a three-yard touchdown pass to put the icing on the homecoming cake.
Next week Coastal will be traveling to Boiling Springs, North Carolina to take on Gardner Webb, they will be coming off of a 38-7 victory over VMI. Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM next Saturday afternoon.
Written by, Tom Michienzi. Tom is a producer for ESPN Radio 100.3'The Team' and the beat report for Coastal Carolina Football for ESPN 100.3 and TheDigitel Myrtle Beach. You can follow Tom on Twitter @Tmichienzi18 or for questions call 774-254-4165.