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Strong rushing attack leads Coastal Carolina past Liberty

libertyNo. 16 Coastal Carolina rushed for 318 yards and scored five of its six touchdowns on the ground to record a 42-7 win over Liberty, Thursday evening, at Brooks Stadium in a nationally televised game on ESPNews.

With the win, Coastal Carolina pushes its record to 9-2 on the season and evens the all-time series record to 7-7 between the former Big South rivals. Liberty, who has already captured a share of this year’s Big South title, now stands at 6-5 overall this year.

Coastal Carolina finished the game with 400 total offensive yards (318 rushing, 82 passing) and averaged 4.7 yards per rushing attempt on 67 rushing plays.

Liberty amassed 200 total offensive yards, including 223 passing yards. The Flames finished the game with minus 23 rushing yards, aided by six Coastal Carolina sacks (45 yards). The rushing total marked the first time the Flames have finished with negative rushing yards since having minus six yards against No. 16 William & Mary on Sept. 24, 2005.

Coastal Carolina used three different quarterbacks during the game, giving them seven players to take snaps during the 2016 season. Tyler Chadwick led the team with 6-of-9 passing for 71 yards, while Chris Jones (1-of-1, 11 yards) and Tyler Keane (0-1) also saw time under center.

De’Angelo Henderson paced the Chanticleers, rushing 20 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns. The yardage gave the senior his 24th career 100-yard rushing performance.

Lee Ryan followed with 19 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Osharmar Abercrombie had 11 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Liberty’s Stephen Calvert finished the contest completing 19-of-31 passing attempts for 223 yards and the 15th passing touchdown of his freshman career.

Zac Parker (66 yards) and Dante’ Shells (33 yards) each finished the game with five receptions for the Flames. Antonio Gandy-Golden followed with four receptions for 94 yards and Liberty’s lone touchdown in the game.

Liberty’s Nick Newman and Juwan Wells led all tacklers in the game, finishing the contest with 10 stops apiece. Coastal Carolina’s Alex Scearce led the Chanticleers with six tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

The Chanticleers were the first team to put points up on the scoreboard, jumping out to a 7-0 lead with 5:48 left in the first quarter. Henderson extended his NCAA record, scoring a touchdown in his 34th consecutive game on a three-yard carry to cap an 11-play, 59-yard drive and stake the home team to an early advantage.

Coastal Carolina doubled its lead on the first play of the second quarter when Abercrombie scored from one yard out at 14:56. The Chanticleers kept the ball on the ground for nine plays of the 11-play, 70-yard scoring drive.

Henderson kept Coastal Carolina’s ground game going, picking up the final 29 yards of a nine-play, 59-yard scoring drive on the ground. The senior had bursts of 11 and 17 yards, setting up his second touchdown of the evening, a one-yard run at 10:04 left before halftime to push the lead to 21-0.

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Liberty’s Stephon Masha was sacked and lost the ball. Marcus Williamson collected the turnover and returned it two yards for a score, accounting for Coastal Carolina’s eighth non-offensive touchdown of the game to push the lead to 28-0.

The Flames were able to get their offense going just before halftime, stringing together a five-play, 63-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit to 28-7. Calvert capped the 2:44 drive by completing a 38-yard touchdown pass to Gandy-Golden with 1:54 left in the second, the third touchdown of the freshman’s rookie season at Liberty.

Chadwick completions to Henderson (seven yards) and Chris Jones (15 yards) set up Henderson’s third score of the game. The senior burst up the middle for a two-yard run at the 10:45 mark of the third quarter, pushing Coastal Carolina’s lead to 35-7.

The score remained the same until Coastal Carolina scored its fifth and final rushing touchdown of the evening with 13:48left in the fourth quarter. Lee capped off an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown run, his third of the year, for the game’s final score.

Tonight’s game brings to an end Liberty’s regular season schedule; however, the Flames’ campaign could continue based upon the results of this weekend’s Big South play.

Liberty (6-5, 4-1 BSC) could earn its second NCAA FCS Playoffs berth should Kennesaw State (8-2, 3-1 BSC) defeat Charleston Southern (6-3, 3-1 BSC) on Saturday in Charleston, S.C. Liberty would claim the Big South’s automatic bid to the playoffs because of its head-to-head win over Kennesaw State on Oct. 15.

The NCAA will announce this year’s 24-team NCAA FCS Playoffs field on Sunday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.



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