Saturday, November 1, 2014

Coastal Carolina Tops Gardner-Webb 38-14

BOILING SPRINGS – Alex Ross passed for a career-high 351 yards and two touchdowns to lead #2/3 Coastal Carolina to a 38-14 win at Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon.

The Chanticleers (9-0, 3-0 Big South) won on the road for a Big South-record sixth time in a row and snapped a five-game win streak in Spangler Stadium for Gardner-Webb (4-5, 0-2 Big South).

Ross’ second touchdown pass, a 22-yarder to Tyrell Blanks with 10:32 left in the game, put Coastal Carolina up 35-14 after a scoreless third quarter for both teams. Ross stepped out of a sack in the backfield before hitting a wide-open Blanks in the end zone. Blanks had five catches for 105 yards and two scores.

Coastal Carolina jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the game’s first five minutes, driving 68 yards on 12 plays (4:28) for the initial score – a 20-yard field goal by Alex Catron after the march stalled inside the five.

Pernell Williams took the air out of the home crowd on Gardner-Webb’s first offensive play, picking off a batted ball and racing 23 yards for a defensive score. Catron’s PAT gave the Chants a 10-0 edge with 10:15 on the clock.

Ross drove Coastal 80 yards on a scoring drive that covered that resulted in a 22-yard scoring pass to Blanks with 14:14 to play before halftime – and a two-point conversion made the score 18-0.

Gardner-Webb chipped away at the lead on its next drive, getting a big play from Lucas Beatty to tight end Seth Cranfill – a 75-yard touchdown pass and run that was the longest of Cranfill’s career. The Sherrill’s Ford, N.C., native caught the pass and broke two tackles before outlasting the rest of Coastal’s secondary for the final 35 yards on a dive into the end zone.

Another Catron field goal pushed Coastal Carolina’s lead to 21-7 with 5:52 to play before halftime, but Gardner-Webb had another scoring drive in store. Beatty directed the Runnin’ Bulldogs 75 yards in six plays, hitting Kenny Cook on a screen pass for 27 yards down to the Coastal 34-yard line and finding Cook on the following play for a 26-yard gain inside the 10. Cook made a spectacular catch on the play, getting a foot just inbounds on the far sideline.

Beatty picked up three yards on a quarterback draw, and freshman Kerry Bernard found pay dirt on a draw play of his own to cover the five yards. The extra point made the score 21-14 with just 3:12 left before halftime.

Coastal Carolina turned momentum just before the break.

Ross hit consecutive 17-yard passes after the Chanticleers found themselves backed up inside the 15-yard line, connecting with De’Angelo Henderson on a swing pass and finding Thomas Pauciello on a pitch-and-catch over the middle for some breathing room.

A 14-yard pass to Chris Jones got the ball down to the Gardner-Webb 38-yard line and – after a short run by Osharmar Abercrombie and another eight-yard pass to Pauciello – the Chanticleers found themselves within a yard of moving the sticks on fourth down.

Gardner-Webb’s initial surge defensively caught Henderson for no gain, but the 5-foot-8, 205-pounder bounced out of a scrum at the line of scrimmage and was able to race 29 yards for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead with just 56.2 seconds before the half.

Beatty made a charge back downfield with his offense, hitting Deonte’ Swinton on a 29-yarder to the Coastal 30 with less than 10 seconds left – but his pass into the end zone at the halftime horn was just over the end line and out of bounds.

Gardner-Webb buckled down defensively in third quarter, not letting the Chanticleers past their own 45-yard line and forcing three punts on three drives. Coastal Carolina matched that effort, however, letting GWU past its own 40 twice, but not into Coastal Carolina territory.

The two teams combined for seven punts in the third quarter alone. The field position battle edged in Coastal Carolina’s favor as the fourth quarter started, with Ross directing the Chanticleers 77 yards in 12 plays before finding Blanks on his second scoring toss of the day to put his team up three scores.

Catron banged in a school-record, 53-yard field goal with 5:54 left for the final margin.

Gardner-Webb drove down to the Coastal Carolina 19-yard line on its next drive, but reserve quarterback Tyrell Maxwell was picked off in the end zone with 1:33 left to play. The Chanticleers ran out the clock to finish off the win.

Coastal Carolina finished with 488 yards of total offense, but had just 146 yards after halftime.

In addition to the big days from Ross and Blanks, Bruce Mapp tied his own school record with 10 catches, going for 107 yards. Henderson ran for 86 yards on 19 carries and caught seven passes for 65 yards.

Williams had five tackles, his interception return for a score and two pass break ups in a strong day in the secondary. The Chanticleers’ defense recorded five sacks in the game, with all five coming in the final 30 minutes.

Gardner-Webb had 327 yards of total offense, but managed only 61 yards rushing on 25 attempts with leading rusher Juanne Blount sidelined for the third time this season with an injury.

Beatty passed for 266 yards and a touchdown for Gardner-Webb, hitting Cook eight times for 100 yards and Cranfill three times for 86 yards. Cranfill became the all-time tight end receptions leader in school history, passing former All-Big South tight end Jason Bright.

Beatty moved into third place in school history in passing yardage, surpassing Hall of Famer Chip Stuart with his effort through the air. Beatty now has passed for 7,563 yards and 39 touchdowns in his third season as the full-time starter. Cook moved into fifth in career catches at Gardner-Webb, and now has caught 170 passes for 2,301 yards and 20 touchdowns in just 30 games played.

Linebacker Aaron Cook had a career-high 14 total stops (nine solo), 2.0 tackles for loss and two pass break ups for Gardner-Webb defensively. Freshman end Laron Glenn (Charlotte, N.C. / West Mecklenburg HS) made his first career start Saturday and finished with seven total tackles (five solo), a tackle for loss and three quarterback pressures.

Gardner-Webb faces another difficult test next week, traveling to Charleston Southern on November 8 for an 11:00 am kickoff (ESPN3). The Buccaneers (6-3, 1-2 Big South) blanked one of the league’s top offensive teams Saturday, beating Monmouth 27-0 in New Jersey.

Story courtesy of Gardner-Webb Sports Information