In the first round of the FCS playoffs the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers punched their ticket to the second round and secured their first playoff victory with a win over #22 Bethune-Cookman University Saturday by a score of 24-14.
Both teams entered Municipal Stadium on a hot winning streak, Coastal Carolina a five game streak and Bethune-Cookman a seven game streak. With the Chanticleers defeating the Wildcats extended an even longer streak for the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference: a 17th straight playoff loss dating back to 1999.
After both teams failed to reach the end zone in the first quarter the Chanticleers broke the game wide open in the second quarter by scoring 17-points on their first three possessions. In a quick two minute drive the Chants drove down field 75-yards and capped it off with an Aramis Hillary option-pitch to Marcus Whitener who raced it into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown early in second quarter.
Halfway through the second quarter the Chants again moved at a fast pace over the span of nine plays ending with a three-yard touchdown fade pass from Hillary to the far corner of the end zone over two defenders into the hands of Matt Hazel
A big moment came late in the first half as Johnnie Houston and Tyler McCarthy drilled the Wildcats’ tight-end Jordan Murphy and caused what appeared to be a fumble, but was called an incomplete pass. The call on the field was quickly overturned by a booth review resulting in a forced fumble and Chanticleers ball. This turnover led to a 35-yard field goal by Alex Catron expanding Coastal’s lead to 17-0.
The Chanticleers’ first two drives of the second half ended with a turnover. In the opening drive Hillary got caught up handing the ball off to Jeremy Height resulting in a fumble. After the defense successfully stopped the Wildcats offense the Chanticleers drove all the way down to the Bethune-Cookman red-zone. On fourth and goal Coach Moglia decided to go for the touchdown instead of kicking the field goal; the plan backfired as Hillary threw his sixth interception of the year.
Even with turnovers on the offensive side, the defense continued to stay strong on their side of the ball. Early in the fourth quarter junior safety Johnnie Houston returned an interception 67-yards for the touchdown putting the Chants a dominating lead 24-0.
The Wildcats showed some life late in the fourth by answering with two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to fight off the Chants.
Next week the Chanticleers will be traveling to Norfolk, Virginia to take on number four ranked Old Dominion University, kickoff is set for 2 PM.
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 @TJM_three or for questions call 774-254-4165.