Courtesy: CCU Media Relations
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Coastal Carolina redshirt freshman Alex Ross, playing for injured quarterback Aramis Hillary, threw for 342 yards, including 151 to Niccolo Mastromatteo, and had 404 yards of total offense to lead the Chanticleers (5-4, 3-1 Big South) to a 55-33 win over Gardner-Webb (2-7, 1-3) Saturday afternoon at Spangler Stadium.
Overall, Coastal tallied 596 yards of total offense, the second-most single-game total in CCU history. The CCU single-game record for total offense is 638 set in 2006 versus Gardner-Webb. Part of today's 596 yards came on CCU's first drive of the second half, which covered 99 yards in three plays to tie the CCU record for longest drive. (Coastal also had a 99-yard drive at VMI in 2010.)
The 404 yards of total offense by Ross, who rushed 13 times for 62 yards and completed 16-of-20 passes with 3 TDs and an interception, is the second-best single-game total in CCU history (behind Tyler Thigpen's 425 versus Gardner-Webb in 2006) and the 342 passing yards ranks fifth on the CCU single-game list.
Mastromatteo's 151 receiving yards ranks third (tied) in the CCU single-game list and marks the second time he has eclipsed the 100-yard barrier this season. The junior added a 20-yard punt return to give him 171 all-purpose yards, the eighth-best single-game total in CCU history.
Not to be lost in the passing statistics is the fact that Coastal rushed for over 200 for the fourth straight game. Jeremy Height did most of the work early, gaining 65 yards on nine carries with a score. Height also set the CCU single-season record for all-purpose yards, gaining 100 Saturday as he added eight receiving yards and 27 kick return yards. He now has 1,225 all-purpose yards this year, passing the mark of 1,166 set by Patrick Hall in 2004 when he was named Big South Offensive Player of the Year.
Only leading by a 34-33 margin, Coastal started the fourth quarter on the 50 yard line after a 20-yard Mastromatteo punt return. Coastal went to the ground, passing twice in the 10-play drive. While Ross had a nine-yard carry to convert a third down early, Taliaferro converted third downs with rushes three and six yards before scoring from seven yards out to put CCU up 41-33.
On Gardner-Webb's ensuing drive, Williams intercepted his first career pass to give the Chants the ball on the GWU 33. Whitener took advantage of his playing time, getting a 12-yard gain on third down. He followed that with a five-yard gain and a 10-yard touchdown run, his first score of the season for a 48-33 advantage.
After a Hawthorne interception, Coastal was looking to run out the clock, but Whitener hit a crease up the middle and scored from 39 yards out to provide the 55-33 final.