CONWAY – De'Angelo Henderson rushed for 139 yards – 98 in the first half – and scored three times while the Chanticleer defense held Liberty to just a CCU record-low minus 23 rushing yards as #16 Coastal Carolina cruised to a 42-7 victory over rival Liberty on a national ESPNEWS telecast.
Coastal, playing its first home Thursday night game, improves to 9-2 overall while evening the all-time series with Liberty (6-5) at 7-7, while taking a 5-2 lead in games played at Brooks Stadium.
Coastal's defense did not allow a first down until late in the second quarter and just nine for the game (compared to CCU's 24) while holding the Flames to minus 23 yards on 20 attempts. The previous CCU record low was holding Chowan to eight rushing yards in 26 attempts in 2007. Also in that Chowan game, Coastal's defense allowed a then record-low 87 yards of total offense.
On a night Coastal honored its 2016 NCAA National Championship baseball team, former CCU infielder Tyler Chadwick came off the bench after an injury to starter Tyler Keane and completed 6-of-9 passes for 71 yards. (Chadwick, who had only played the final three snaps in a 48-17 win at Presbyterian College earlier this season, graduated from CCU this past summer and was working with the CCU football program as an intern. Having a year of eligibility remaining, he volunteered to play quarterback midway through the season due to a rash of injuries at the position.)
Ryan Lee, a true freshman wide receiver turned quarter, also took snaps and added 71 rushing yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.
On Coastal's third offensive play, quarterback Tyler Keane exited the game after re-injuring his ankle. The first drive stalled and led to a put. On the second drive, Chadwick and Lee sparked the offense and Henderson scored in his 34th consecutive game to extend his own NCAA Division I record. Chadwick completed his first career pass attempt, a 14-yarder to Bruce Mapp, extending his streak to a team-best 20 straight games with a reception. Osharmar Abercrombie followed with an 13-yard run and Lee split the defense for an 11-yard run to the Liberty three. Henderson then found paydirt for the 7-0 lead.
For the second straight drive, Coastal used 11 plays and took exactly 4:51 off the clock to take a 14-0 advantage. Henderson had a 23-yard run in the drive and Devin Brown added a 13-yard rush to the Flames' three. Abercrombie took it to the Liberty one as the first quarter expired and opened the second quarter with a one-yard TD run. Ryan Granger's point after pushed the CCU lead to 14-0.
The Chants pushed their lead to 21-0 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Henderson did most of the damage with runs of 18, 11 and 17 yards to set up his one-yard plunge.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Alex Scearce sacked Liberty quarterback Stephon Masha for a 17-yard loss and forced a fumble. Marcus Williamson picked up the loose ball and returned it two yards for a touchdown and 28-0 Chanticleer lead.
Coastal has scored nine non-offensive touchdowns this season and eight on defense. The eight defensive TDs ranks second in all NCAA Division I, trailing Alabama's nine. Also, of the eight defensive scores, Scearce has been responsible for five thanks to two interception returns for TDs, recovering a fumble for a TD and forcing two fumbles that were recovered for TDs.
The Flames did not get a first down until late in the second quarter. After a CCU interception was waived off due to pass interference, the Flames converted a fourth-and-one. On the next play, Stephen Calvert hit Antonio Gandy-Golden for a 38-yard touchdown to put the LU deficit to 28-7.