Cure Bowl Champs: Chants defeat Northern Illinois Huskies 47-41 in nailbiter

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 9:54 PM EST
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ORLANDO, Fla (WMBF) – For the first time in school history, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers won their first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game on Friday night.

The Chants took on the 2021 Mid-American Conference Champions, the Northern Illinois Huskies at the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., in a game that came down to the last second.

GABE ON THE GO | Sports Director Gabe McDonald with the play-by-play on Twitter

This is the first time the two teams met on the gridiron. It was also CCU’s second appearance at the Cure Bowl where they lost to Liberty in overtime in 2020.


On the Huskies’ opening drive of the game, they found their way into the end zone in the first six minutes of the game, taking the lead 7-0.

The Chants answered back with Braydon Bennett making an 18-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, the extra point was blocked, making the game 7-6.

With less than two minutes in the first quarter, the Huskies added to their lead with a field goal.

At the end of the first quarter, the Huskies led 10-6.


Within the first two minutes of the second quarter, the Chants made a gutsy play call during 4th down and Chants QB Grayson McCall completed a 40-yard pass to Aaron Bedgood for a TD. The extra point was also good, and the Chants lead 13-10.

With 8:35 left in the second quarter, the Huskies regained the lead with a two-yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 17-13.

On the next drive, the Chants ended up settling for a field goal. A 17-16 score with 5:48 to go in the second quarter.

The Chants followed with a solid defensive drive, but a roughing the kicker penalty ended up costing them big time. The Huskies ended up getting another six after QB Rocky Lombardi completed a 12-yard pass, expanding the Huskies lead to 24-16.

With just seconds left in the second quarter, Massimo Bicardi made a 43-yard field goal for the Chants and the first half ends with the Huskies leading 24-19.


The Chants started the second half with the ball, and Chants took advantage with a big drive down the field that ended with a 28-yard from Grayson McCall to Isaiah Likely for a touchdown, putting the Chants back on top 26-24.

The Huskies answered back with RB Jay Ducker taking the ball 56 yards, with one yard shy of a touchdown. Lombardi ran it in for a TD and took back the lead at 31-26 with 10:08 left in the third.

But the Huskies didn’t stay in the lead for long with a 60-yard run from Braydon Bennett, right into the endzone, taking back the lead at 33-31.

NIU answered right back with another TD, bringing the score to 38-33.

The third quarter ended with the Chants down five.


To start the final quarter of the game, the Huskies added to their lead with a 45-yard field goal, making the score 41-33.

But the Chants answered back with Chants TE Isaiah Likely leapfrogging over the NIU defense and right into the endzone for a TD. The Chants attempted a two-point conversion, but couldn’t quite get it and CCU continues to trail 41-39.

The Huskies get the ball back and take a huge risk by going for it on 4th and less than a yard in their territory, but the risk doesn’t pay off. The CCU defense makes a major stop, giving the Chants the ball back.

The next play, McCall completes a 34-yard pass to Bradon Bennett for a touchdown. The Chants go for the two-point conversion again, and this time it lands in Likely’s hands, giving CCU the lead, 47-41 with 6:40 to go in the game.

With 3:28 left to go, Lombardi runs for it and is hit by Chants LB Silas Kelly, causing a fumble and CCU recovered the ball.

The Chants aren’t able to capitalize on the turnover and the Huskies get the ball back and march it down the field.

The Huskies take to inside the 10, but they don’t have enough time to get the TD and the Chants win their first FBS bowl game.

The final score is 47-41.

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