CCU's comeback effort falls short at ULM

CCU's comeback effort falls short at ULM

Story courtesy of Coastal Carolina Athletics

MONROE, La. – Malcolm Williams shattered the Coastal Carolina single-game record and had the second-best, single-game effort in Sun Belt history with 266 receiving yards (nine receptions). However, it was not enough as Coastal Carolina fell in its first ever Sun Belt Conference game, 51-43, at UL Monroe Saturday night at Malone Stadium.

The game was a two-point contest, 45-43 in the Warhawks' favor, until the last play of the game when Coastal tried a lateral which resulted in a fumble and ULM returned the ball15 yards for a touchdown as time expired to provide the eight-point final margin.

Williams, who hails from nearby Shreveport, La., became just the second Chanticleer to amass at least 200 yard receiving as Jerome Simpson had eight receptions for 207 yards at Georgia Southern in 2006. Williams accounted for nine of CCU's 18 receptions, had two receiving touchdowns and added a two-point conversion. For the game, Williams had receptions for 86, 13, 23, 27, 47, 5, 38, 10 and 20 yards.

Thanks to Williams' effort, Tyler Keane threw for a career-high 329 yards and four scores. It marked the just 21st time a CCU quarterback had thrown for at least 300 yards. Overall, he was 18-for-31 with two interceptions.

Tight end Maxwell Kjosa caught his first two career passes, both TDs, while Marcus Outlow and Alex James each added rushing TDs. James also caught a 2-point conversion.

The Warhawks took a 3-0 lead, scoring the opening possession of the game. The drive was kept alive with a CCU penalty, but the defense stiffened and forced  a 40-yard field goal by Craig Ford.

Coastal nearly turned the ball over on a punt return as Williams bobbled the fair catch and ultimately recovered his own fumble after it was batted around. Coastal took over on its own two yard line. After three runs to give CCU a first down, Keane hit Williams on a deep crossing route. Williams out-ran the ULM defense for an 87-yard touchdown. The completion was the second-longest pass play in school history and the 98-yard drive was the fifth-longest in school history. Evan Rabon's extra point gave CCU a 7-3 advantage

The lead was short lived as  Marcus Green returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to make the score 10-7. It was the first time since 2014 an opponent returned a kickoff for a TD.

Undaunted, Coastal but together a seven-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Keane and Williams hooked up three times in the drive for completions of 13, 23 and 27 yards, the lasts going for a touchdown. Keane then found James for a 2-point conversion to give Coastal a 15-10 lead.

The Warhawks answered. Ben Luckett had a 53-yard run on the final play of the first quarter and, six plays later, Luckett scored from one yard out and the PAT gave ULM a 17-15 lead at the 12:34 mark of the second quarter.

On Coastal's first play after the ULM score, Roland Jenkins hauled in a tipped pass for a Warhawk interception. Two plays later, Derrick Gore pushed his way into the end zone to put ULM up 24-15.

The back-and-forth game continued. Thanks to a 47-yard Keane-to-Williams pass, James capped the seven-play, 68-yard drive with a one-yard rush. Rabon tacked on the extra point to make it a 2-point game, 24-22.

For the second time in the contest, ULM picked off a pass and scored two plays later. Starting on the CCU 23, Sloan Spiller caught a 20-yard TD from Caleb Evans to put the Warhawks up 31-22.

The second half opened with Coastal punting on its first possession.  On ULM's fourth play, Luckett burst up the middle for a 56-yard touchdown run and 38-22 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ky'Jon Tyler took the ball in the end zone, ran back across the field and ended up with an 88-yard return. It is the longest non-scoring play in school history and sixth longest kick return. Outlow scored his first TD as a Chanticleer, a one-yard run, and it was his third career TD. Keane hit Williams on a corner route to add the two-point conversion and make the score 38-30. Keane, after completing both 2-point attempts at ULM, is now 9-for-13 passing on 2-point tried for his career.

Similar to the first half, a roughing the quarterback penalty on Coastal extended the Warhawks' drive. However, this time, it resulted in a touchdown, a one-yard run by Gore, to give ULM a 45-30 lead.

As the third quarter drew to a close, Keane completed a 38-yard pass to Williams. Two plays into the fourth quarter, Keane threw a pass to Maxwell Kjosa, who out-jumped two defenders for a five-yard TD. It was the first career touchdown for Kjosa. The 2-point play failed and the score remained 45-36.

With five minutes left, Coastal took over on its own 21. Keane engineered a seven-play, 79-yard drive, completing six passes on the drive, including a nine-yard score to Kjosa.

With three minutes left after the score, Coastal elected to kick the ball deep. While the defense did force a punt, Coastal only had 20 seconds left and needed to cover 67 yards. After two incompletions, Keane hit Gary Bradshaw, who pitched the ball to Williams then tried to lateral the ball back to Keane, but the ball bounced around before Caleb Tucker picked up the ball and ran 15 yards for a ULM touchdown as time expired.

Coastal Carolina will return home to host Georgia State next Saturday (Oct. 7) as part of the University's Family Weekend. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm.