The #4 Coastal Carolina Chanticleer’s rolled into Lynchburg, Virginia on Thursday night looking for their third consecutive season with double digit wins. Unfortunately for them, the Liberty Flames had other plans in mind.
The Flames upset the Chanticleer’s, 24-21, to move to 6-5 on the year and third in the division just behind Coastal Carolina who finished the season 9-2.
The game had all the makings of a shootout on paper with each team winning two of their last three and scoring over 20 points a game along the way and the game appeared to be heading that way early when Liberty opened the game with a ten play drive that took six minutes off the clock.
The Flames only threw two passes and did most of their damage on the ground opening the scorebook with an eight yard touchdown run on running back Desmond Rice’s seventh carry of the drive.
The teams would then trade punts before the Coastal Carolina capped off an 8-play 82 yard drive with a 24 yard touchdown pass from Chanticleer quarterback Alex Ross to receiver Chris Jones that brought about this… innovative… two point conversion play
Coastal Carolina tried the swinging gate. It didn't work so well pic.twitter.com/av8vLgxzta— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) November 20, 2015
Jones would end the night with eight catches for 168 yards and a touchdown.
On the Chanticleer’s next possession, running back DeAngelo Henderson would take it 71 yards to the house and this time Coastal Carolina would convert the two point conversion to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Out of the half, Liberty forced a Chanticleer three and out before manufacturing an eleven play, 62 yard drive that tied the game on a two yard touchdown pass from Josh Woodrum to Will Johnson from two yards out. The drive almost stalled out at the Coastal Carolina 33 yard line but the Flames managed to complete a fifteen yard pass to Rice on third and sixteen. The Flames made the gutsy call to go for it on fourth and short and Woodrum kept it himself for four yards.
Three drives later, Liberty would take over near midfield after a 27 yard punt by the Chanticleer’s. On the first play of the drive, Darrin Peterson would make an acrobatic catch despite defensive pass interference before going down at the Coastal Carolina seventeen yard line. The drive would stall out there but after the big play and good field position, the Flames retook the lead on a 28 yard field goal.
Each team would have a pair of three and outs sandwiched around a Chanticleer turnover before Coastal Carolina took over at their own 10 yard line.
Three plays later, Deangelo Henderson scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from inside the one yard line, with just 3:59 left in the game.
Liberty got the ball back down 21-17 and found themselves facing fourth and eight from their own 32 yard line.
They must have seen something they liked because one play later, they went back over the middle and this happened.
After a decent return and a first-play first down by the Chanticleer’s, Ross would throw four straight incompletions (a few of them errant throws with a chance for a first down if they were accurate) which essentially ended the game.
The Flames converted 8 of 19 which is solid yet unspectacular but in comparison seems like gold compared to the 1 of 9 by Coastal Carolina...Liberty held the ball for just under 41 minutes...Top 10 FCS Rusher Deangelo Henderson’s stat line looks good but 71 of his 89 yards came on one carry. Removing that one run, he had 10 carries for 18 yards.