Coastal Carolina erased an early 3-0 deficit and scored 31 unanswered points, 24 in the second half, to beat visiting Towson, 31-3, last night in the first meeting between the schools.
Towson's offense never got into gear, gaining just 186 yards. Although Towson quarterback Sean Schaefer was accurate (20-for-36 for 142 yards), he completed just one pass longer than 12 yards.
Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, took big bites out of Towson's defense, scoring on a 49-yard run and a 63-yard pass play. The Chanticleers piled up 459 total yards, gaining 302 rushing yards and 157 through the air.
The Tigers took the opening possession and moved from their own 17-yard line to Coastal Carolina's 8, where the 15-play drive stalled after 7 minutes, 39 seconds. Towson had to settle for a 3-0 lead on Mark Bencivengo's 25-yard field goal.
Coastal Carolina took advantage of a punt that went out of bounds at the Tigers' 46. Seven plays later, the Chanticleers took a 7-3 lead when quarterback Zach MacDowall scrambled 9 yards for a touchdown with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
After that, a combination of penalties and sacks spoiled opportunities for both teams. Coastal Carolina had the best chance to score, but Justin Durham's 42-yard field-goal try was wide at the end of the first half.
Arthur Sitton got the Chanticleers off to a roaring start to the second half when he broke loose for a 61-yard gain to Towson's 13. The Tigers held their ground, however, and held Coastal Carolina to a 28-yard field goal by Durham that increased the Chanticleers' lead to 10-3 at the 12:14 mark.
Coastal Carolina roughed Towson punter Billy Shears on the next series. The personal foul kept Towson's drive alive at the Chanticleers' 37. Five plays later, Schaefer scrambled to the 2 for first-and-goal.
But the Tigers came up empty. After two runs and an incomplete pass, Bencivengo's 19-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Phil Oboh.
Emotionally charged after their goal-line stand the Chanticleers struck quickly.
MacDowall hit Brandon Whitley on a crossing pattern for a 63-yard touchdown and a 17-3 lead.
"When they blocked that field goal and turned that into a touchdown, it was downhill after that," Tigers coach Gordy Combs said.
Coastal Carolina sealed the victory midway in the fourth quarter.
After Towson turned the ball over on downs at midfield, MacDowall went to the air again, finding Trent Usher for a 19-yard touchdown and a 24-3 lead with 7:55 remaining.
Three minutes later, Eric O'Neal padded the lead with a 49-yard touchdown run.
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