Wildcats fall to Coastal Carolina in playoffs

Filed under BETHUNE-COOKMAN, SPORTS

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

CONWAY, S.C. – Alex Ross tossed four touchdown passes on Saturday, leading No. 11 Coastal Carolina past No. 12 Bethune-Cookman, 48-24 at Brooks Stadium in a first-round FCS playoff game. The homestanding Chanticleers advance to play eight-seed Montana next weekend in Missoula, Montana.

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats are shown hustling for the ball during the Florida Classic against Florida A&M on Nov. 23 in Orlando.(KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES)

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats are shown hustling for the ball during the Florida Classic against Florida A&M on Nov. 23 in Orlando.
(KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES)

Bethune-Cookman (10-3) was unable to stop Ross as he passed for 256 yards on 13-of-18 completions in the contest for Coastal Carolina (11-2).

“This certainly does not take away from anything we’ve done this season,” said Bethune-Cookman fourth-year head coach and MEAC Coach of the Year Brian Jenkins afterward.

“We’ve won three conference titles in four years. What today shows is that we still have work to do, and we’ll figure out a way to get over the playoff hump. We’ll figure out a way.”

Crucial fumble
The Chanticleers jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage in the opening quarter, using a 19-yard pass from Ross to Tyrell Blanks down the middle to start the scoring.

On the ensuing possession for the Wildcats, a fumble out of the hands of junior quarterback Quentin Williams – whom appeared to be setting his feet for a pass – fell into the arms of linebacker Mike McClure. He then rumbled 39 yards for the touchdown to give the Chanticleers the 14-0 edge.

After a pair of scores from both teams later in the first quarter, the Cats used a Quentin Williams four-yard run around the end to cut into the lead, 21-10 with 12:22 left in the half.

However, Coastal Carolina had an answer with Ross hitting a streaking Blanks down the middle yet again to setup a Lorenzo Taliaferro eight yard touchdown run. Though the extra point was blocked, CCU advanced its lead to 27-10 at the break.

Two late scores
The lead swelled to 41-20 early in the fourth quarter with a 23-yard touchdown reception by John Israel, later followed by a Matt Hazel 21-yard reception for score.

B-CU, champions out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) – and winners of three of the last four conference crowns, added two late scores via senior receiver Eddie Poole’s 16-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Brodrick Waters, as well as Waters running 27 yards to pay dirt himself.

That brought the score to within 41-24 with 5:26 remaining in the final stanza.

Coastal Carolina once again had an answer with Travis Small rushing in for the score from 17 yards out on the team’s next possession to make the final, 48-24.

Four passing TDs
In all, the CCU offense added 217 yards on the ground and two scores, while the four passing touchdowns is the most allowed all season by the Wildcats defense.

The previous high was three in a victory over MEAC foe Savannah State. Taliaferro led the rushing attack with 85 yards and his score, while Niccol Mastramatteo led the receiving core with four catches for 51 yards. However, it was Hazel adding two of the four receiving scores.

“You don’t win 10 games unless you’re a good ball club,” said Jenkins of Coastal Carolina. “If you can find a team with 10 wins that’s not good, then I want to see them. They have a good team, and I tip my hat to them because they were the better team today.”

202 yards by Williams
B-CU was paced offensively by Williams with 202 yards passing on 16-of-29 through the air, while Waters came off the bench for 102 yards and a passing score. Senior running back Isidore Jackson led the ground game with 59 yards, followed by Cary White with 47.

Senior linebacker Jarkevis Fields led the Cats defensively with 11 tackles, followed by Marquis Drayton with 10. LeBrandon Richardson also added 10 tackles from his defensive end position, including the team’s only sack.

With the loss, B-CU falls to 0-5 all-time in the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, as well as 0-6 lifetime in NCAA postseason play (including a Division II playoff loss to Cal-Davis).

This story is courtesy of B-CU Athletics.

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