CONWAY, S.C. – In a game that featured 117 points, the point that was prevented provided the difference. Charleston Southern's Solomon Brown blocked an extra point attempt in the second overtime to put an end to a wild 59-58 win over Coastal Carolina on Saturday at Brooks Stadium.
Coastal (3-2) appeared poised to send the game to a third overtime following Kenneth Daniels two-yard touchdown run but Brown had other plans. The linebacker leapt up and got his right hand on Ryan Granger's kick, forcing it short of the uprights and setting off a jubilant celebration for CSU (3-2).
"I sometimes jump," Brown said of the play afterward. "It's like a 50-50 call for me and I told Zane Cruz, 'I got this one, let me line up in the middle.' I just jumped with all I got and saw the ball coming and it hit my hand. Then I went crazy as you saw."
"It's always great to win," Brown continued. "To have a part in it makes it amazing. I'll remember this forever, too. It took all of us to win this game."
The heroes were many in the Bucs' third win over the Chanticleers in the last four years and first in Conway since 2008. Mike Holloway became CSU's all-time leading rusher with 140 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Shane Bucenell returned to the game after leaving with severe cramps and tossed two of his four touchdown passes in overtime. Robert Mitchell relieved Bucenell for much of the second half and ran for 69 yards and two scores, including what looked to be the game-winner with 42 seconds left in regulation.
The Bucs totaled 473 yards of offense, held the football for 42:41, ran 89 plays to Coastal's 56 and converted five-of-six fourth down tries. They survived 13 penalties, two costly turnovers and a four-touchdown, 208-yard performance from Coastal star running back De'Angelo Henderson. They found a way to win for the 31st time in Jamey Chadwell's remarkable tenure as head coach.
"Just a great college football game and a lot of emotions," Chadwell said. "We didn't start out very well. They took it to us right out of the gate. We got down quick, 14-0, and then 21-7 but I was proud of us fighting back there before halftime and then it was back and forth."
"It looked like whoever made the final play was going to win the game and I thought we pulled it out there at the end of regulation," Chadwell said of a contest that saw nine lead changes. "One thing that I know about our team, we might not be the prettiest, we might not be the biggest, the fastest, the most talented but I do know that they believe in each other and they believe in the coaches. No matter what's happening, how bad it looks, how bleak it looks, they're gonna find a way to try to make a play."
Bucenell's 15-yard touchdown pass to Jared Scotland in the back right corner of the end zone proved to be the winning score. He found Colton Korn with a 24-yard back shoulder strike on CSU's first possession of the extra session, answering a Tyler Keane to Bruce Mapp touchdown. Bucenell had not played since early in the third quarter due to cramping issues but responded in a big way upon being re-inserted.
In between, Mitchell directed three touchdown drives to help the Bucs repeatedly answer the Chanticleers' quick strike attack. The latter two covered a combined 27 plays while chewing up over 15 minutes of clock. CSU converted three third downs a fourth down on the first march, with Mitchell scoring from ten yards out on a quarterback keeper at the 9:32 mark of the fourth quarter. Holloway pushed the Bucs' edge to 38-35 with a two-point conversion.
Coastal's Gary Bradshaw swung momentum quickly with a 45-yard burst down the left sideline on a jet sweep. Two plays later, Chris Jones took a reverse and lofted a pass to Bradshaw in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown to give the Chanticleers a 42-38 advantage with 8:17 remaining.
CSU methodically moved the football from its own 30-yard line to the Coastal 29 on the ensuing possession, courtesy of nine straight run plays. Mitchell went to the air and found a sliding Scotland for 16 yards and the Bucs pushed forward to the Coastal 11 before a holding penalty set them back into 2nd-and-18 with less than a minute left. Mitchell coolly hooked up with Saire Davis to make it a more manageable third down and then rumbled across the goal line from ten yards out, providing a 45-42 CSU lead with just 42 seconds left.
Coastal was not done, rolling 54 yards on seven plays to set up Granger's 35-yard game-tying field goal on the final play of regulation. Henderson caught two first down passes to start the drive and Devin Brown got open for a 22-yard catch to move the Chanticleers into field goal range.
CSU trailed 14-0 only seven minutes into play and 21-7 late in the first quarter before ripping off 16 unanswered points to take a 23-21 halftime lead. Coastal scored a defensive touchdown for the second consecutive week to seize the advantage back early in the third. Alex Scearce sacked and stripped Bucenell in the end zone and Myles White pounced on the ball to send Coastal in front, 29-23, following a two-point conversion.
Holloway and Henderson provided plenty of fireworks in a matchup of two of the nation's most explosive backs. Holloway scampered 42 yards off an option pitch on a fourth down play to get CSU on the scoreboard. Henderson enjoyed touchdown runs of 36 and 47 yards, breaking away from a pack of Bucs on both jaunts to the end zone.
Holloway, with 2,227 yards, moved past former teammate Christian Reyes into the top spot on CSU's career rushing chart. Henderson stretched his NCAA Division I record of games with a touchdown to 31 and became the fifth active player in the nation to eclipse 4,000 career rushing yards.
Corbin Jackson paced the Bucs' defensively with seven tackles. Anthony Ellis recorded two sacks and forced a fumble that was recovered by J.D. Sosebee. The Chanticleers were led by a career-high 14 tackles from safety Richie Sampson.
CSU returns home to play Albany State next Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff at Buccaneer Field is slated for 11:45 a.m.