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Flames Drop Heartbreaker In Three Overtimes To 14th-Ranked Coastal Carolina
A five-yard touchdown run by Aundres Perkins in the third overtime period proved to be the difference as 14th-ranked Coastal Carolina posted the conference's second three-overtime victory of the day in a 27-21 victory over Liberty, Saturday evening, at Williams Stadium.
Earlier on the day, Gardner-Webb needed three next periods to post a 55-52 win over VMI earlier in the afternoon just over the mountains in Lexington, Va.
Solid defensive efforts on the part of both teams kept the game close throughout the contest with Liberty getting on the scoreboard first as senior Brock Farrel called his own number on a one-yard run up the middle with 33 seconds left in the first quarter to give Liberty a 7-0 lead. The Flames took advantage of a Coastal Carolina miscue on the drive as Liberty gained possession as senior C.J. Moore stripped Darnell Williams of the ball on the Coastal 22-yard line with Patrick Calvary picking up the loss ball.
The score remained the same until late into the second quarter as Farrel's pass attempt over the middle was picked off by Maurice Simpkins and returned to the Liberty 30-yard line with 52 seconds left before halftime.
Back-to-back pass plays over the middle got the Chanticleers inside the 10-yard line; however, the Flames defense held as Coastal Carolina had to settle for a field goal as Josh Hoke connected on a 25-yarder as time expired in the first half, allowing Liberty to hold a 7-3 edge at the intermission.
Neither team could move the ball over the start of the second half, until Coastal Carolina put together its longest drive on the evening as a 12-play effort got the Chanticleers deep into Liberty territory at the Liberty 10-yard line; however, the Flames defense withstood once again and forced the Chanticleers to settle for another three points with Hoke nailing a 27-yard field goal at the 3:33 mark of the third quarter, trimming the lead to 7-6.
However, unlike the first three quarters, the two teams combined for 29 points in the final quarter to make things interesting. The Flames got the scoring started as Farrel evaded several potential tacklers and found fellow senior Lauren Williams open downfield on a career-best 68 yard touchdown reception to give Liberty a 14-6 lead with 8:15 left in regulation.
The Chanticleers quickly answered back as on the first play of the ensuing drive Thigpen found Santini Washington open for a 55-yard gain and four plays later, Perkins rushed up the middle for a three-yard touchdown, while Thigpen completed the two-point conversion to knot the score at 14-14 with 6:28 left in the fourth.
The Flames failed to advance the ball on their next possession and were forced to punt, giving the Chanticleers the ball at their own 42-yard line with just over three minutes left to play. However, all that Coastal Carolina would need was 10 seconds to gain the lead as Thipgen connected on a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Simpson on the first play of the drive, giving the Chanticleers a 21-14 lead and seemingly all the momentum that they would need to secure the victory.
But the senior members of the Flames' squad, who were playing in their final game at Williams Stadium, wouldn't let the home careers end just yet as Farrel completed 5-of-5 passes and rushed for another 17 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 32 seconds left to tie the game at 21-21 at the end of regulation.
In the first overtime, both teams' kickers missed 40-plus yard field goal attempts as Hoke's 45-yard attempt hit the right upright, while Ben Beasley's 42-yard attempt fell just short, leaving the game tied after the first overtime period.
On the second play of the next overtime period, Farrel completed a pass to Wynton Jackson; however, the wideout fumbled the ball and Simpkins recovered the miscue, giving the Chanticleers the chance to seal the victory. However, Coastal Carolina could only advance the ball a few yards, leaving Hoke with a 37-yarder to seal the win, but the kicker missed his second-straight attempt with this one sailing wide left to send the game into the third overtime session.
Coastal Carolina kept the ball on the ground for four-straight plays, which worked well for the visitors as on the fourth play, Perkins rushed up the middle for a five-yard score, giving the Chanticleers a 27-21 edge after a failed two-point conversion.
The Flames seemed like their were going to answer back as 16-yard pass play to Brandon Turner and an eight-yard run by Terrell gave Liberty the ball on the one-yard line. But the Chanticleers' defense stepped up as Farrel's attempt up the middle wasn't enough and after a five-yard false start penalty set Liberty back, Farrel was almost sacked and attempted to throw the ball away, but his pass was intercepted in the endzone by Quinton Teal to give the Chanticleers the victory.
On the day, Patrick Hall led the Chanticleers with 81 yards rushing, while Perkins recorded two rushing touchdowns and 40 yards. Farrel rushed for a career-best 92 yards and two scores, followed by Terrell's 46 yards on 18 carries. Thigpen completed 15-of-31 pass attempts for 241 yards and a touchdown, while Farrel threw for a career-best 218 yards and a score.
Defensively, Coastal Carolina's Jamar Leath and Liberty's Moore paced all defenders with 15 tackles each, while Simpkins and Anthony Steele added 12 stops for the Chanticleers and Manny Rojas and Brandon Duke chipped in with 10 stops each for the Flames.
Both teams continue Big South Conference action next week as Liberty starts a season-ending three-game road swing with a 6 p.m. contest at Gardner-Webb, while Coastal Carolina returns to Conway, S.C., to host VMI at 12:30 p.m.