GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Aramis Hillary's 3-yard touchdown run with 1:32 remaining in the game broke a tie and lifted Coastal Carolina to a 30-23 victory over Furman in the 2011 season opener for both teams Saturday evening at Brooks Stadium.
With the game tied 23-23, the Chanticleers took over possession at their own 29 following a Furman punt and covered 71 yards in nine plays for the game's decisive score. Hillary completed a pair of passes for 24 yards, and Travis Small ran three times for 25 yards in the game winning drive.
Furman's bid to tie the contest ended on downs at its own 32.
"Coastal Carolina did a good job of controlling the football tonight and driving it there at the end to win the game," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler following his collegiate debut. "We did some things well, but we obviously have some things to work on to get better as a football team."
Hillary converted 10-of-13 passes for 124 yards and ran 16 times for 67 yards and two touchdowns to pace CCU, which posted a 426-358 advantage in total offense and fashioned a 13-minute advantage in time of possession, running 81 plays to Furman's 58.
Furman was paced by quarterback Chris Forcier and running back Jerodis Williams. Forcier, who missed the final nine games a year ago with an injury, completed 14-of-20 passes for 150 yards and ran eight times for 50 yards before exiting the contest late in the third quarter with cramps. Williams recorded the first 100-yard rushing performance of his career by running 16 times for 141 yards three scores.
Furman tied the game at 23-23 on its final snap of the third period when Williams rolled around right end on a toss sweep play and raced down the sideline on a 68-yard touchdown run.
From that point, however, Furman's offense struggled, managing only one first down and 20 total yards in the fourth quarter.
Coastal Carolina was forced to punt on its first two possession of the final period, and the Chanticleers failed to take advantage of the game's only turnover, a fumble by Furman's Tyler at the Paladin 27, by missing a 17-yard field goal with 5:21 remaining.
The Chanticleers opened the game's scoring with a 15-play, 79-yard drive that ended on Hillary's 4-yard scoring run.
Furman used a 50-yard kickoff return by Sederrik Cunningham to the CCU 39 to get on the board, which it did seven plays later on a Williams 5-yard run.
Coastal Carolina went up 16-6 with a 24-yard Grant Clayton field goal and 19-yard touchdown strike from backup quarterback Jamie Childers to Chris Presley.
The Paladins closed the first half with a 6-play, 32-yard drive that netted a Chas Short 37-yard field goal, the first of his career, to close to 16-9.
Furman tied the game in the third quarter with an 11-play, 76-yard drive that saw the Paladins overcome a pair of 10-yard holding penalties. Williams' 1-yard plunge at the 4:10 juncture knotted the game at 16-16.