GREENVILLE, S.C. -- DeMario Bennett hauled in a 26-yard touchdown strike in triple overtime and then tallied a two-point conversion on a reverse to help Coastal Carolina hold off Furman, 47-45, at rain-soaked Paladin Stadium Saturday evening.
After Bennett's tallies put Coastal Carolina up, 47-39, Furman's Hank McCloud scored on a 3-yard run to cut the lead to 47-45, but Furman true freshman quarterback Reese Hannon's game-tying, two-point pass attempt failed on the game's final play.
"We made a lot of plays to get back in the game, especially in the fourth quarter, but ultimately we didn't do enough things right to win the game," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler.
The contest marked Furman's first overtime game since 2007 and seventh in program history.
Nobody in attendance was even thinking overtime after Coastal Carolina's Alex Catron connected on a 35-yard field goal to give the Chanticleers a 22-12 lead with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. But Hannon, who entered the game late in the second quarter after starting quarterback Dakota Derrick was sidelined with an injured shoulder, rallied the Paladins in the waning minutes with a 21-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Snellings to cut it to 22-18 with 1:59 to go.
The Paladins then recovered the onside kick, and Hannon engineered a nine-play, 50-yard drive to put Furman ahead, 25-22, on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Culbreath with 40 seconds remaining.
Coastal Carolina answered with a pair of 20-yard pass completions to the Furman 28, where with five seconds to go Catron booted a 45-yard game tying field goal to send the game into overtime.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first two periods before the decisive third frame, when Coastal quarterback Aramis Hillary connected with Bennett for the touchdown, and Bennett followed with a reverse run around right end for the eventual game winning two-point play.
Hillary, who completed 20-of-27 passes, finished the game with 292 yards passing, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Hannon, from nearby Greer, S.C., threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns in his collegiate debut, completing 22-of-35 passes in the contest, with 34 attempts coming in the second half and in the overtime frames. He registered three of his four scoring strikes in the fourth quarter.
Miscues in special teams again proved costly as the Paladins fumbled a punt at their own 12 that led to a Coastal Carolina touchdown and 17-6 third quarter deficit. Then, in the fourth quarter after slicing the lead to 17-12, the Paladins yielded a 100-yard return for defensive extra point and 63-yard return on the subsequent kickoff return, which led to 35-yard Chanticleer field goal and 22-12 advantage. The Paladins' woes continued with a blocked PAT after cutting the lead to 22-18 with two minutes to go.
Its start delayed 14 minutes to a pre-game storm, the contest hardly had the makings of a 92-point affair. Coastal Carolina grabbed a 10-0 first quarter lead with a Hillary 1-yard run and Catron 38-yard field goal, his first of three in the contest.
Furman used a pair of Ray Early field goals from 37 and 41 yards to cut the lead to 10-6, but the Paladin offense managed just 103 total yards in the first half, which saw Derrick exit the game with a brusied shoulder approximately two minutes before intermission.
Coastal Carolina's Quinn Backus pounced on a fumbled punt at the Furman 12 in the third quarter, and six plays later Lorenzo Taliaferro bulled into the end zone from a yard out to stretch the Chanticleers' lead to 17-6.
The fourth quarter outburst help Furman post a 439-404 margin in total offense. Jerodis Williams led all rushers with 15 carries 85 yards and a touchdown. Will King caught a career high nine passes for 116 yard and a score, and Ryan Culbreath claimed a new career high with six catches for 78 yard and two touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Matt Solomon's game high 15 stops also marked a career high.
The Paladins tallied four sacks in the contest.