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FCS 5th-Ranked Coastal Carolina Holds Off Furman In Season Opener, 38-35

Ernie Cain
Ernie Cain

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Alex Ross passed for 328 yards and two touchdowns to Bruce Mapp to lead FCS fifth-ranked Coastal Carolina to a 38-35 win over Furman in the season opener for both schools Saturday night at Paladin Stadium.

Ross, a senior, completed 27-of-36 passes, including touchdown strikes of 11 and 24 yards to Mapp, whose second scoring grab came midway through the fourth quarter to give the Chanticleers (1-0) a 35-27 lead.

The Chanticleers took advantage of an interception at the Furman 25 to stretch their advantage to 38-27 with a 29-yard Ryan Granger field goal with four minutes remaining, and then held off the Paladins, who cut it to 38-35 on a Reese Hannon 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Snellings and a successful two-point conversion. Furman's comeback bid ended on the next play, however, as Alex Scearce pounced on an onside kick with just over a minute to go.

Hannon, making his first game appearance since suffering a season ankle injury in the Paladins' 2014 season opener, passed for a school record 365 yards and registered another school standard with 400 yards in total offense while also throwing a pair of touchdowns for the Paladins (0-1).  The Greer, S.C., native completed 27-of-41 pass attempts but suffered a pair of interceptions.

"We made some mistakes you can't afford to make against a good team," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler.  "We have five, maybe six motion penalties and two personal foul penalties on one drive that gave them 30 extra yards. Then we gave up the long kick return, mishandled an extra point, and burned some timeouts that I wish we didn't have to use.  A lot of that stuff we've got to get cleaned up, but I like the fact that we kept coming back and made a lot of plays, just not enough of them and not as many as they did."

Furman compiled 525 yards in total offense to Coastal Carolina's 488 but lost for the sixth time in seven meetings to the Chanticleers, the six defeats coming by a combined total of 27 points.

An 11-yard Ross connection with Mapp staked Coastal Carolina to a 7-0 lead.

After Furman tied it a 7-7 on the first of three touchdown runs by Ernie Cain, Devin Brown took the ensuing kickoff and raced 100 yards untouched to the end zone for a 15-7 lead.

The Chanticleers pushed their advantage to 21-7 early in the second period on a D'Angelo Henderson 2-yard run.

Furman closed the first half in strong fashion with two more Cain scoring runs in the last three minutes to tie it a 21-21.  The senior fullback from Atlanta, Ga., bolted 35 yards up the middle to make it 21-14 with 2:38 to go, and then capped the Paladins' final possession of the first half, a six-play, 89-yard effort, with a 2-yard run set up by a 57-yard pass from Hannon to Logan McCarter and a 19-yard Hannon connection to Antonio Wilcox to the CCU 2.

Osharmar Abercrombie broke the tie in the third quarter with a 2-yard run, three plays after Henderson took a Ross pass and sprinted and cut his way on a 60-yard play to the Furman 12.

Furman cut it to 28-27 on Hannon's first touchdown pass of the game, a 33-yard hook-up with Andrej Suttles, but a mishandled snap on the extra point cost the Paladins a chance for the tie.

Coastal Carolina answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive on the ensuing possession that Ross ended when he lofted 24-yard a scoring pass to Mapp in the corner of the end zone for the 35-27 lead.

Both teams rushed for 160 yards with Henderson's 15-carry, 95-yard, one-touchdown effort leading the way.  He also topped the Chanticleers with seven catches for 129 yards.

Cain paced Furman with a career best 61 yards and the three touchdown runs.

Cory Magwood, last year's SoCon tackles leader, topped the Paladins with nine stops.

Furman plays at Virginia Tech next Saturday, with kickoff for the ESPN3 broadcast game set for 3:30 p.m. at Lane Stadium.  

Furman Notes:

The 38-35 loss to Coastal Carolina drops Furman to 1-6 in its series with the Chanticleers.  The two schools are scheduled to play Sept. 24, 2016, in Conway, S.C.

Quarterback Reese Hannon set new Furman single game records for passing yard (365) and total offense (400) against Coastal Carolina.  The 365 passing yard topped the previous standard of 356 held by two players: Cleve Hightower vs. Wofford (1969) and Chris Forcier vs. Samford (2011).  Hannon's 400 yards in total offense bested the previous record of 382 yards held by P.J. Blazejowski vs. The Citadel (2014).

Furman is 0-8 in its top eight passing games and just 2-8 in games featuring its 10 passing performances.

In passing for 365 yards against Coastal Carolina, Reese Hannon climbed from eighth to sixth on Furman's career passing ledger.  He now has 4,230 yards and surpassed both Clyde Hewell (1966-68, 3,993 yards) and Bobby Lamb (1982-85, 4,186 yards).

With six catches for 88 yards versus Coastal Carolina, senior wide receiver Jordan Snellings moved from 13th to 12th on Furman's career receptions ledger (now with 105 receptions) and from 18th to 17th in career receiving yards (1,327 yards).

Junior wide receiver Andrej Suttles' four catches for 69 yards vs. CCU upped his career totals to 95 receptions for 1,263 yards, moving him into a tie for 15th all-time in catches and 13th in career receiving yards at Furman.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information