Red-shirt senior Richard Cue threw for a game-high 178 yards, while teammate Tyler McDonald grabbed four catches for 108 yard and a touchdown in a tough, 27-20 loss to #25 Coastal Carolina Saturday at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium.
"It was a tough loss, a devastating loss, but it's just first game of the season," said SC State head coach Buddy Pough. "I take my hat off to them (Coastal Carolina). They seemed to be able to make the big plays when we couldn't"
The offensive attack was almost dead even on both sides of the ball, with the Chanticleers finishing with 369 yards total offense and the Bulldogs with 365. Senior running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (6-2, 230) led the rushing attack on the day for CCU with 21 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Red-shirt freshman running back and University of Kentucky transfer Justin Taylor led the way for SC State with 24 rushes for 92 yards and a score. Junior linebacker Justin Hughes and senior Joe Thomas spearheaded the defense with a game-high nine tackles each.
The Chanticleers took an early 9-6 lead on a 36-yard field goal from junior Alex Catron (6-2, 170) at the 13:35 mark in the second quarter. Taylor responded with a 25-yard punch to put the Bulldogs ahead 13-9 with 10:34 remaining in the first-half. Catron connected on his second field goal of the day on a 32-yarder to give CCU within one, 13-12 with 0:50 seconds remaining in the half.
Cue responded with a 74-yard bomb to McDonald to open the third-quarter to give SC State a 20-12 advantage. Costly mistakes and errors resulted in a block punt by Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Quinn Backus, which resulted in a touchdown tied the game 20-20 at the 7:00 minute mark.
The Bulldogs just couldn't seem to get things going failing to score in the red zone and CCU taking full advantage, completing just their third 99-yard scoring drive in school history on 16 plays to go ahead 27-20.
Coastal would hold on to post their first victory of the season, while SC State looks to rebound after a tough loss.
Pough stated, "The mistakes were costly…the blocked field goal and our inability to get a score on short yardage situation really hurt us." "Then they come back and drive the ball 99 yards. I didn't think they could do that."
"It was good to see the return of our running game. Justin Taylor showed that he can be pretty good running back and both he and Julius Pendergrass ran hard." "I believe this team will get better, I believe these young men can get better."
South Carolina State returns to action on next week when they travel to Death Valley Saturday to face ACC foe Clemson Tigers in a tough non-conference matchup. Kick-off is 12 noon