Osharmar Abercrombie rushed for a career-high 149 yards and scored twice to lead Coastal Carolina to a 38-28 victory over UMass in the Chanticleers’ first game as members of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Sun Belt Conference.
The game Saturday evening was played before a CCU-record 13,274. The win was also CCU’s first over an FBS program, going 0-7 in such games in this the 15th year of Chanticleer football.
Abercrombie, who had his second career 100-yard game, averaged 8.8 yards on his 17 carries. Overall, Coastal Carolina rushed for 342 yards.
Coastal was forced to punt on its opening drive, but the defense created a turnover early on UMass’s opening drive and gave the Chants the ball on the UMass 17. Four plays later, Dalton Demos crashed his way up the middle to give the Chants a 7-0 lead with 8:21 left in the opening quarter.
The Minutemen answered right back with a four-play, 72-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7. Andrew Ford connected with tight end Adam Breneman for gains of 37 and 14 yards before Marquis Young capped the drive with a four-yard rush around left end.
After the teams traded punts, Coastal regained a seven-point advantage, 14-7, with 47 seconds left in the first quarter as Demos kept the ball on a misdirection play and ran untouched 22 yards to the end zone.
UMass once again tied the game, 14-14, with 10:37 left in the second quarter as Ford hit Andy Isabella in the right corner for a 21-yard touchdown.
Late in the second quarter, Coastal made three big stops, including sacks from Myles White and Tarron Jackson to force UMass to punt from its own one. Abercrombie had 17-yard run and later scored from four yards out to give Coastal a 21-14 lead with 51 seconds left before the break.
The Minutemen opened the second half with a nine-play, 79-yard scoring drive to knot the game at 21-21. Ford and Breneman for 19 yards during the drive and Ford scored on a quarterback keeper from nine yards out.
On the ensuing drive, Coastal got runs of 25 yards from Alex James and 17 yards by Abercrombie but the drive stalled. However, Evan Rabon came on and split the uprights from 46 yards out to give CCU a 24-21 advantage. The field goal tied for the ninth-longest in school history.
After a UMass punt and 18-yard return by Chris Jones, Marcus Outlow broke off a 26-yard run. The Chants benefitted from a facemask penalty on third down to keep the drive alive. On the next play, Keane found Jones for a 13-yard score to put the Chants up 31-21 at the 4:48 mark of the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Coastal took over and drive 89 yards in eight plays to take a 38-21 lead. The Chants took 4:04 off the clock thanks to runs of 14 and 45 yards by Abercrombie. The senior then converted a 4th-and- 1, gaining five yards. On the next play, Abercrombie found paydirt.
UMass only needed 2:18 to cover 84 yards and make the score 38-28 with 1:10 left in the game, Marquis Young scored a one-yard rushing TD and the big play on the drive was a 40-yard completion from Ford to Andy Isabella.
Coastal will have a bye next Saturday (Sept. 9) and return to action Sept. 16 at UAB.
-per CCU Athletics