LEXINGTON, Va. - On the strength of 172 total yards from quarterback Aramis Hillary and a defense that had five sacks, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defeated the VMI Keydets, 34-7, in Big South football action Saturday afternoon at VMI's Foster Stadium.
Hillary threw for 114 yards and ran for 58 before being pulled late in the third quarter, with Coastal (3-4, 1-1 Big South) holding a 28-0 lead. The Chanticleers would notch two fourth-quarter field goals to push the lead to 34-0, but VMI (2-5, 1-2 BSC) got on the board in the final minute to avert the shutout, as A.J. Augustine drove the Keydets 65 yards in 12 plays and found Phillip Pickens with a two-yard touchdown pass to account for the final margin.
The Keydets saw veteran defensive lineman Shawn Chapman post a career-high in tackles, as he tied for the team lead with 10, while Tyler Owens also notched a career-best in stops, notching nine. Safety Adam Morgan had 10 tackles as well, equaling his career set against Richmond in mid-September. Offensively, the touchdown was the first-such throw of Augustine's career, as well as the first touchdown reception for Pickens. Also, receiver Stefawn Ross had a career-high five receptions.
Coastal got on the board first, as after an exchange of punts, the Chanticleers went 68 yards in seven plays. The drive took just 2:02, as Hillary accounted for 50 of the 68 yards and Jeremy Height capped the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run, coming with 7:39 left in the first quarter. Alex Catron's point after made it a 7-0 contest.
That margin grew to 14-0 on the next Coastal drive. Once again, the push took just over two minutes, as the visitors drove 86 yards in just eight plays. A 27-yard Hillary to Akeem Wesley completion was the drive's key, and on the next play, Lorenzo Taliaferro carried the ball in from 16 yards out for the touchdown. Catron's extra point made a 14-0 game, and that would be the score after one quarter of play.
VMI forced a punt on the next Coastal possession, but the Chanticleers got the ball back with 11:51 left in the half. Hillary and Height factored in every play on the eight-play, 63-yard drive, while the Coastal quarterback finding DeMario Bennett for a 10-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead. From there, the game settled down a bit and neither team could find the scoreboard for the remainder of the half.
The first half saw Coastal outgain VMI 328-87, and post 18 first downs to six for the Keydets.
The Chanticleers added to their margin quickly in the second half. After forcing a punt from the VMI 30 on the first Keydet possesion, Tyler Watkins broke through the VMI line and blocked the attempt. The ball caromed toward the goal line, was picked up by Lorenzo Boyles at the four-yard line and run in for a touchdown, giving Coastal a 28-0 lead. That would prove to be the only score of the third quarter, as the two teams combined for just 140 total yards during those 15 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Catron hit a field goal from 30 yards out, before Grant Clayton added a second, that one coming from 29 yards with 4:58 left, to cap the Coastal scoring and make it a 34-0 contest. Augustine then relieved Eric Kordenbrock and led VMI on its longest drive of the day, a 65-yard march that included 18 yards rushing by the quarterback. Three straight completions ended the spurt, with Pickens' touchdown grab putting VMI on the board with 32 seconds remaining and also accounting for the final margin.
Coastal Carolina had 241 yards of total offense in the first quarter, as well as 14 first downs. Those numbers compared to 223 yards over the final three periods, with 11 first downs during that time. Height finished with 97 yards rushing for the visitors, who ran for 331 yards on the day, while James Rogers led VMI with six receptions. Kordenbrock was 20 for 34 for 198 yards and moved into fifth place on VMI's all-time passing yardage chart, while Augustine completed five of seven attempts for 38 yards on his drive.
VMI football will return to action next Saturday, as the Keydets travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. to face the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.
Quotes - VMI Head Coach Sparky Woods
"Congratulations to Coastal Carolina. They're a fast football team. They really did execute well and on the other hand, we did not. In the first quarter, offensively, we didn't do anything to help our football team. In the first quarter, we couldn't throw it well, we couldn't protect, couldn't run it even though we had numbers in the box and we couldn't catch the ball either."
On Coastal's Defense
"They have a good defense and they were in our face and we weren't able to take advantage behind them. We over threw a couple of balls and then we got hurried and had to take a sack. We weren't able to convert on a couple of early third downs."
"If you can stay close and stay in the mix, it changes things. They got a cushion of a lead and it allowed them to be very offensive on defense, really attack your blockers and mess with your protection a little bit. We had some opportunities early to create something but we were poor on first down."