Norfolk, VA – Sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke proved why he deserves to be a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as he led the #4 seeded Old Dominion Monarchs over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in a shootout by a score of 63-35.
In a back-and-forth battle between Old Dominion (11-1, 7-1) and Coastal Carolina (8-5, 5-1) the Chanticleers were just not able to stop the number one ranked offense in the nation. Heinicke passed for 497-yards, had six passing touchdowns, and 45-yards rushing with two rushing touchdowns.
Matt Hazel was the standout player on the Coastal Carolina offense as the program participated in their first game in December in school history. Hazel had 9-recpetions for 155-yards on the way to two touchdowns. Much of Hazel’s yards came by making defenders miss and breaking the play up field for crucial yards-after-catch. Aramis Hillary finished the game with a career best 352-yards through the air and three passing touchdowns while adding one touchdown on the ground.
In the opening drive of the ball game the Chanticleers marched down the field in just over three minutes to take the 7-0 lead with a three-yard touchdown rush by Aramis Hillary.
The next three possessions for the Monarchs led to 21 unanswered points. Heinicke started the scoring with a two-yard touchdown pass to Blair Roberts on fourth down to tie the ball game at 7. The Monarchs came into the game with a 76% fourth down conversion rate. In their following possession Heinicke led his team 92-yards on 14-plays ending with a 7-yard touchdown rush. After an Aramis Hillary interception to start the second quarter, Heinicke again added to the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown rush putting the Monarchs up 21-7.
With just over three minutes left in the first half, the Chanticleers received the ball and were on the move looking to tie the ball game at 28. A huge 28-yard pass from Hillary to Hazel brought the Chants down to the Monarchs’ 3-yard line. With five seconds left in the half, Coach Moglia elected to go for the touchdown instead of settling for three points but Marcus Whitener was stuffed at the goal line to end the half.
The third quarter produced more of the same for both offenses as each team put up 14 points. In the opening drive of the second half, Heinicke connected with Larry Pinkard for a 50-yard touchdown pass putting ODU up 35-21. Hillary and the Chanticleers answered right back with an 11-yard touchdown pass to DeMario Bennett.
On the following possession Jonnie Houston, who had a tremendous performance in the first round matchup versus Bethune-Cookman University, forced Tyree Lee to fumble the ball giving the Chants great field possession. The turnover led to an 18-yard Travis Small touchdown to tie the game at 35. From there on out the Monarchs would not look back, scoring on their next four possessions.
Old Dominion will look ahead to next week’s matchup versus Georgia Southern who defeated Central Arkansas in the second round. As for the Chanticleers, the future of the program under Coach Moglia looks very bright.
Written by, Tom Michienzi. Tom is a producer for ESPN Radio 100.3'The Team' and the beat report for Coastal Carolina Football for ESPN 100.3 and TheDigitel Myrtle Beach. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TJM_three or for questions call 774-254-4165