ORANGEBURG — Quinn Backus’ blocked field goal return for a touchdown and a defensive goal-line stand were the game-changers Saturday as Coastal Carolina beat SC State 27 to 20 in a thriller.

Backus scooped up a third-quarter field goal try which was blocked by LaDarius Hawthorne and raced 56 yards to score. Dalton Demos tied it at 20 with a 2-point conversion run and CCU’s defense, largely manhandled in the first half, stepped up to shut down the Bulldogs’ next drive with a goal-line stand.

CCU scored 15 unanswered points, including a game-winning 99-yard drive capped by a 1-yard run by Lorenzo Taliafero, who also scored in the first quarter on a 3-yard Alex Ross pass.

SC State led 13-12 at the half and Richard Cue threw a 74-yard score to Tyler McDonald for a 20-12 lead. The Bulldogs were threatening to pull away when Hawthorne blocked the kick.

North Augusta graduate Matt Hazel had five catches for 37 yards for the Chanticleers.


CHARLESTON — Malcolm Dixon passed for two touchdowns and Zachary Frazier ran for two more to rally Charleston Southern past The Citadel 32-29 on Saturday night in the season opener for both schools.

Dixon threw touchdown passes to Kevin Glears and Donte Sumpter in the second quarter. Frazier scored both of his touchdowns in the third quarter to help Charleston Southern rally from a 16-point deficit.

The game was the seventh in the series between the city rivals. The Buccaneers snapped the Bulldogs’ four-game streak.

Charleston Southern’s Mitchell Cameron hit the winning field goal with 6:01 remaining and the Charleston Southern defense held the Buccaneers the rest of the way.

The Citadel rushed for 293 yards, including scoring runs by Ben Dupree, Aaron Miller and North Augusta grad Vinny Miller, who ran for 47 yards in the game.


BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. — Kenny Cook had two touchdowns and 113 yards receiving as Gardner-Webb beat Furman 28-21 in the season opener for both teams.

Cook’s diving 5-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter gave Gardner-Webb its only lead of the game and turned out to be the winning score.

Gardner-Webb trailed by 14 in the third quarter, but two short touchdown runs by Juanne Blount cut Furman’s lead to 21-20. Blount’s latter score was set up by an interception by Ivan Toomer. Blount finished with 158 yards rushing.

Lucas Beatty also had a big day for Gardner-Webb with the two touchdown passes and 276 yards. His 49-yard pass to Cook in the third helped set up Blount’s first touchdown.

Dillon Woodruff became the first true freshman quarterback to start an opener for Furman since 1956, but went just 7-for-16 with two interceptions.