Dec 17, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall (10) attempts a pass against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the second half of the 2021 Cure Bowl game at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Coastal Carolina rallies to beat Northern Illinois in Cure Bowl

Coastal Carolina won a wild 47-41 game over Northern Illinois in the Cure Bowl on Friday in Orlando, Fla., after Northern Illinois’ last-ditch play came up short.

After trailing 41-33 in the fourth quarter with another opportunity slipping away, the Chanticleers (11-2) ripped off 14 unanswered points and pulled off a stop on the final play of the game to claim its first bowl victory in school history.

The Huskies snapped the ball from the Coastal Carolina 8-yard line with seven seconds remaining, and wide receiver Miles Joiner failed to get out of bounds after he caught quarterback Rocky Lombardi’s pass.

Time expired before Lombardi was able to get the offense back to the line of scrimmage before another snap.

The game-winning touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from Grayson McCall to Braydon Bennett with 6:40 remaining in the game, the first offensive play for the Chanticleers after they stopped Northern Illinois on a fourth-and-1 attempt.

McCall finished the game 22-of-30 passing for 315 yards and four touchdowns, and Bennett rushed for another 108 yards and two scores.

Northern Illinois found most of its success for the game on the ground with 335 total rushing yards, highlighted by Jay Ducker and Antario Brown going for 146 and 105 yards, respectively. Lombardi had 66 rushing yards and touchdown on eight attempts, also throwing for 181 yards.

The game featured seven lead changes and five in the second half, with neither team holding a lead larger than eight points. Northern Illinois scored 10 straight points to turn a 33-31 deficit into a 41-33 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Chanticleers scored a touchdown less than three minutes later to pull within two points. McCall hit Isaiah Likely for a 40-yard strike.

A failed two-point conversion attempt briefly kept the lead on the Northern Illinois sideline, but Lombardi’s unsuccessful third-down quarterback sneak and Trayvo Rudolph’s failed run on fourth down gave the Chanticleers the ball back in plus territory to lead to the deciding touchdown.

Likely led all players in receiving with seven catches, 96 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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