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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia was out to win a football game. And even earning the Big South Conference championship doesn't make the Chanticleers' blowout loss at South Carolina hurt any less.
Coastal Carolina gave up touchdowns on South Carolina's first six possessions in a 70-10 loss at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. By halftime, though, the Chants learned of Liberty's 56-14 rout of Charleston Southern that handed them the Big South's FCS playoff spot.
"What happened with Charleston Southern and Liberty was fortuitous for us because we get the automatic bid for the league, but we were going to be going to the playoffs anyway," said Moglia, the one-time CEO of TD Ameritrade. "What happened over there has nothing to do with what happened over here. What happens today stings and that doesn't take it that away. What will take way some of the sting is if we're successful next week."
Coastal Carolina finds out its playoff plans when the FCS pairings come out Sunday. It'll probably take his mind off his team's performance. The Chanticleers (10-2) were held to a season-low 294 yards and tailback Lorenzo Taliaferro ended with 21 yards rushing. He came in fifth in the FCS with 1,466 yards and 23 touchdowns.
"They beat us today," Moglia said. "I think as a team we understood what we had to do to have a shot in the fourth quarter. We didn't get that done."
Coastal quarterback Alex Ross heard about Liberty's win after halftime. He said that's what he and his teammates will concentrate on moving forward.
"We will put this game behind us and focus on this week," he said.
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw passed for a touchdown and ran for a score in less than a quarter of work and No. 12 South Carolina scored the most points in Steve Spurrier's nine seasons as coach.
The Gamecocks (9-2) scored on their first six possessions and surpassed their output from a 69-24 win over Troy in 2010. And it came with South Carolina resting several starters for rival Clemson next Saturday night, including defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles and the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher in Mike Davis.
Shaw has been banged up this year, too, but doesn't want to miss any more moments in his senior season and led the Gamecocks to their record 17th straight game at home. He improved to 25-5 as a starter, moving past Todd Ellis' wins mark from 1986-89.
Shaw was happy with the record and even happier about the offense putting up a season high 639 yards.
"Obviously, this is pretty special to me and just the way we did it, too," Shaw said. "The whole offense played well."
For Spurrier, it was his 75th win in nine seasons as Gamecocks coach and moved him to 48-0 against teams from outside BCS automatic qualifying conferences.
"We wish Coastal the very best in the playoffs. From what I heard, they're the Big South champions," Spurrier said. "That's something we hope to do someday. And we're still alive this year, so who knows."
The Chants had hopes of putting on a strong show against South Carolina, but got overwhelmed from the start as the Gamecocks scored touchdowns on their first six possessions.
Coastal Carolina managed just 39 yards the first three times it had the ball and trailed 28-0 in the first quarter.
Shaw took care of things early, connecting with Shaq Roland for a 35-yard TD less than six minutes in. Reserve tailback Jamari Smith scored on a 3-yard run a series later and Shaw had a 1-yard scoring run set up by Coastal's fumble — the Chanticleers came in with only three fumbles lost all year — to lead 21-0.
Coastal Carolina finally broke through for points late in the half, quarterback Alex Ross scrambling free of defenders on fourth down and connecting with Lorenzo Taliaferro for a 1-yard touchdown pass.
"At the end of the first quarter when it was 28-0, we realized these guys were better than Presbyterian," Moglia said.
Moglia pulled many starters in the second half to rest for the playoffs, something he said he'd do if things got out of hand.