ORLANDO, FL – Bowl season opened up in Orlando on Friday night with the 2021 Tailgreeter Cure Bowl. In this year’s Care Bowl, The Northern Illinois Huskies faced off against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
The game turned out to be a shootout with Coastal Carolina beating Northern Illinois 47-41 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL.
Chanticlleers (I know, but that’s Coastal Carolina’s team name) quarterback Grayson McCall had a strong night, with 22 -30 passing, 316 yards and 4 TD’s. He rushed for 40 yards as well, and kept up with the high scoring pace of the Huskies.
Northern Illinois QB Rocky Lombardi threw 20 for 33 passes for 181 yards and 2 TD’s. He also ran for 66 yards on 8 attempts for 1 touchdown.
Carolina’s Brandon Bennett had a big night, rushing for 108 yard and two touchdowns.
The game was a real back and forth shootout, with not a ton of defense asn this track meet just ran up and down the field, making for a thrilling matchup. The game ended with the Huskies at the Chanticleers 4.
The Huskies are on of the few teams that come from a winless season to win their conference the next year.
Coastal Carolina had a heartbreaking loss to Liberty in the Sun Belt Conference championship, giving them their Cure Bowl slot.
The Cure Bowl has always distinguished themselves as the “Bowl with a purpose”, working to raise money for breast cancer research.
In the inaugural Cure Bowl, a bowl-game charitable record of $1.15 million was presented to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by AutoNation and the Orlando Sports Foundation. It was the largest single bowl-game donation up to that point (12/19/15) directly to a charitable cause.
In the history of the Cure Bowl, a total of $3.88 million has been raised for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the highest-rated breast cancer research charity in the U.S.
Of this total donation, over $1.2 million has been directed by BCRF to Orlando-based cancer researcher Dr. Annette Khaled at the UCF College of Medicine. This shows the local impact that Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) has made within its community.
As for the game, the scoring continued into the last minutes of the game.
After Northern Illinois wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-1 run at the Huskies 34, McCall threw a shovel pass from the option to Bennett for a TD on the next play. He then connected with Isaiah Likely on a two-point conversion to make it 47-41 with 6:40 left.
Northern Illinois got the ball back at its own 13 with 2 1/2 minutes to play. Lombardi hit Miles Joiner for a 4-yard gain on fourth down to the Coastal Carolina 4 with 2 seconds remaining, but the Huskies couldn’t off another play.
Special shoutout to the U.S Military paratroopers who skydive into the stadium with a special game ball for the game in the pregame ceremonies. The NCAA approved the use of a football with pink laces for the opening kickoff. It was the first approval of its kind by the NCAA.