BOONE, N.C. The same Coastal Carolina football team that challenged till the end with an FBS opponent last week was effectively out of the game by the opening minutes of the third quarter Saturday at No. 17-ranked Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers scored the first 28 points and never relented while rolling to a 55-14 win at Kidd Brewer Stadium. By the time it was finally over, the hosts had amassed 684 yards of offense -- 90 more than any team had ever tallied against Coastal -- while more than doubling the Chanticleers’ production.
Simply put, Coastal’s third-straight loss in the midst of this daunting stretch of schedule was every bit as disappointing as its upset bid last week at Toledo was impressive, and as the team now heads into a well-timed bye week, it has plenty of concerns to address before the start of Big South Conference play.
“To come out here and play as ineffectively as we did basically on both sides of the ball was a very big disappointment,” CCU head coach Joe Moglia said. “We’ve said from the very beginning that we’ve only got one mission and it’s to put a team on the field that Coastal Carolina’s going to be proud of. I think we gave a good effort, but Coastal Carolina shouldn’t be proud of the outcome of today’s game and nobody connected with the football program should be either.”
That goes without saying, of course.
Senior Steven Miller rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries while averaging 11.9 yards per attempt and needed only one fourth quarter touch to become the first Appalachian State running back since 2005 to top 200 yards on the ground. He also did the honors of effectively putting the game out of reach just minutes into the third quarter.
After closing the gap somewhat with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, Coastal (2-3) received the opening kickoff of the second half while looking to sustain some momentum and perhaps climb back into the game. Instead, the Chants punted after three unsuccessful plays, and the Mountaineers (3-2) scored on the first play of their ensuing drive as Miller burst through a hole in the defense for a 75-yard touchdown scamper to push the Appalachian State lead to 41-14.
Coastal didn’t score again while the Mountaineers tacked on a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter to add to their already dominant effort.
Penn State’s 594 yards against the Chants in 2008 had stood as the previous high for an opponent, and in claiming that top spot Appalachian State now has three of the top-six offensive outputs all-time against Coastal while winning all three meetings between the teams by at least 17 points.
“I’d say we played well,” Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said afterward. “We have huge respect for Coastal. I can’t tell you how hard we practiced and prepared for these guys. We had a hot hand today. I would like to say we were prepared.”
It showed. The question was whether the Chants were prepared for the looks the Mountaineers showed offensively.
Appalachian State ran on seven of its first nine plays to open the game -- including gains of 9, 14, 13 and 11 -- while gashing the defense down the field to set up junior quarterback Jamal Jackson’s 5-yard touchdown run. That set the tone as the Mountaineers ran at will for most of the first half, utilizing misdirection reads, reversing field for key gains and capitalizing with a touch of trickery here and there on the way to that big early lead.
Junior Johnnie Houston intercepted Jackson on the next Mountaineers’ drive and Coastal took over at the Appalachian State 41, but the Chants stalled after three plays and were forced to punt. Sophomore Austin Cain pinned the hosts at their own 3, but that didn’t matter as Miller opened the drive with a 28-yard run and Jackson followed on the next play with a 69-yard touchdown pass to freshman Sean Price as he got wide open down the middle and raced untouched into the end zone.
A 23-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to sophomore tight end Drew Bailey accounted for the third Mountaineers’ score of the first quarter and a 3-yard touchdown run by Miller helped make it 28-0 with 12:32 left in the half.
Moglia and CCU defensive coordinator Clayton Carlin both insisted they weren’t surprised or caught off guard by anything Appalachian State did offensively.
“There were a couple new wrinkles they had in, but we’ve just got to do things better,” Carlin said. “We’ve got to look at what we’re doing and our personnel, and I’ve got to put our guys in a better position to succeed. That comes down to me. So we’ll take a good, long, hard look at the film and go from there.”
Senior cornerback Tre Henderson said the defense suffered from mental errors and not being on the same page.
“We have a lot of communication issues and people not really communicating plays and calls and just certain things like that,” Henderson said. “But it’s just small things that we can adjust really easily. It’s just that we’ve got to be committed to adjusting those things.”
If the Chants had any hope of at least softening the disparity on the scoreboard in the second half, it came when Henderson returned a kickoff 87 yards to the Appalachian State 13 early in the fourth quarter. But they turned the ball over two plays later on a fumble by junior reserve Bucky Kennedy.
Yeah, it was that kind of night for Coastal.
“We’re highly disappointed,” said senior quarterback Aramis Hillary, who finished 15-of-30 passing for a season-low 145 yards and two touchdowns. “It wasn’t the performance that we’re used to. We’ve got to get better.”
After losing to two ranked FCS teams and FBS foe Toledo the last three weeks, the Chants will now hope to regroup over their bye week before another stern challenge against Big South favorite Stony Brook -- which just so happens to boast a pretty potent rushing attack of its own.
“We really need some time to work on some things and pull together right before the conference [schedule] comes around because it’s no easy road from here,” Henderson said. “... Hopefully we can come together at the right time.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.