CONWAY — After slow starts and humbling results the last two seasons against Big South Conference power Stony Brook, the Coastal Carolina football team found itself in the midst of an impressive upset bid well into the fourth quarter Saturday against the Seawolves.
But in the end, the outcome and the cause were all too familiar for the Chanticleers.
Senior Miguel Maysonet rumbled for a career-high 233 rushing yards – including 199 after halftime – to lead No. 11-ranked Stony Brook to a 27-21 win over the Chants at Brooks Stadium.
Maysonet, who rushed for 193 and 191 yards respectively the last two seasons against Coastal, had runs of 58 and 64 yards in the second half to power the Seawolves (6-1, 2-0 Big South) to victory and send the Chants (2-4, 0-1) to the first four-game losing streak in program history.
It’s been a grueling stretch of schedule for Coastal, which has played three ranked FCS teams and an FBS opponent in those last four games, and while this was a far more encouraging performance than the one the team gave two weekends ago at Appalachian State, what the Chants really could have used Saturday was a win.
“At the end of the day, it was both a missed opportunity and a good performance,” CCU head coach Joe Moglia said. “What I feel good about was the effort coming off what we had done against Appalachian State. I feel good about what that effort was, but at the end of the day, it is absolutely, positively a missed opportunity. You can not compete for a national championship, you can’t compete at the national level if you don’t win the games when you have the opportunity to be able to win the game.”
Coastal at least kept this one interesting to the end, though.
The Chants, who had taken the lead twice in the first half, got the ball back down six points with 4:21 left to play and started quickly moving down the field toward another potential go-ahead score.
But junior receiver Matt Hazel fumbled after a short reception and Stony Brook’s Dominick Reyes pounced on the loose ball at the Seawolves’ own 21 to more or less end the upset bid. The Chants would get one more turn on offense in the final minute, but went quietly with four incompletions.
“Very disappointing,” junior running back Travis Small said afterward. “I mean, we had plenty of opportunity to get the ball in the box.”
Hazel wasn’t available after the game, but it seemed he lost control of the ball trying to fight for extra yards on the play.
“The kid made a good move, second effort, ball goes on the grass – part of football,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said.
For all the justified talk about the might of Stony Brook’s proficient rushing attack – one which entered the day ranked fourth in the FCS at 298.2 yards per game – the Seawolves found their best success through the air in the first half. And Coastal, in turn, found itself in a competitive game at halftime with Stony Brook for the first time in three years after losing 42-0 last season on the road and being down 31-0 in the second quarter at home in 2010.
Then the Seawolves decided to unleash the full force of their ground game.
They opened the third quarter with a 13-play scoring drive in which Maysonet carried the ball eight times for 43 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown as he put Stony Brook up 21-14.
After Coastal tied the game early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Jeremy Height, Maysonet – the Big South’s all-time leading rusher – started the ensuing drive with a 64-yard run to the left side and soon found the end zone again on a 4-yard scamper. Stony Brook missed the extra point to lead 27-21, but that would be enough.
“He’s a great running back,” CCU sophomore safety Pernell Williams said of Maysonet. “I see why all the NFL guy are hyping him up because he’s a great running back.”
“He’s pretty good,” Priore said with a smile. “He’s pretty good. I’m proud of him.”
Coming off that humbling 55-14 loss two weekends ago at Appalachian State, Coastal had made a quick statement Saturday going 75 yards on its opening drive for an early go-ahead touchdown. The Chants picked up a gutsy fourth-and-one conversion from their own 34 on that drive, and senior quarterback Aramis Hillary finished it with a 24-yard touchdown hook-up to junior DeMario Bennett.
Stony Brook answered right away, though, with a 65-yard touchdown drive of its own. Senior Kyle Essington hit senior Jordan Gush in the back of the end zone for 10-yard scoring strike to tie the game.
The teams traded scores again in the second quarter – a 26-yard touchdown run by Height and an impressive 18-yard touchdown from Essington to senior Kevin Norrell, who turned back for the ball and seemed to haul the pass in with one hand – before the Chants set themselves up for a prime opportunity at the end of the half.
A 55-yard pass down the seam from Hillary to Hazel took the Chants to the Stony Brook 10-yard line, and they would eventually set up for a 25-yard field goal in the final seconds before halftime. But sophomore Alex Catron, who entered the day 6-of-7 on field goals, pulled it too far left, leaving the game tied at the time.
The Chants wouldn’t lead again, and although they made it interesting, they remain winless in five tries against the Seawolves.
“I think Stony Brook is, based on everything we’ve seen, truly one of the better teams in the country,” Moglia said.
As for Coastal, Hillary finished 23-of-36 passing for 271 yards and one touchdown, Bennett had seven catches for 91 yards, Hazel had six receptions for 98 yards and Height had a team-high 89 rushing yards to lead the Chants to a season-best 201 yards on the ground.
Fortunately for the Chants, this was the last ranked team on the schedule as they’ll look to snap their losing skid next week against a struggling VMI team.
“We only can control moving forward,” Small said. “We can’t control the past so we’ve just got to get our guys together and just move on.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.