During Coastal Carolina’s 12 consecutive days on the road, it appears the team’s coaching staff had some time to think of a play that could win a game – an unlikely play to Isaiah Likely.
With its starting senior quarterback out with an injury and its 16-point lead cut to two points, CCU dug deep into its playbook for some Chanticleer chicanery at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La., on Saturday night.
An end-around, reverse flea flicker culminated in a 29-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Bryce Carpenter to fellow freshman Likely that reestablished a two-score lead in the fourth quarter and helped the Chants defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 30-28.
The win is Coastal’s second since leaving campus on Sept. 11 prior to Hurricane Florence and subsequent flooding that has kept the Chants from returning. CCU defeated Campbell on Sept. 12 in Buies Creek, N.C., in what was scheduled as a home game.
“It’s a testament to our hard work and our focus,” senior running back Marcus Outlow told WRNN FM 99.5 after rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries Saturday. “. . . It’s a really big family and that’s the most important thing. So even though we were away from home and dealing with being on the road, it just was a matter of making sure we stayed together and kept the mission in clear sight.”
Coastal (3-1) has now won five of its last six games on the heels of a nine-game losing streak and is 1-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. Louisiana (1-2) is 0-1 in the conference.
Late luck played a role for the Chants as well.
With 2 minutes remaining and CCU facing a second-and-21 from its own 46, Torrance Marable gained 5 yards on a run and fumbled, but the ball took one bounce into the hands of freshman receiver Jaivon Heiligh who advanced it another 15 yards. A subsequent first down on a third-and-1 offside penalty on a Louisiana defensive lineman secured the win.
On Coastal’s razzle-dazzle play that was called by offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell, Marable took a handoff running left and pitched to Ky’Jon Tyler, who was running right and pitched back to Carpenter, who found a wide-open Likely with 9:08 remaining for his second career catch.
“They were overplaying us to one side,” CCU head coach Joe Moglia said. “They’ve seen us on film running the reverse in the past. So we kind of thought they’d be prepared for the reverse but they probably wouldn’t be prepared for the reverse pass, which was effective.”
Coastal lost senior starting QB Kilton Anderson, who entered the game with the nation’s third best Total Quarterback Rating behind only Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, early in the third quarter to an ankle injury, and Anderson watched the rest of the game on crutches on the sideline. He is believed to have a high ankle sprain.
Anderson was having another strong game, completing 7 of 11 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 68 yards on six carries in barely more than a half.
Carpenter was a perfect 5-for-5 for 82 yards and a touchdown and rushed five times for 8 yards in relief. A 15-yard completion to freshman Jeremiah Miller on a third-and-10 at the CCU 25 with less than 4 minutes to play kept Coastal’s game-winning drive alive after Louisiana cut the lead to two points on a 15-yard Keenan Barnes reception with 5:20 left.
“I thought he did a good job of handling himself under pressure,” Moglia said. “I think he made a couple critical throws there at the end when we needed to keep running the clock. He’s a good athlete. I think one of the things I feel good about with coach Chadwell . . . is that we don’t ask him to do a lot of things that he’s not capable of doing. He’s got his own package and he’s effective with that.”
Coastal scored the final 16 points of the first half to take a 16-7 lead into halftime on a 50-yard Massimo Biscardi field goal, 2-yard TD run by Marcus Outlow and 31-yard TD catch by Ky’Jon Tyler with just 4 seconds remaining in the half. The Chants drove 68 yards in 24 seconds for the score.
After Anderson was injured on a 59-yard run to the 1 to set up Outlow’s second TD run, the Ragin Cajuns scored twice in the next five minutes on runs of 30 yards by Elijah Mitchell and 61 by Raymond Calais to pull within two with 8:30 left in the third quarter.
But Coastal was able to hold Louisiana off with a trick play, clutch plays by Carpenter and a little luck.
Though they won’t be allowed on campus through at least Friday, the team is flying back to the Myrtle Beach area from Lafayette, and players who have on-campus housing will be housed in area hotels.
“We’re really excited about being able to go home. We’ve been on the road now for 12 solid days,” Moglia said. “We’re still not going to be able to get on campus, and we’ve got a lot of other issues we’ve got to pay attention to, but it’s much better off doing what we’re doing back home than it is someplace else, although the people in Jacksonville could not have been more hospitable.”
Louisiana – Trey Ragas 3-yard run (Kyle Pfau kick), 6:13
CCU – Massimo Biscardi 50-yard field goal, 2:31
CCU – Marcus Outlow 2-yard run (Biscardi kick), 8:14
CCU – Ky’Jon Tyler 31-yard pass from Kilton Anderson (kick missed), :04
CCU – Outlow 1-yard run (Biscardi kick), 13:23
Louisiana – Elijah Mitchell 30-yard run (Pfau kick), 11:29
Louisiana – Raymond Calais 61-yard run (Pfau kick), 8:30
CCU – Isaiah Likely 29-yard pass from Bryce Carpenter (Biscardi kick), 9:08
Louisiana – Keenan Barnes 15-yard pass from Andre Nunez (Pfau kick), 5:20