Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia noted this past week that the Chanticleers had cut down considerably on their mistakes this season, most notably committing about 60 percent fewer penalties per game compared to last season.
The Chants reverted back to their mistake-prone ways for at least one night on Saturday in a 45-20 loss to Louisiana-Monroe at Brooks Stadium.
Coastal lost two fumbles and quarterback Bryce Carpenter threw an interception in the end zone when the Chants were driving midway through the fourth quarter.
Coastal also had eight penalties for 71 yards, many of them costly at inopportune times. Entering the game, Coastal was averaging one turnover per game and 4.4 penalties for 44.8 yards per game. The Chants’ 22 penalties through five games were 20 fewer than their opponents and ranked 12th in FBS for fewest penalties on the season.
“We put the ball on the ground a couple times and we had penalty after penalty, which certainly can’t help us,” Moglia said. “To maximize your potential you have to be disciplined enough to know what you’re doing and know what you’re doing under severe pressure. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Comparatively, ULM had one turnover and two penalties for 30 yards Saturday.
Coastal had a first-and-goal at the ULM 4-yard line while already down 14-0 on its third drive, but a false start penalty contributed to the Chants having to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Massimo Biscardi.
A false start on the second possession led to a punt, a holding penalty negated a 13-yard Marcus Outlow run to the ULM 42 and Ky’Jon Tyler fumbled on the next play, and a holding call negated a 6-yard run to the ULM 28 on the drive that ended with an interception.
Coastal was lined up for a two-point conversion while trailing 24-19 in the third quarter but settled for an extra point after a false start penalty.
In addition, Malcolm Williams was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following a catch for a first down.
“Some of the mistakes we had tonight we shouldn’t have had,” Moglia said.
Playing from behind
Coastal has trailed in the first quarter in all six of its games this season.
Saturday it was unable to come back from an early 14-0 deficit, never taking a lead against Louisiana-Monroe.
Five of Coastal’s six opponents have scored first. CCU opened the scoring against UAB before falling behind 21-7, then rallying for a 47-24 win.
“We’ve got to be able to take literally one play and one series at a time, and if we’re effective early on in the game that’s just going to make us more effective over the span of the entire game,” Moglia said. “If we’re not effective we have to fix the things that we’ve had troubles with, we have to make our adjustments and be able to bring it back and do what we need to get done.
“What we’re trying to do is be consistent in our execution.”
Moglia attributed having fewer scholarships as one reason for the slow starts.
The Chants have just 70 scholarships to offer this year compared to 85 for their established FBS opponents as the program finishes its move up from the FCS level.
“We have plenty of guys on the team but we don’t have quite the depth that a lot of teams we’re playing against do,” Moglia said. “So when we go against the scout teams, they’re giving us a good look and they’re working hard, but then we go in a game and that’s a different speed, and it takes a little while to adjust to that. Now that’s no excuse. That’s too bad, you’ve got to be able to do that, but that would be one of the reasons.”
On the road again
Coastal played just its second home game of the season Saturday, and its life on the road returns for another two weeks.
The Chants travel to Massachusetts next Saturday and Georgia State on Oct. 27 before a three-game home stand from Nov. 3-17 features games against Appalachian State, Arkansas State and Georgia Southern.
Coastal played one of its scheduled home games against Campbell on Sept. 12 in Buies Creek, N.C., because of Hurricane Florence, so the Chants will play just two of their first eight games at home.
“There is still a lot that we can accomplish and get out of the season,” freshman quarterback Bryce Carpenter said. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time and learn from stuff like this and just continue to move forward.”