Coastal Carolina’s Homecoming attendance of 13,004 on Saturday was the seventh-largest crowd in the history of Brooks Stadium, which was expanded to 15,000 seats prior to the 2017 season.
Appalachian State, which defeated Coastal 23-7, had a lot to do with that number, and the atmosphere in the stadium.
The Mountaineers travel well, and their vocal supporters took up about the left half of the home side bleachers. Black and gold garb was also interspersed with teal throughout other parts of the stadium, with the exception of the student section behind the north end zone, which was largely vacated after halftime.
“I think it’s fair to point out they travel well,” Coastal head coach Joe Moglia said. “They had a lot of people over there and they were loud. At the beginning of the game . . . you’re not supposed to come out at the same time. [But] we all came out at the same time, and the whole stadium kind of erupted. There was good enthusiasm, and they helped with that, though.
“. . . It was a good crowd tonight, they were enthusiastic. We’ve got to continue to do that, we’ve got to improve on that.”
Moglia was critical of the home team’s support in his postgame press conference and made a plea to the Grand Strand community and Coastal’s nearly 11,000 students.
“We need to have greater consistency,” Moglia said. “People in our community and our students, we represent our students, we represent our community, we represent our university, and everything we do is to put a team on the field that our university, our community, our students are going to be proud of. I think we need to do a better job of being supportive and appreciate that.”
He also addressed much of the crowd, particularly students, leaving the game early despite it being a one-score game into the fourth quarter.
“There are a lot of student bodies in college football across the country that tend to leave before the game is over,” Moglia said. “The reality is I don’t have any control over that. So that’s not something we can talk about, it’s not something we think about, it’s not something we can worry about.”
Saturday’s game was Coastal’s third at home this season, and it has home games in the next two weeks against Arkansas State and Georgia Southern. The announced attendance in the first two was 9,776 against Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 8 and 11,506 against Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 13.
Though the Chants dropped the first game Saturday of a three-game homestand, they are thankful to be staying home for an extended stretch.
The Chants played six of their first eight games on the road, a stretch that included three consecutive weeks displaced from campus because of Hurricane Florence and flooding, and a home game that was changed to a road game against Campbell.
“We’re about to embrace this,” junior tight end Shadell Bell said. “I mean we’ve been on the road, we’ve been in a million hotels in the past few months. But then again playing in front of a home crowd like this, they’re cheering us on win or lose . . . and the sense of pride playing on the teal is amazing.”
The Chants may have benefited in the long run from the road ordeal in terms of team camaraderie.
“I think whenever any organization, and in this specific case our football team, when you go through significant adversity it either brings you together or it separates you,” Moglia said. “I think with regard to what we went through that no one else went through was the three weeks in evacuation mode. That was not easy, that was a tough thing to go through, but our guys really did a good job with that. . . . You start to get on each other’s nerves a little bit, but I don’t think there is any question we are closer together because of what we have gone through.”
How it is done
Appalachian State put on a punting clinic, utilizing two punters for specific situations.
Clayton Howell was used when the Mountaineers wanted a long punt and he averaged 47.3 yards on three punts with one inside the CCU 20. Xavier Subotsch was used when they wanted to pin CCU deep, and he averaged 36 yards on two punts that were both downed inside the CCU 2.
“We work very hard on special teams and we normally hold our own on special teams, today though they did a phenomenal job getting the ball to drop inside the 5-yard line and making plays like on their pooches,” Moglia said.
Senior running back Marcus Outlow, Coastal’s leading rusher on the season with 661 yards on 131 carries, took to Twitter on Saturday night to express his thoughts about the five carries he received for 12 yards against the Mountaineers.
His first tweet stated the five carries — which it appears was deleted Sunday — and a second followed with a crying laughing emoji and man shrugging his shoulders emoji.
The five rushes were second on the team to quarterback Fred Payton’s nine, and Outlow was also second on the team in receptions with four for 20 yards.
The Chants ran only 52 plays, including 26 rushes, compared to 75 plays for Appalachian State.