Knowing they were facing the top offense in terms of yards per game in the Sun Belt Conference, Coastal Carolina’s coaches were prepared to take some chances in an effort to keep up Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.
The Chanticleers rolled the dice a couple times in the first half of its 44-16 loss but came up empty on both occasions.
After CCU’s first score cut a deficit to 14-6, Arkansas State was flagged for an offside penalty on the point-after attempt and the Chants opted to go for two from the 1-yard line. Quarterback Fred Payton was stood up at the goal line on a quarterback draw and the attempt failed.
The Chants attempted an onside kick of sorts on the ensuing kickoff, but it was thwarted by a heads-up play by Justin McInnis.
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The ball was popped into the air off the tee toward McInnis about 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, and CCU’s Malcolm Williams jumped in front of McInnis to catch the ball. But McInnis had signaled for a fair catch and was not afforded the opportunity to make the catch, so CCU was penalized 15 yards for interference, and Arkansas State took advantage with a short 41-yard touchdown drive.
“Going into the game, we thought they were a very talented team. They’ve got some very good individual athletes,” CCU head coach Joe Moglia said. “. . . We knew going into the game that we were going to have to take some chances, we knew we were going to have to fake, we knew we were going to have to be more aggressive going for two points. We thought we needed to do some of those things. They weren’t that effective, but we needed to do that.”
Arkansas State got creative with play calling as well.
The Red Wolves tried to catch Coastal off guard with a trick play with 21 seconds remaining and the ball on their 42.
They lined up in a bunch formation as if to take a knee and run the clock out, but Hansen handed off to diminutive running back Warren Wand, who was in the midst of the bunch, then ran to the right with another running back.
Wand hesitated behind the offensive line before running to the left and gaining 19 yards. The play helped Arkansas State get into field goal range but Blake Grupe missed a 32-yard field goal on the half’s final play.
Short a quarter
Coastal Carolina’s leading rusher did not play in the first quarter, and it was intentional.
Marcus Outlow was held out of action for the quarter because of a pair of posts on his Twitter account following last week’s 23-7 loss to Appalachian State, according to Moglia.
He had 5 carries for 12 yards last week and noted the number of carries in a post followed by another post with emojis that appeared to question his lack of touches. Outlow has 661 yards rushing on 133 carries this season in offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell’s spread option offense.
“In the private conversations I’ve had with his position coach and private conversations he had also with Jamey, he said that’s not how you air your laundry,” Moglia said. “. . . If he had an issue with how many carries he had, and this is the whole philosophy of the program, go talk to your coach.”
Outlow finished with two carries for no yards, one catch for 5 yards and a punt return for a loss of a yard with a fumble that was recovered by Coastal.
Moglia said Outlow was dinged up in the game and that further limited his playing time Saturday, and he generally praised the graduate student and Boston College transfer who has been in the program two years.
“Marcus has done a great job for us, he’s been a great leader, and I think the world of him,” Moglia said. “. . . I think Marcus could have handled that a little bit better. That he didn’t start and didn’t play the first quarter, that’s not the end of the world.”
No further action?
Moglia expressed his displeasure with his team in the locker room following the game for what he perceived to be a lack of poise and discipline in the game.
He cited some players running from the sideline onto the field during a skirmish in the third quarter that resulted in unsportsmanlike penalties on both teams, and said after the game he didn’t anticipate player discipline this week for their behavior, though he said he would look at the game film.
“I don’t expect disciplinary action from what took place during the game,” Moglia said. “I know how I feel about what our standard is supposed to be. I’m going to handle that.”
Joining the action
With junior receivers Ky’Jon Tyler and Josh Anderson out Saturday because of injuries – Anderson has now missed a few games and Tyler was held out with a groin injury – a pair of sophomore receivers from South Carolina got a chance to make an impact Saturday.
Larry Collins Jr. of Hopkins had two catches for 45 yards, and T’Qele Holmes of Charleston was used for a reverse that lost three yards.
Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Miller paced the receivers with three catches for 59 yards. Running back C.J. Marable and tight end Isaiah Likely had a team-high four catches apiece for 33 and 13 yards, respectively. One of Likely’s receptions was for a touchdown.