Coastal Carolina reacts to season-opening loss
The Jamey Chadwell era at Coastal Carolina got off to an exciting if not successful start Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.
Despite being outplayed in the second half, the Chanticleers recovered a late onside kick and had a chance to win or force overtime, but an interception at the Eastern Michigan 10-yard line with 30 seconds remaining allowed the Eagles to hold on for a 30-23 victory.
Coastal opened up a 10-point lead in the first quarter but was outscored 23-10 in the second half by the Eagles, who have made bowl games out of the Mid-American Conference in two of the past three seasons.
“We told them [Friday] night this is just the first chapter in the book,” Chadwell said. “We get 12 chapters to write and the first one wasn’t great, but we’ve still got 11 to go. They continue to write it. If we will learn from this . . . we’ll get better from it.”
Coastal forced only two incompletions by senior quarterback Mike Glass III, who completed his first 11 passes and finished 20 of 22 for 188 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore CCU quarterback Fred Payton completed 29 of 43 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions, and junior running back C.J. Marable accounted for 133 yards rushing and receiving combined as both the team’s leading rusher and receiver.
Sophomore Massimo Biscardi kicked field goals of 38, 45 and 53 yards – the latter tying a school record – but also missed a 26-yarder with 3 minutes remaining that would have pulled the Chants within a touchdown.
Chadwell replaced Joe Moglia as the Chants head coach in January. He went 3-9 in CCU’s first season in the Sun Belt Conference in 2017 when Moglia took a medical leave of absence.
“Yeah it stinks. You’re upset because you’ve built to this point and we had good chances to do some things and it just didn’t go our way,” Chadwell said. “But you have to make sure you’ve earned that right to get that victory, and we’re not doing the little things completely yet from every position for us to be able to win a game like this.”
A 38-yard Biscardi field goal with 40 seconds remaining pulled Coastal within seven points, and Teddy Gallagher recovered the onside kick at the EMU 47. But Payton’s deep pass down the right sideline intended for Larry Collins Jr. on the next play was intercepted by all-MAC senior cornerback Kevin McGill to seal EMU’s win.
Payton beat out fellow sophomore Bryce Carpenter, who played sparingly and had six rushes but no pass attempts Saturday, for the starting QB job in preseason camp.
“Fred did some good things but he’s got to play better,” Chadwell said. “A couple of his decisions really hurt us. So he’s got to be better there, making some decisions. I thought he did some really, really good stuff, he’s just got to fix some of the mistakes.”
The Chants received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays to quickly take a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Payton to wide open senior tight end Shadell Bell.
Marable had six touches for 32 yards on the drive and Payton converted a third-and-5 at the EMU 40 with an 8-yard pass to tight end Isaiah Likely.
The Chants forced a punt after three plays on EMU’s opening possession and took a 10-0 lead on an ensuing 11-play, 31-yard drive that was capped by a 45-yard Biscardi field goal.
EMU answered with a 12-play, 75-yard drive to get on the board with an 11-yard Dylan Drummond catch early in the second quarter.
EMU senior defensive back Brody Hoying recorded the game’s first turnover on an interception at the EMU 32. Hoying was running beneath a CCU receiver over the middle.
The Eagles drove to the CCU goal line on the ensuing possession, converting a fourth-and-1 at midfield along the way, but fumbled at the goal line and the ball went out of bounds in the end zone to thwart the Eagles’ scoring opportunity and give CCU the ball at its 20. Linebacker Silas Kelly knocked the ball loose from Shaq Vann as the senior running back was reaching for the pylon on an 8-yard swing pass.
Coastal then drove 45 yards in 10 plays and Biscardi hit the 53-yard field goal just over the crossbar to give CCU a 13-7 halftime lead. CCU converted a third-and-6 with a 9-yard reception by Jeremiah Miller at the EMU 38 with 1:20 remaining in the half prior to the kick.
EMU took control of the game by outscoring the Chants 16-0 in the third quarter.
The Eagles opened the second half with a scoring drive and held Coastal’s offense to 24 yards on three third-quarter drives that totaled 10 plays.
“We didn’t have the ball much in the [third] quarter. I think that’s part of it,” Chadwell said. “It wasn’t necessarily what they did, we made a couple decisions that cost us there early in the third quarter and they got all the momentum. Once you’re behind and that clock’s ticking you have to go away from [the game plan] a little bit.”
Glass’ first incompletion came early in the third quarter when his pass to tight end Thomas Odukoya on a 20-yard seam route was on the money but CCU sophomore safety Alex Spillum separated Odukoya from the ball with a big hit.
Glass completed his next five passes to finish a touchdown drive, however, that he capped with a 2-yard run.
“Part of that too was I don’t think we got a good pass rush. That guy had a lot of time to throw . . . and the secondary, we’ve got to be able to defend the pass a little bit better,” Chadwell said of Glass’ 91-percent completion percentage. “But I also don’t think we got a great rush. Part of that is our depth. Our guys are playing a lot because we don’t have a lot of defensive linemen, so they’re tired.”
An interception by EMU defensive lineman Clay Holford on a low throw at the line of scrimmage gave EMU possession at the CCU 13 and led to a 26-yard Chad Ryland field goal, and a shanked 12-yard Myles Prosser punt to the CCU 38 led to another EMU touchdown.
Drummond scored his second TD of the game on a 19-yard reception over the middle against tight single coverage to give the Eagles a 23-13 lead with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
Coastal pulled within a field goal on a Marable 22-yard TD reception with 9 minutes to play. Marable beat a linebacker down the middle of the field after the Chants converted a fourth-and-2 at the EMU 25 on a 3-yard Jacqez Hairston run.
EMU immediately responded with a six-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 32-yard Glass pass down the right sideline to a wide open Quian Williams to reestablish its 10-point lead.
Coastal drove 66 yards to the EMU 9 but three consecutive incompletions led to Biscardi’s short miss with 3:04 remaining.
Biscardi was true with his final attempt with 40 seconds to play, but the EMU’s fourth interception sealed the fate of a young CCU team that has 90 freshmen and sophomores.
“If we can bottle the energy and all those things and correct the mistakes then we’ll get better as a team,” Chadwell said. “Those young guys will get better and we’ll continue to build and hopefully have a good season.”