The Coastal Carolina football team made program history Saturday night.
The Chanticleers defeated Kansas 12-7 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kan., to record the program’s first victory over a team from a Power Five Conference in its 17-year history.
The Chants had been 0-7 against Power Five teams, with six of those losses by 30 or more points.
“Regardless of where Kansas is in their building process, we had a chance to beat a Power Five school, a Big 12 school . . . and more importantly be able to help our program take the next step,” CCU head coach Jamey Chadwell said in a post-game interview on ESPN+. “That’s a legacy builder.”
The Chanticleers (1-1) stopped Kansas (1-1) on fourth down on the Jayhawks’ final three possessions and overcame two missed field goals inside 32 yards and a missed extra point. “We found a way to win a game, and that was playing poorly in some areas especially special teams,” Chadwell told WRNN-FM 99.5.
Junior running back C.J. Marable gained 148 yards on 24 carries and scored both of the Chants’ touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving – as Coastal threw the ball only 14 times for 119 yards and rushed it 49 times for 172 yards after throwing 43 passes last week in its loss to Eastern Michigan.
Senior cornerback Chandler Kryst intercepted two passes to help CCU win the turnover battle 2-0, hold a 291-280 advantage in total yards and possess the ball for nearly 9 minutes more than Kansas.
Coastal spent the past week in hotels in Greenville after evacuating campus on Monday in advance of Hurricane Dorian and practiced at colleges and high schools in the Upstate, including Clemson and Furman.
Chadwell said he was concerned about how his team would react to being on the road for a week.
“I’m really proud of just the way we competed,” Chadwell said. “We were behind all week on just trying to practice in different places. You know kids are creatures of habit and routine and we got out of it and I was probably a little ornery all week and on them. But the main thing I love about my team is they listen. We talked about what we needed to try to improve on from last week and I think we did a lot better job this week on trying to take care of the ball and some things.”
Kansas (1-1), which came from behind late last week to defeat FCS program Indiana State, is in its first season under coach Les Miles, who won a national championship at LSU. The Jayhawks were 6-42 under coach David Beaty from 2015-18 and haven’t won more than three games in a season since 2009.
Kansas did return 13 total starters from 2018, however, eight of which were All-Big 12 first team, second team or honorable mention, including first team running back Pooka Williams, who gained 99 yards on 22 carries.
“That’s not how I saw it going. That’s not how our team saw it going,” Miles said in his postgame press conference according to Matt Tait of KUSports.com. “We’re all, everybody in this building, in pain right now.
“This is a game we should’ve won. It’s just that simple. I got a good team. I got good people.”
Kansas scored its only points on the game’s opening possession, going 65 yards in eight plays for a touchdown on a 41-yard run by Khalil Herbert, who cut back to open field near the line of scrimmage. Coastal missed an opportunity for a turnover one play prior when Stanley fumbled but lineman James Sosinski recovered with Chants in the area.
Coastal drove inside the Kansas 10-yard line late in the first quarter. But the drive stalled after quarterback Fred Payton, who was 6 of 9 for 98 yards and a touchdown, lost 5 yards on a broken play on first down and missed an open T’Qele Holmes in the corner of the end zone on third down. Massimo Biscardi then missed a 31-yard field goal from the right hash mark just wide of the right goal post.
“We had a big mistake on first down there where the quarterback went the wrong way,” Chadwell told WRNN 99.5 FM.
Payton hit tight Isaiah Likely over the middle for 24 yards and Marable had runs of 18 and 13 yards on the drive.
Kansas reached the CCU 39-yard line on its next possession but Kryst intercepted a Carter Stanley pass at the CCU 4. Pressure from defensive lineman Tarron Jackson flushed Stanley from the pocket and his throw on the run was short of intended receiver Andrew Parchment.
Coastal pulled within a point with 41 seconds left in the first half on a 20-yard Payton pass to running back C.J. Marable on a wheel route before Biscardi missed the extra point wide right. The six-play, 64-yard scoring drive included Payton passes of 22 and 19 yards to Likely and Jaivon Heiligh.
Kansas managed to drive 48 yards on six plays to reach the CCU 23 before halftime but Jacob Borcila missed a 40-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Coastal took its first lead early in the second half on an 8-yard Marable run.
The Chants began the second half inside their own 10 yard line following a penalty on the kickoff return and punted after three plays, allowing Kansas to begin its first possession of the second half at the CCU 39.
But Kryst intercepted his second pass and returned it 25 yards to the Kansas 44, and pressure from Jackson on the pass again forced Stanley to leave the pocket and throw on the run.
With Payton limping on the sideline after a hit on the final play of CCU’s opening drive of the second half, Bryce Carpenter led the offense on the ensuing scoring drive. A 15-yard facemask penalty helped the Chants reach the Jayhawks’ 17, Holmes pulled in a low throw for a first down inside the 10 and Marable took a pitch from Carpenter and had a large hole to the end zone. Coastal failed on a two-point conversion attempt and led 12-7.
Coastal forced a turnover on downs at its 40 on Kansas’ next possession when Mallory Claybourne tackled Parchment on an end around on fourth-and-1.
Kansas coach Les Miles opted to go for it on fourth-and-4 at the CCU 17 with 14 minutes to play – after Kansas used its final two timeouts and CCU used one before the play was run – and Coastal stopped Carter for a 1-yard gain. He rolled to his right looking for either of a pair of receivers in routes but there was contact in the secondary and he had nowhere to throw it.
Coastal then embarked on a 13-play, 74-yard drive that took 8 minutes off the clock. It included a 27-yard run by Marable on fourth-and-1 at the Kansas 41. Though it ended with a missed 27-yard field goal attempt, Kansas had just 5:35 remaining on the clock when it took possession at its own 20.
“I was surprised that he used [two timeouts] back to back there but it definitely helped us out there in those last two drives,” Chadwell said. “We ran a lot of clock off in those last two drives.”
Safety Kameron Burton and linebacker Teddy Gallagher tackled Williams after a yard on a fourth-and-3 at the 27 and the Chants were able to run out the clock.
“We pride ourselves on playing with relentless effort and playing physical,” Gallagher told WRNN-FM 99.5. “We felt like we played that way last week but we didn’t have the details. Our emphasis was ‘focus’ in practice this week and we honed in on the details.”
The Chants broke a Jayhawks piñata in the locker room to celebrate the momentous occasion. “We had a lot of fun,” Gallagher told WRNN. “We sang our fight song, we had a little Kansas that we broke. We had a good time.”
Coastal won despite missing or losing key players because of injuries.
Senior kick returner and wide receiver Ky’Jon Tyler did not play because of a high ankle sprain, so CCU was without one of its most dangerous and experienced weapons.
Junior linebacker Silas Kelly played with a large cast on his right hand and forearm after reportedly breaking his right hand in last week’s loss and left the game in the third quarter with an apparent left leg injury, yet still managed to make six tackles.
“Silas is one of the smartest football players I’ve ever been around. He’s like a coach on the field,” Gallagher told WRNN. “So when someone like him goes down you just have to be more vocal, and (Laqavious) Paul came in and did a great job.”
Junior safety Enock Makonzo left the game in the first half with an injury, and sophomore Seth Harrell started at left guard but left the game early in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury.
Coastal, which is in its third year in the Sun Belt Conference as it completes its transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), was 0-5 against Power Five programs as an FCS program, gave up a two-score lead to fall to Arkansas 39-38 in 2017 and fell 49-15 to South Carolina last season.
“I think if our guys will play and be consistent and do the little things the right way, then we have a chance to win every game and be in every game,” Chadwell told WRNN. “I’m excited about how they played and what they can build off.”