Coastal Carolina

CCU Football Notebook: Carpenter gets another start at QB after near-record performance

Coming off a near-record performance, Coastal Carolina sophomore Bryce Carpenter will get his third consecutive start at quarterback Thursday night against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Carpenter was 32 of 45 for 285 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s 36-35 win over Troy in the absence of Fred Payton, who started the first six games of the season but has missed the past two with an apparent shoulder injury.

Payton was in uniform and on the sideline Saturday but was only going to play in an emergency situation, and CCU head coach Jamey Chadwell said that will be the case Thursday as well.

The 32 completions are the second-most in a single game in CCU history behind only former All-American Alex Ross’s 34 completions at Elon in 2014.

His connection with former Florida high school teammate Jaivon Heiligh was record-setting, as Heiligh set a new school record for receptions in a game with 12 for 107 yards.

In addition to his success through the air, Carpenter gained 46 yards rushing on 15 carries and was lauded by Chadwell for his toughness at 6-1 and 200 pounds.

“He’s been great for us. Fred got hurt and he’s come in and done a great job. He’s not been put in a great situation a lot of times and he finds a ways to make some plays, and he’s tough,” Chadwell said.

“. . . The guy’s a warrior. He got his behind killed about three or four times, where most people would be on the floor. He’s like one of those wrestlers that takes an elbow to the forehead and they’re getting ready to count him out for three and he finds a way to slip his arm up. He always finds a way to come back. And this team loves him for that. He’s one tough hombre.. . . The locker room loves him, and that’s a big deal.”

Carpenter has yet to throw an interception this season in 94 attempts and has two in his college career in 149 attempts. He spoke about his toughness on Saturday.

“I just try to find it somewhere in me to try to keep getting back up because I know there are 10 other guys counting on me on the offense,” he said. “I know they’re fighting and doing everything they can do. Not everyone sees it but they’re getting punched around and all that stuff so I just try to get up and fight for those guys.”

Classes altered

To accommodate the Thursday night game and preparation for it, Coastal president David DeCenzo shifted Thursday classes scheduled for 1:30 p.m. or later from classrooms to online.

DeCenzo sent a mass email to CCU students, faculty and staff on Monday announcing the class adjustments. The university also sent out a release explaining the decision, which was made after school officials sought recommendations from other South Carolina universities that have hosted midweek games.

The school’s release read, in part: “By redirecting those classes that meet after 1:30 on Thursday to an online environment, the University is facilitating campus safety with respect to the movement of personal and vehicular traffic and based on best practice recommendations from other South Carolina universities.”

In his email, DeCenzo directed professors to coordinate with their Dean’s office if they require in-person make-up time by students, and thanked them for their “support in this effort as we embrace this opportunity to showcase our campus and student-athletes to a national audience.”

Thursday night’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette will be the second-ever Thursday night game at Brooks Stadium. The other was a 42-7 win over Liberty in November 2016 in front of an attendance of 7,719. Chadwell would like to see a lot more than that at Brooks Stadium for the ESPNU broadcast on Thursday.

“I hope our students will have an opportunity to come out and take advantage of us being on TV, because it’s more than just our football program on TV, our whole university is on TV,” Chadwell said. “There’s a student out there, it might not even be an athlete, their family is going to click on [Thursday] night and they’re going to see Coastal Carolina be playing on national television, and their impression of Coastal Carolina is going to be based off of what’s going on in that game . . . and who is in the stands.”

On the front line

Redshirt sophomore tackle Antwine Loper’s return Saturday after missing a couple games with an emergency appendectomy gave the Chants a boost along a thin offensive line, but senior tackle Ethan Howard may be in danger of not starting for the first time in 35 games, dealing the line another blow.

Howard left Saturday’s win over Troy after the first play of the fourth quarter with an apparent right leg injury. Freshman Kameron Stewart replaced him and took an illegal motion penalty on his first play, something he did several times on Oct. 19 against Georgia Southern.

“Penalties are a concern period no matter who is making them, and the ones that frustrate you are the false starts,” said Chadwell, who said Howard is essentially doubtful to play Thursday.

Starting tackle Steven Bedosky is questionable to return this season after suffering an injury in Week 2 at Kansas and the line was already without two-year starter Brock Hoffman, who transferred to Virginia Tech.

“I think from a depth standpoint offensive line was always a concern from preseason. From going through there with the losses we had with injuries on top of that,” Chadwell said. “. . . It’s been a concern. We’re playing some guys that maybe aren’t quite ready to play but they have to. But at the end of the day everybody else is doing that too, so we’ve got to find ways to make some holes and give our quarterback some time to throw. They’re battling right now but there’s some things that we definitely have to improve at that position if we’re going to try to win some games in this league.”

Three-year starting guard/center Trey Carter said it doesn’t matter from the line’s perspective which of CCU’s two QBs plays.

“I think we do the same thing. Bryce has done a great job since Fred’s been out, he obviously was getting reps while Fred was here,” Carter said. “. . . O-line wise we wouldn’t know the difference if [anyone] was back there, to be honest with you.”

Award nominees

CCU junior running back C.J. Marable has been named one of 20 finalists for the 2019 Blanchard-Rogers Trophy, the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame (SCFOHF) announced on Wednesday. Recognized as “South Carolina’s Heisman,” the award goes to the most outstanding collegiate player of the year that has South Carolina ties.

Punter Myles Prosser is a candidate for the 2019 Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top punter, the Augusta Sports Council and Ray Guy Award announced. Candidates were nominated by their sports information directors and the list will be narrowed to 10 players on Nov. 19.

Redshirt senior cornerback Chandler Kryst is one of a record 83 players nominated for the 2019 Burlsworth Trophy, it was announced by the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation in conjunction with the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club. It is given to the most outstanding FBS player who began his career as a walk-on, and was awarded to Clemson and Socastee High alum Hunter Renfrow in 2018.

Thursday’s Game

Who: Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2, 3-1 Sun Belt Conference) at Coastal Carolina (4-4, 1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Brooks Stadium, Conway

TV/Radio: ESPNU, WRNN 99.5 FM

Tickets: GoCCUSports.com or 843-347-8499

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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.
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