CONWAY, S.C. (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – Caryville native Jamey Chadwell’s No. 16 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers overcame a 17-9 halftime deficit and held Appalachian State to just two field goals and six total points over the second half to defeat the four-time defending Sun Belt Champions 34-23 on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

The win pushes Coastal to 8-0 to start the season, the best-ever start by a football team in Sun Belt history and ties the best start in program history with 8-0 starts in both 2013 and 2014.

The victory was the Chants’ first-ever over Appalachian State (1-6) and extends their current winning streak to eight-straight games this season and nine-straight dating back to last year.

After giving up 266 total yards, including 172 rushing yards on the ground in the first half, the Coastal Carolina defense held the Mountaineers to just 149 total yards of offense in the second half, including just 32 yards on the ground.

The defense also picked off App State quarterback Zac Thomas three times, one of which was returned for a touchdown by D’Jordan Strong, and totaled 3.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles-for-loss in the win.

Leading the way for the defense was co-captain C.J. Brewer with a career-high 14 tackles, including 3.0 tackles-for-loss, and 1.5 sacks, while fellow redshirt senior Silas Kelly finished with nine stops.

Fellow Chant Jeffrey Gunter added eight stops, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, and 1.5 sacks with two forced fumbles while safety Alex Spillum matched Gunter with eight tackles and one interception. However, the big plays of the game came from Strong, who had two picks in the same game for the second time this season.

On offense, the Chanticleers totaled 369 yards of offense on 200 passing yards and 169 rushing yards and outgained App State 235 to 149 in total offense in the second half.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall was 12-for-21 for 200 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed 14 times for 69 yards and a score.

Running back CJ Marable nearly matched McCall in the run game with 65 yards on five carries, while Reese White added a score on eight carries and 21 yards on the ground.

Through the air, tight end Isaiah Likely led the way with 118 yards on three catches, which included a 75-yard touchdown grab to start the game, while wideout Jaivon Heiligh (3 rec., 37 yards) and Marable (3 rec., 9 yards, TD) matched Likely with three catches each.

The Mountaineers, who tallied 415 yards of offense for the game, were led by Camerun Peoples on the ground with 182 yards and a score on 27 carries and Thomas through the air on 17-of-29 for 211 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.

The App State defense was led by D’Marco Jackson with eight tackles, 1.0 tackles-for-loss, and 0.5 sacks, while both Demetrius Taylor and Kaiden Smith had six and five stops, respectively, and each forced a fumble in the loss.

App State’s Chandler Staton was 3-for-4 on field goals while CCU’s Massimo Biscardi made good on his lone attempt, a season-long 51-yarder in the second quarter.

Appalachian State won the coin toss and elected to receive to open the game. The visitors in white took the ball eight plays, 70 yards, and with the help of a missed call on a Mountaineers’ fumble that was whistled down on the half-yard line and stood via replay, Camerun Peoples punched it in from one-yard out on third down to give App State a 7-0 lead with 11:40 to go in the opening quarter.

The Chanticleers quickly answered just one play later as on the very first play of their first offensive drive McCall connected with Likely down the middle of the field for a 75-yard touchdown pass and catch that took just 11 seconds off the game clock.

The extra-point was no good which kept the Mountaineers in front by one at 7-6 with 11:29 to go in the first quarter.

Following punts from both teams and a missed 50-yard field goal by the Mountaineers’ Staton, the Chanticleers drove to the App State 30-yard line before a sack and fumble forced a fourth-and-25.

CCU’s Biscardi lined up a 51-yard attempt and sent it a line-drive kick through the uprights to give the home team its first lead of the game at 9-7 with 10:50 to go in the first half.

App State looked to find the end zone on its next drive, as the Mountaineers converted four first downs and moved the ball all the way down to the Coastal 13-yard line. However, a big sack from Brewer and Gunter on Thomas on third down, pushed the Mountaineers’ offense back to the 27-yard line.

On the fourth-and-22 play, Staton made good on the 44-yard field goal to put the Mountaineers back in front by one at 10-9 with 4:57 to go before the halftime break.

The Chants looked to retake the lead on their next offensive drive, as CCU picked up two first downs and crossed midfield and on to Appalachian State’s side of the field before a sack on third-and-six forced the Chants to punt with 1:06 left in the half.

The sack proved to be big for the Mountaineers, as the visitors were able to go 84 yards in just 51 seconds to extend their lead to eight at 17-9 on a 25-yard pass touchdown from Thomas to Christian Wells before the halftime break.

Out of the halftime break, the CCU offense immediately answered the App State score with a 65-yard drive that was capped off by a 62-yard touchdown run by McCall, the longest rush of his career, to put the home team within two at 17-15.

Looking to tie the game up, the Chants’ lined up for a two-point conversion which came up inches short to allow the Mountaineers to stay on top by two with 14:11 to go in the third quarter.

The back-and-forth scoring to start the second half continued with App State, as the Mountaineers used a big pass play from Thomas to Malik Williams for 62 yards to set up a 36-yard field goal from Staton to push the visitors lead to five at 20-15 with just under 11 minutes to go in the third period.

The Chants refused to go away, however, as the offense opened up their next series with four-straight runs to move the ball close to midfield.

Following a 12-yard pass to Heiligh and a pass interference call on App State, the Chants advanced to the Mountaineers’ 26-yard line before a 14-yard run up the middle by Marable put the ball on the 12-yard line.

Two plays later, after a loss of seven yards, McCall found an open Marable down the middle of the field for a 19-yard score to put the home team in front 21-20, where the score would stand after another missed two-point conversion.

The “Black Swarm” defense came up with a big play on the Mountaineers’ next possession, as Strong picked off Thomas on a third-and-10 play to give the ball back to the Chants with a one-point lead and 3:29 to go before the fourth quarter.

After the Chants were forced to punt, the Mountaineers went back to the ground game to go 53 yards on 10 plays and eat up 5:07 of the game clock before another Staton field goal from 45 yards out gave the lead back to App State at 23-21 with 11:47 to go in the contest.

With App State back in front, the Coastal offense overcame a first-down sack with 48-yard run from Marable down the CCU sideline to take the ball into Mountaineers’ territory. Back-to-back completions of eight yards to Sam Denmark and 22 yards to Heiligh set up a first-and-goal for the home team.

On the first-and-goal, CCU’s McCall cutback on an option play and looked toward the end zone where the ball was knocked out of his hands just before crossing the goal line and recovered by the App State defense in the end zone.

However, the Coastal defense again stepped up for the challenge, as safety Spillum intercepted a pass to give the ball back to the offense at the Mountaineers’ 49-yard line with 6:59 to go in the game.

The Chanticleers’ will was on display on their next drive, as McCall orchestrated a drive that saw a 15-yard pass to Kameron Brown, an 11-yard rush by White, and a key four-yard rush by McCall himself on a third-and-two to give the Chants a first-and-goal on the App State nine-yard line.

Three plays later, White found pay dirt from three yards out to put the home team back on top at 27-23 after a third two-point attempt failed.

Despite the 27-23 lead, the Chants left 2:17 on the game clock for the App State offense who started on their own nine-yard line after mishandling the kickoff.

The defense refused to give in, as Brewer picked up a sack on a third-and-12 to force a fourth-and-20 for the Mountaineers. On the fourth-down play, Strong intercepted a pass and returned it 38-yards for the score to ice the conference victory at 34-23.

Coastal (8-0, 6-0 Sun Belt) will be back in action next Saturday, Nov. 28, as the Chanticleers hit the road to San Marcos, TXfor a cross-divisional matchup at Texas State (2-9, 2-5 Sun Belt). Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

  • Coastal’s eight wins this season are the most in a single year in the program’s FBS history (2017).
  • The Chanticleers’ 8-0 start is the best in Sun Belt history, the program’s best since moving to FBS in 2017, and is tied for the third-best in CCU’s all-time program history (2013 and 2014).
  • With the win, Coastal extended its current winning streak to nine-straight games dating back to last season and eight-straight this year.
  • The conference win gives the Chants’ six SBC wins this season, the most in a single-season since joining the league as full-time members in 2017.
  • CCU’s six conference wins this season matched their six total conference wins combined over its first three years in the Sun Belt – 2017, 2018, and 2019.
  • The win was Coastal’s first-ever over App State (1-6 all-time).
  • The one-yard, 75-yard touchdown drive was the fourth one-yard touchdown scoring drive for the Chants this season.
  • The 75-yard yard scoring play from McCall to Likely was the longest play from the line of scrimmage from the Chanticleers’ offense this season and tied for the 24th-longest scoring play in program history.
  • With his reception in the first quarter, CJ Marable has now caught a pass in 28-straight games.
  • With a catch in the first quarter, Jaivon Heiligh has one reception in 23-straight games.
  • Massimo Biscardi’s 51-yard field goal in the second quarter was the longest field goal of the season for the junior kicker.
  • The 62-yard touchdown run by Grayson McCall in the third quarter was the longest run of his career.
  • CJ Brewer’s 14 total tackles were a career-high.
  • D’Jordan Strong recorded two interceptions in the same game for the second time this season (versus Georgia Southern Oct. 24). (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 11/21/2020-7:30PM)