TROY, AL (SPECIAL TO WLAF) -Jamey Chadwell’s No. 11/13 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers were able to ward off a Troy Trojans (5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt) team with nothing to lose for a 42-38 Sun Belt Conference road win in the rescheduled game on Saturday afternoon in Troy, Ala.
The Chanticleers finished the regular season at 11-0, the first-ever undefeated regular season in program history. It is also matches the best season in Sun Belt Conference football history, as the Chants became the third team to finish the conference slate at 8-0.
Coastal, who led for most of the contest, saw a six-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Free to Tray Eafford with 1:20 to go in the game put the Trojans on top by three at 38-35, only to answer back with a five-play, 75-yard drive in just 45 seconds to take the 42-38 road win.
The game-winning score was a 23-yard pass across the middle from Grayson McCall to Jaivon Heiligh that saw the junior wideout race into the end zone to give the Chants the lead with only 35 seconds remaining in the game.
CCU’s defense made the biggest play of the game on the ensuing Troy drive, as bandit end Jeffrey Gunter beat his man around the left side, sacked Free, and knocked the ball out which was recovered by Tarron Jackson to secure the hard-fought road win.
Coastal outgained the Trojans 514-443 in total offense, as the Chants threw for a season-high 338 yards to go along with 176 rushing yards on the ground.
The 514 yards mark the third time this season that the CCU offense went over 500 total yards offense for the game.
McCall had a career game, as he was 24-of-29 for 338 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards and a score.
Heiligh nearly broke his own school record of 12 receptions with 11 catches for a career-high 138 yards and two scores, while tight end Isaiah Likely went over the 1,000-career receiving yards mark with five grabs for 66 yards.
Senior running back CJ Marable registered his third-straight 100-yard rushing game, running for 120 yards and two scores on 20 carries, while he also caught three passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Troy’s quarterback Gunnar Watson was 25-of-37 for 260 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, as wideouts Kaylon Geiger (9 rec., 103 yards) and Reggie Todd (8 rec., 101 yards, TD) each had over 100 yards receiving in the loss.
Backup quarterback Free was 9-of-18 for 94 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
CCU’s defense was led by a trio of Chants with seven total tackles in Enock Makonzo, Alex Spillum, and Teddy Gallagher, while Spillum and fellow safety Brayden Matts each had an interception in the victory.
Nose tackle Travis Geiger Jr. tallied a career-high six stops in the middle, while linebacker E.J. Porter added six stops of his own in his first start of the season.
For Troy, All-Sun Belt performer Carlton Martial led the way with a career-high 21 tackles, which included 1.0 sack, and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. He also added an interception that helped set up the go-ahead score for the Trojans in the fourth quarter.
The Chanticleers made a statement on the opening drive, as the offense needed just three plays to get on the scoreboard, as Marable ran away from the Troy defense for a season-long 59-yard touchdown run to put the visitors in front 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
After CCU’s Matts came up with an interception on the Coastal 10-yard line on a Troy third-and-10, the offense went back to work, driving 90 yards on just nine plays capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from McCall to Marable to push the lead to two scores at 14-0 with 8:22 left in the opening quarter.
Troy got on the scoreboard on its next drive, as the Trojans used the right arm of Watson to drive down to the Coastal 24-yard line before the “Black Swarm” defense held strong to hold the home team to an Evan Legassey 42-yard field goal with 4:02 on the game clock in the first quarter of play.
Following a Charles Ouverson punt that put Troy back on its own 13-yard line, the Trojans amped up the no-huddle offense and used 13 plays to go 87 yards in 3:51 to cut the CCU lead to four at 14-10 on a Kimani Vidal four-yard touchdown plunge into the end zone early in the second quarter.
The Trojans again got on the scoreboard on their ensuing possession, as the Chants were able to keep the home team out of the end zone on a third-and-goal, yet saw a 28-yard field goal end a 14-play, 79-yard drive to close the gap to 14-13 in favor of the Chanticleers.
Coastal quickly answered back, as McCall and Marable led the offense down the field where a spectacular 32-yard catch by Reese White down the seam on a third-and-one set up a two-yard touchdown run by Marable off the right side to push the visitors back in front by eight at 21-13 with just over a 1:30 left in the opening half.
However, the Chants left too much time on the clock as Troy drove down to the CCU 16-yard line and ended the half with a 23-yard field goal to put the halftime score at 21-16 in favor of Coastal Carolina.
The defense came up big with a three-and-out to stop Troy on the opening offensive series of the third quarter to give the ball back to the offense with the lead.
The Chants took control of the ball and the game, putting together the longest scoring drive in program history at 9:48 to go up 28-16 with just under five minutes to go in the third quarter.
On the drive, the Chants had just three of the 16 plays go over 10 yards, a 21-yard pass from McCall to Kameron Brown, a 14-yard scramble by McCall, and a 16-yard reception by Heiligh to set up a six-yard pass and catch from McCall to Heiligh to add to the Coastal lead.
The Trojans quickly answered, as four plays into its ensuing drive Watson connected with Todd on a slant pass that broke free and went 41 yards to the end zone to put Troy back within one score at 28-23 with 3:18 remaining in the third period.
The Chanticleers took the ball into the fourth quarter and held it for nine minutes again, as the visitors in teal and white slowly worked their way down the field before finding themselves with a fourth-and-goal on the one-yard line. However, the Troy defense was able to stuff the run and pick up a turnover on downs and end Coastal’s 16-play, 74-yard drive, one yard short of the end zone.
Down five at 28-23, Troy took over on downs on its own one-yard line with 8:50 to play in the game.
Troy picked up a first down on an eight-yard pass on a third-and-seven, yet tried to go deep and over top of the Coastal Carolina defense on the next first-and-10 where Spillum picked off the pass and returned it 55-yards to the Troy 12-yard line.
Coastal was forced to use four plays and took advantage of a pass interference call in the end zone on a third-and-six to add to its lead with a two-yard run by McCall. The extra point was good to put the Sun Belt East Division Champions up 35-23 with 5:03 left in the contest.
Troy continued the high-scoring affair with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive on its next offensive series and then picked off a McCall pass on a third-and-eight at the Coastal 44-yard line to set up the go-ahead score.
Coastal (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt) will host the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Football Championship game versus No. 17 Louisiana (9-1, 7-1 Sun Belt) on Saturday, Dec. 19, at noon ET inside Brooks Stadium. The game will air on either ESPN or ESPN2.
The Chanticleers defeated then-No. 21 Louisiana 30-27 on a late fourth-quarter field goal in Lafayette, La. on Oct. 14.
- The Chanticleers are the only football team in the nation at 11-0 (Alabama – 10-0; Notre Dame 10-0).
- With the win, Coastal has posted the program’s first-ever undefeated regular season at 11-0.
- The 11 wins are the most for Coastal Carolina in a single season since moving to FBS full-time in 2017.
- The 11-0 start for the Chants is tied for the best in program history along with the 2014 team that started the year at 11-0.
- Coastal’s win extends their winning streak to 11-straight games this season and 12-straight dating back to last year.
- The 12-game winning streak, dating back to last year, is a new program record for consecutive wins.
- With his first catch of the day, a 15-yard reception, Isaiah Likely surpassed the 1,000-career receiving milestone.
- CJ Marable’s 59-yard touchdown run to open the game was the longest of the season for the senior running back.
- With his first-quarter touchdown run, CJ Marable has now recorded a touchdown in every game this season after not finding the end zone in the season opening win at Kansas (Sept. 12).
- CJ Marable’s second touchdown of the day, a 20-yard pass in the first quarter, marked the seventh game this season he has registered two or more touchdowns in a game and the second of the year with three scores.
- CJ Marable extended his CCU-record streak of consecutive games with a catch to 31-straight games.
- CJ Marable recorded his third-straight 100-yard rushing game and the 10th of his career at CCU.
- The 9:48 scoring drive in the third quarter is the longest scoring drive in terms of time of possession in Coastal Carolina history.
- With his two touchdown passes in the game, Grayson McCall has thrown for two touchdown passes or more in eight of the 10 games he has played in this year.
- With over 250 passing yards on the day, Grayson McCall has thrown for over 250 yards four times on the season.
- Jaivon Heiligh’s 11 catches are the second-most in a single game by a Chanticleer receiver, behind only his school-record 12 receptions last year versus Troy. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/12/2020-8:30PM)