McCall, Coastal down Texas State, 35-21

CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina’s offense held the ball for over 35 minutes of the game and got five touchdown passes from redshirt sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall on its way to a 35-21 home win over Texas State in the final regular-season game at home inside Brooks Stadium on Saturday.

The win pushes Coastal’s record to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in Sun Belt play, marking the second consecutive season the Chants have won nine games or more overall. The loss dropped Texas State to 3-8 overall and 2-6 in league play.

McCall, who had missed each of the last two games due to an upper-body injury, returned in a big way, as he was 22-for-28 for 319 yards and five touchdowns, tying the school record for most touchdown passes in a game in CCU history.

The second-year starter threw touchdown passes to four different receivers which were led by senior Jaivon Heiligh and his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season. Heiligh led the Chants with 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, while senior tight end Isaiah Likely had five catches for 62 yards and a score. Super senior Kameron Brown finished with four catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore Tyson Mobley added one catch for 39 yards in the win.

On the ground, the Chants ran for 179 yards led by senior Shermari Jones and his 23 carries for 92 yards. McCall finished with 53 yards on the ground, while senior quarterback Bryce Carpenter added 23 rushing yards in the win.

While the Coastal offense put up 498 total yards, the defense held the Bobcats to just 301 total yards of offense with 195 on the ground and 106 through the air.

Running back Calvin Hill ran 12 times for 100 yards and a score, while fellow running back Jahmyl Jeter had one score on 11 carries and 42 yards.

Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt was 13-for-26 for 106 yards and one touchdown, as he connected with eight different Bobcat receivers on the day.

The Coastal defense was spearheaded by the two super-senior co-captains in Silas Kelly and Teddy Gallagher, who finished with 11 and seven tackles apiece, while fellow seniors Alex Spillum and C.J. Brewer added five tackles each with Brewer recording 1.5 sacks in the win.

Texas State’s defense was led by Zion Childress with a team-high nine stops, while Markeveon Coleman and Tory Spears finished with seven tackles apiece.

After both teams punted on their first offensive possessions, the Coastal offense found its rhythm on the next drive, as McCall led the “Teal Team 6” offense on a 12-play, 83-yard drive that saw five first downs and four double-digit pass plays. The scoring drive was highlighted by a 19-yard touchdown pass from McCall to Brown to put the home team in front at 7-0 with 12:41 to go in the first quarter.

On CCU’s next offensive series, the Chants looked to double their lead, going 69 yards on 15 plays, yet needed 70 yards, as Jones was stopped on the one-yard line on fourth-and-goal to turn the ball over on downs.

However, the defense flexed its muscle over the next two Texas State possessions, as the “Black Swarm” forced back-to-back three-and-outs and allowed just a total of seven yards on the two Bobcat drives with the latter forcing the third punt of the game.

Heiligh returned the 39-yard punt 12 yards to the Texas State 28-yard line to set the table for the offense to go 28 yards in just five plays, with Heiligh himself scoring on a five-yard touchdown pass from McCall to put the home team on top 14-0 with 8:05 to go in the second quarter.

Following the CCU score, the Bobcats got on the scoreboard as Vitt led the visitors on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:41 off the game clock.

The Bobcats opened the drive with three-straight rushes before a 13-yard pass to Ashtyn Hawkins put the visitors across midfield and on Coastal’s 44-yard line. Three rushes and a 28-yard pass and catch with Vitt and Hawkins put the Bobcats inside the five-yard line.

Two runs later from Jeter, the Bobcats found the end zone on a one-yard plunge to cut the Coastal lead in half at 14-7 with 1:46 to go before the halftime break.

CCU looked to add to its lead before the break, however, Massimo Biscardi missed a 49-yard field goal attempt, his first miss of the season, to give the ball back to the Bobcats with 23 seconds left in the opening half.

The Bobcats appeared to be content with running out the clock when Hill broke loose on a third-and-5 and outraced the Coastal defense down the field to dive into the end zone with no time left on the clock to tie the game up at 14-14 following the PAT at the halftime break.

After the Chants’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, the offense went to the air with a quick strike, as McCall found a streaking Brown down the middle of the field for a 52-yard touchdown pass to give the home team a 21-14 lead with 12:21 to go in the third quarter.

The back-and-forth scoring continued, as the Bobcats took advantage of a personal foul call on the Chants on a third-and-4 play to move across the 50-yard line. Two plays later, Marcell Barbee caught a tipped pass off the defender’s hand to walk into the end zone on the 38-yard pass completion to retie the score at 21-21 with 9:48 to go in the quarter.

The scoring continued with the Chants obliging, as McCall again led the offense down the field, this time going 75 yards in 10 plays in just over five minutes to retake the lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Likely in the corner of the end zone.

Following the score which put the home team up 28-21, the Coastal defense stepped up with another stop to force another Texas State punt and take over on its own 20-yard line.

After the two teams traded punts to start the fourth quarter, Coastal used another big play strike to find the end zone, as McCall connected over top of the defense for a 39-yard score with Mobley to push the Chants’ lead to 35-21 with 8:23 left to go in the game.

CCU was able to force a seventh Texas State punt on its ensuing possession before the Chants attempted to run out the clock before having to punt it back to the Bobcats with just under three minutes left in regulation.

The Coastal defense came up with another big stop on the Bobcats final drive, breaking up a pair of passes toward the end zone on third and fourth downs to secure the 35-21 home win with a kneel down.

The Chanticleers (9-2, 5-2 SBC) will wrap up the 2021 regular season on the road at South Alabama (5-5, 2-5 SBC) on Friday, Nov. 26, at 3:30 p.m. ET in Mobile, Ala. The game will be streamed lived on ESPN+.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports