Mobile, Ala. – The Coastal Carolina football team had its season come to an end on Friday afternoon, as the Chanticleers fell on the road 31-28 to South Alabama in Sun Belt Conference play at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Despite outscoring the Jaguars 21-7 in the second half, including a touchdown with 34 seconds to go in the game to cut the South Alabama lead to just three points at 31-28, three first-half turnovers and an early 17-0 first-half deficit proved to be too much of a hole for the Chants in the road loss.
Coastal finishes the 2018 season at 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Sun Belt play. The Jaguars finish at 3-9 overall and 2-6 in league play with the win.
South Alabama outgained Coastal Carolina 533-385 in total yards, including rushing for 331 yards on the ground in the win.
Senior quarterback Kilton Anderson was 20-of-32 for 262 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. His 20 completions, 32 attempts, and 262 yards were all career highs. Freshman Bryce Carpenter was 1-of-1 for 31 yards and a touchdown in his lone play of the game.
The tandem of CJ Marable (10 carries, 40 yards) and Alex James (nine carries, 32 yards, two TDs) combined to rush for 72 yards and two scores out of the backfield for the Chants, while eight different Chants had a reception for the game led by senior Malcolm Williams' seven catches for 109 yards and a score.
Williams' 109 receiving yards marked his second 100-yard game of the season and gives him four 100 receiving-yard games for his career.
Wide receiver Ky'Jon Tyler had four catches for 35 yards, while freshman tight end Isaiah Likely hauled in a 31-yard touchdown catch for his lone reception of the game. Likely's touchdown reception was the fifth of the season and marked the third-straight game that he has found the end zone.
Plagued by injuries both coming into the game and during the contest, the Coastal defense was led by sophomore linebacker Teddy Gallagher's 11 tackles (nine solo, two assist), including 1.0 tackle for loss, while safety Alex Spillum registered a career-high 11 tackles off the bench for the Chants.
In his last game as a Chant, senior safety Fitz Wattley totaled 10 tackles, forced a fumble and also recovered a fumble, while Michael Makins (8.0 tackles, 1.0 TFL), Silas Kelly (6.0 tackles, 0.5 TFL) and Tarron Jackson (6.0 tackles, 1.5 TFL) all had six or more tackles for the game.
Freshman place-kicker Massimo Biscardi's point after attempt on the Chants' first touchdown score extended his scoring streak to 12-straight games, scoring at least one point in all 12 games of his first season at CCU. He had four points on the day to give him 72 on the season.
Punter Charles Ouverson had four punts for an average of 43.5 yards, which included a game-high 55-yard punt in the second quarter.
South Alabama's offensive attack was led by Tra Minter and his career-high 203 rushing yards on 24 carries, while Deonta Moore added 72 yards on nine attempts on the ground.
The quarterback duo of Cole Garvin and Evan Orth were a combined 10-of-13 for 202 yards and three touchdowns, which included touchdown passes of 73 and 45 yards, respectively in the first half.
Both of those long touchdown passes went to Jamarius Way who had a career day with six catches for 141 yards and three scores.
The USA defense was led by Nick Mobley's team-high seven tackles, while Mobley, Chason Milner and Jrmiah Littles all forced a fumble in the win.
Tyree Turner (2.0 sacks), Nigel Lawrence (1.0) and Milner (1.0) all had at least one sack for the game, while Mobley (1.0 TFL), Bull Barge (1.0), Jordon Beaton (1.0) and Littles (1.0) all added a tackle for loss for the game.
The Jaguars ran out to an early 10-0 first quarter lead on their Senior Day, converting on a 32-yard field goal on its opening offensive possession and then scoring on a 45-yard touchdown pass just one play after recovering a Coastal fumble.
The second quarter started out much like the first, as an intentional grounding penalty and a dropped pass ended the Chants' first offensive series in the quarter, while the Jaguars again used just one play, a 73-yard touchdown pass and catch from Orth to Way, to push their lead out to 17-0 with 13:28 to go in the opening half of play.
Shaking off the forgettable start, the CCU offense began to get things going on its fourth drive of the game, as Marable and James combined to rush four times for 15 yards, while Anderson hit Tyler for a nine-yard pass and Williams for a diving 13-yard gain to move the Chants down to the Jaguars' 31-yard line.
Carpenter, who came in for an injured Anderson, quickly hit Likely down the middle of the field for a 31-yard touchdown pass to get the visitors in white on the scoreboard and cut South Alabama's lead to 10 at 17-7 with 8:48 to go in the first half.
However, the Jaguars answered back right away with a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a six-yard touchdown run from Kawaan Baker on the ensuing offensive possession to push its lead back out to 17 at 24-7 heading into the halftime break.
Refusing to quit, the CCU offense took the ball right down the field to start the second half, as Anderson completed four-straight passes, rushed for seven yards and then handed the ball off to James the next three plays with the last one being a two-yard plunge into the end zone for a touchdown.
Biscardi’s PAT capped off the nine-play, 71-yard scoring drive to cut the South Alabama lead to 10 at 24-14 with 10:45 to go in the third quarter.
After the two teams traded punts, South Alabama pulled back out in front by 17 points on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Garvin to Way on a fourth-and-three from the seven-yard line with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Coastal answered with perhaps its best drive of the day, as Anderson found an open Jeremiah Miller for 14 yards on a third-and-13 for a first down to keep the series alive heading into the fourth quarter.
Anderson then opened up the fourth quarter with a 24-yard pass to Jaivon Heiligh, then back-to-back scrambles of 11 and 15 yards to help move the Chants inside the Jaguars' one-yard line with a South Alabama personal foul.
James picked up his second score of the day with a one-yard dive up the middle to put the Chants down 10 at 31-21 with 13:09 to go in the game.
The Coastal defense came up big with another stop to give the offense the ball back with 10:20 to go in the fourth quarter. However, the Chants were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt the ball back to South Alabama with 7:43 to go in the contest.
After forcing the Jaguars to punt and then turning the ball back over to the Jaguars on downs with 3:17 left in the game, the Chant defense came up with a big defensive stop, as Wattley forced and recovered a fumble to give life back to the Chants with 1:47 to go in the game.
Anderson led the offense down the field and found an open Williams in the end zone from 16-yards out with 34 seconds left in the game to cut the South Alabama lead to three at 31-28.