Chanticleers Drop Season Opener at Home to EMU

Chanticleers Drop Season Opener at Home to EMU
(Source: Coastal Carolina Football)

Conway, S.C. – Coastal Carolina got a school-record tying 53-yard field goal by sophomore place-kicker Massimo Biscardi to end the first half but saw Eastern Michigan score 16 points in the third quarter to pull in front for the 30-23 win over the Chanticleers in the two teams’ season opener on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

VIDEO: Chadwell, Chants fall in opener to Eagles

Biscardi’s 53-yard field goal tied Alex Catron for the longest made field goal in Coastal history. Catron’s 53-yarder came at Gardner-Webb back on Nov. 1, 2014.With his three made field goals, Biscardi has now scored in 13-straight games dating back to last season.

The loss snaps the Chants home-opener winning streak at eight-straight games and drops CCU to 0-3 all-time versus teams out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Coastal also fell to 2-2 in games played in the month of August with the loss and 1-2 in season openers in its short FBS history.

The Chanticleers outgained the Eagles 177-126 in the first half, yet saw the Eagles register 126 total yards to the home team’s 24 yards. EMU outscored the home team 25-10 in the second half, with a 16-0 run in the third quarter the difference.

Coastal totaled 378 yards on the day, including 304 through the air headlined by sophomore Fred Payton who recorded a career-high 304 passing yards on a career-high 29-of-43 passing. He also had two touchdowns but was picked off four times.

Junior running back CJ Marable closed the game as the Chants’ leader in both rushing and receiving yards. His 18 carries went for 49 yards while his seven receptions totaled 84 yards, including Coastal’s second receiving touchdown of the day.

Behind Marble, two other receivers in Jaivon Heiligh and Ky’Jon Tyler each had six catches apiece and tallied 76 and 32 yards each, respectively. Eastern Michigan featured a balanced offensive attack, putting up 188 yards passing and 127 yards rushing.

Quarterback Mike Glass III connected on all but two of his 22 passing attempts and factored into all four of EMU’s touchdowns, throwing for three and running in from two yards out for the fourth. Shaq Vann led EMU’s ground game with 22 rushes for 108 yards.

The Coastal offense did not take long to get started in the 2019 season, as the Chants scored on each of their first two offensive possessions to run out to an early 10-0 to start the contest.

The Chants used running back Marable both on the ground and through the air in the first drive, as the junior rushed for four times for eight yards and caught two passes for a total of 24 yards to set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Payton to tight end Shadell Bell for the first score of the game just 4:28 into the first quarter.

Following the 10-play, 75-yard opening drive, the Coastal defense forced an Eagles three-and-out, highlighted by a sack by C.J. Brewer and Tarron Jackson on a third-and-four. The offense took advantage of a 30-yard punt return from Tyler to go 31 yards on 11 plays before a Biscardi 45-yard field goal through the uprights put the home team in front 10-0 with 2:21 to go in the opening quarter of play.

Eastern Michigan got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Glass III hit a diving Dylan Drummond in the back left corner of the end zone for an 11-yard catch and score to cut the Chants lead to three at 10-7 with 11:30 to go in the first half. Coastal was poised to add to its lead on its ensuing offensive possession before an interception by the Eagles Brody Hoying on their own 33-yard line ended the threat and gave the ball back to the visitors in white.

The Eagles then drove the field and appeared to take the lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Glass to Vann, only to see a great hustle play by linebacker Silas Kelly knock the ball loose just before the goal line to force a fumble that hit the pylon for a touchback and negate the EMU score to keep the Chants in front at 10-7 with 3:03 to go before the halftime break.

The Chants capped the first half in a big way, as Biscardi boomed a 53-yard field go to not only tie the school record for the longest field goal made in school history but also pushed the home team’s lead out to six at 13-7 heading into the halftime break. Out of the break, the Eagles took the kickoff and drove 75 yards on 13 plays, highlighted by four plays that went 10 yards or more and aided by a Coastal penalty.

Glass rushed the ball in from just two yards out for the score to put the visitors in front at 14-13 with 9:27 to go in the third quarter. A second interception by the Eagles, this time on a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage, got the ball right back in the hands of the visitors who converted the turnover into three points on a 26-yard field goal off the foot of Chad Ryland to push the lead to four at 17-13 in the third frame.

Chant miscues continued to aid the Eagles in the third quarter, as a 12-yard punt from Coastal’s own 26-yard line set Eastern Michigan up for its third score of the quarter, this time a 19-yard touchdown pass from Glass to Drummond to put the score at 23-13 with 5:53 to play in the quarter.

After another interception by the Chants to start the fourth quarter, the Coastal defense came up with a huge three-and-out stop to get the ball back to the offense down 10 with 12:55 to go in the game.

The offense took the ball and ran with it, as Payton connected with Heligh and Tyler for back-to-back passes of 14 and 17 yards, respectively, to start the drive with two-straight first downs.

Following a CCU penalty, Payton completed two more passes before handing the all over to Marable three straight plays to put the ball on the EMU 26-yard line with a fourth-and-one to go.

On the fourth down, redshirt junior Jacqez Hairston burst up the middle for the first down to keep the drive alive. On the very next play, Payton connected with Marable across the middle for a 22-yard touchdown pass to cut the EMU lead to three at 23-20 with 8:55 to go in the contest.

On the next EMU possession, Coastal appeared to have forced a fumble when Cincir Evans stripped the ball from an Eagle receiver, only to have the play reversed and the player called down by instant replay.

However, on the initial fumble return play, a personal foul was called on the Chants which allowed the Eagles to tack on 15 yards from where the catch was made and give EMU a first down on the CCU 35-yard line.

Three plays later, EMU’s Glass found an open Quian Williams down the right sideline for a 32-yard touchdown catch to put the Eagles back in front by 10 at 30-20 with 5:46 to play. Following EMU’s touchdown, the Chants put together a nine-play, 66-yard drive that stalled at the EMU 9-yard line.

Coastal’s field goal unit took the field, but Biscardi’s 26-yard attempt was pushed wide right with three minutes remaining. Coastal’s defense held strong following the miss and got the ball back to the offense with 2:39 to go.

Seven plays later, Coastal’s sophomore kicker redeemed his previous miss by nailing a 38-yard field goal to cut the Chants’ deficit to seven, 30-23. On the ensuing kickoff, the Chants were kept alive by an onside recovery by linebacker Teddy Gallagher with just 38 seconds remaining.

The following play, however, Payton’s long pass attempt to Larry Collins Jr. was intercepted by EMU’s Kevin McGill.

The Eagles then ran out the game’s remaining 30 seconds to seal the win. Coastal (0-1) will hit the road next weekend for a road contest at Big 12 foe Kansas (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and WRNN Hot Talk 99.5 FM.