CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina rushed for four touchdowns, passed for two, and scored on six of its 10 offensive series to cruise to a 43-21 win over the Campbell Fighting Camels in front of the max capacity allowed of 5,000 fans in its 2020 home opener at Brooks Stadium.
The win pushes Coastal to 2-0 to start the season, their best start since 2016, and to 2-0 all-time versus Campbell. The Fighting Camels fall to 0-2 on the year.
Coastal is now 14-4 in program history in home openers and have won five-straight non-conference games dating back to last season.
The Chanticleers offense totaled 466 yards of offense on the night, including 193 on the ground and 273 through the air. CCU averaged 8.8 yards per play and did not turn the ball over for the second-straight game.
It started up front for the offense, as the Chants' offensive line did not allow a sack for the second-straight game, nor did they surrender a tackle-for-loss.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall threw for a career-high 273 yards on 11-of-16 passing and two touchdowns. His 273 yards are the most by a CCU quarterback since Bryce Carpenter passed for 285 yards in the win over Troy last season (Nov. 2, 2019).
A trio of backs in CJ Marable (11 att., 52 yards, 2 TD), Shermari Jones (8 att., 45 yards, TD), and Reese White (7 att., 43 yards, TD) all found pay dirt, while juniors Isaiah Likely (3 rec., 96 yards, TD) and Jaivon Heiligh (2 rec., 52 yards, TD) each had a touchdown catch in the win.
Campbell totaled 342 yards on 205 yards rushing and 137 yards passing but lost 38 yards on 8.0 CCU tackles-for-loss and 5.0 sacks.
Quarterback Hajj-Malik was 12-for-25 for 137 yards and an interception, while also rushing for 62 yards and a score on a team-high 18 carries.
Running backs C.J. Freeman (14 att., 81 yards, TD) and Bryant Barr (12 att., 45 yards, TD) combined for two rushing scores while six different Camels caught at least one pass from Williams in the loss.
Coastal’s defense followed up its 12.0 tackles-for-loss and 5.0 sack performance last week at Kansas (Sept. 12) with 5.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles-for-loss in the home-opening win.
Redshirt senior linebacker Silas Kelly led the swarm with a team-high eight tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, and 2.0 sacks, while fellow veteran C.J. Brewer finished with seven tackles, including 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hurry.
Nose tackle Jerrod Clark added five tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and a 1.0 sack, while Teddy Gallagher recorded six stops and 0.5 tackles-for-loss.
The Campbell defense was led by Darion Slade with eight total tackles, while Ray Miller and Tywun Rivens each had six stops on the night.
Campbell looked to get on the scoreboard on the opening drive of the game, as the Camels picked up three first downs and got to the Coastal 28-yard line before a sack by Kelly and an interception by safety Alex Spillum two plays later quickly ended the drive and turned the momentum in favor of the home team.
The “Black Swarm” defense helped to set up the offense for its second score of the quarter minutes later, as the defense held strong on a Campbell fourth-and-two to turn the Camels over on downs at the CCU 38-yard line.
The offense then took the ball 62 yards on nine plays and just under 4:30 off the game clock, getting a 12-yard pass from McCall to Likely and an 18-yard run by Marable to set up a three-yard plunge by Jones up the middle for his first career TD as a Chant.
Place kicker Massimo Biscardi’s extra point was good to put the home team up 14-0 with 34 seconds to play in the first quarter.
After Campbell got on the scoreboard with a 45-yard field goal from Robert Brown to put the score at 14-3, the Chanticleers answered with another double-digit play drive, as McCall connected with Heiligh for a 21-yard touchdown pass and catch to cap an 11-play, 86-yard drive to push the Chants back in front by three scores at 21-3 with 6:19 left in first half.
However, Campbell refused to go away and drive 85-yards on 11 plays on its ensuing offensive possession as C.J. Freeman found pay dirt on a nine-yard scamper to cut the Coastal lead to 12 at 21-9 with 59 seconds left in the first half. A bad hold by the holder on the PAT left the Chants in front by 12 at the halftime.
Both defenses forced a punt out of the halftime break before Coastal righted the ship on its second drive of the half, as the first three plays of the drive went for 11, 13, and 11 yards, respectively, to put the Chants on the Campbell 25-yard line. Five rushes later, White found the end zone on a three-yard run off the left side on a pitch from McCall to run the CCU lead up to 19 at 28-9 with just over six minutes to go in the third quarter.
Following a Camels score to open the fourth quarter, a 13-play, 75-yard drive, that took 6:11 off the game clock, the Chants answered in just three plays as a 65-yard pass to Kameron Brown down the visitor’s sideline set up a nine-yard touchdown run two plays later to put the Chants in front by 21 at 36-15.
A three-and-out by the Camels and a quick 57-yard touchdown strike from McCall to Likely which took just nine seconds of game time sealed the win for the Chants who took a commanded 43-15 lead with 11:36 to go in the contest.
CU added a score late on a four-yard run by Williams but had the extra-point attempt blocked by Kennedy Roberts to put the score at 43-21, where it would stand at the final horn.
Coastal (2-0) will have an open week next week before opening up Sun Belt Conference play versus Arkansas State (1-1) at home on Oct. 3.
· Coastal is now 2-0 all-time versus the Fighting Camels all-time on the gridiron.
· CCU improved to 14-4 in home openers with the win over CU on Friday night.
· The Chants are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2016 and the ninth time in program history.
· Coastal extended its current winning streak in non-conference play to five-straight games dating back to last year.
· The CCU offensive line has not allowed a sack over its first two games of the season.
· Redshirt senior Greg Latushko recorded his first career catch in the first quarter, a 20-yard completion from McCall.
· Junior Shermari Jones' touchdown from three yards out in the first quarter was his first career touchdown as a Chant.
· Redshirt-sophomore Jerrod Clark picked up his first career sack with a 17-yard tackle in the second quarter.
· Freshman running back Braydon Bennett recorded his first career carry in the fourth quarter, rushing four yards.
· The 65-yard pass and catch from Grayson McCall to Kameron Brown was the 10th-longest non-scoring play in Coastal Carolina football history.