Author’s Note: There were no photos available from Saturday’s contest.
Through three quarters, it looked to be either team’s game to win, but in the end Coastal Carolina prevailed with a 28-14 win over a visiting Georgia Southern team.
It was announced about 30 minutes before kickoff that Chanticleers starting quarterback Grayson McCall would not suit up with an upper body injury in this one, but Fred Payton was able to get it done to keep Coastal Carolina undefeated this season.
Payton finished the day with 252 yards passing and 3 throwing scores to go with 2 interceptions, and ran for 38 yards as well.
In the running game, each of Payton, Shermari Jones, CJ Marable and Reese White shared ball carrier duties, although Southern’s front seven did a good job of containing the Chanticleers rushing attack for much of the day. Jaivon Heiligh did much of the damage through the air, hauling in 5 catches for 107 yards for the Chants in the win.
Coastal’s defense was stout in the victory, allowing just 218 total yards to Georgia Southern and forcing Eagles quarterback Shai Werts to throw a pair of interceptions. Werts struggled in the loss, completing just 7 of his 20 attempts for 94 yards and the two picks and missing some big throws that may have given the team some much needed first downs.
This contest was tight from the outset, as Payton connected with receiver Sam Denmark for a 72-yard touchdown to put Coastal up 7-0 just 8 minutes into the contest.
Georgia Southern’s Wesley Kennedy helped get his team into a 7-7 deadlock with a fantastic 51-yard punt return at the end of the first quarter, juking out several pursuers in the process.
Nasty pic.twitter.com/LBjKrgrVEC— Brian Stone (@WatchTheStone) October 24, 2020
From there, each team added another score before the end of the first half, and that 14-14 tie held until the flood gates opened in the fourth quarter, allowing the Chanticleers to pull away for the 14-point win to move to 5-0 and 3-0 in conference play.
Coastal will visit Georgia State next Saturday, as the Chanticleers will hopefully get Grayson McCall back for the showdown with a high-flying Panthers squad.
If you’re a Southern fan, tell me if this sounds familiar: The Eagles played fairly well against a good Sun Belt opponent for much of the game, only to eventually blow it due to a lack of explosiveness on offense and a defense that faded when the game hung in the balance.
As a team, GS ran for just 119 yards with J.D. King as their leading rusher at 67 with a touchdown. Offensively, it’s time to move on from coordinator Bob DeBesse, as Southern managed just 7 points on that side of the ball and lost by two touchdowns to a backup, albeit a good backup quarterback in Payton.
All-in-all, this year’s Eagles team is simply average. Southern will beat the teams they are supposed to, outside of maybe keeping it close against a better team just enough to give fans hope before they ultimately collapse at the end. They have done this twice already this season.
The way that GS is playing now, it might win 2-3 more games this year, but the ceiling for this team is extremely low barring a major change or adjustment offensively.