CONWAY: Coastal Carolina scored twenty-one points in the fourth quarter to hold off Buffalo 38-26 on Saturday at Brooks Stadium before an announced crowd of 13,372. The win completed a 3-0 homestand to open the season, while marking CCU’s 13th straight non-conference regular season victory. The Chanticleers head to Atlanta on Thursday night to kickoff Sun Belt Conference play against Georgia State before a nationally televised audience on ESPNU at 7:30pm.
Much like last Saturday’s win over Gardner-Webb, the matchup with the Bulls provided plenty of tense moments for the home team. One occurring before most of the fans had a chance to settle into their seats.
Coastal running back Reese White fumbled on the opening play of the game, giving the Bulls the football at the CCU 45-yard line and setting the tone for a wild opening quarter. CCU’s defense held Buffalo to a field goal, giving the visitors from Upstate New York a 3-0 lead just 3:19 into the game. The Chanticleers actually turned it over three times in the opening fifteen minutes, but somehow found themselves with a 7-6 lead at the end of one.
The second quarter was more to form as the teams swapped leads before Buffalo snagged a 16-14 advantage at halftime. Despite trailing, the Chanticleers rolled up nearly 300 hundred yards of total offense, while holding the Bulls to just six yards rushing in the first thirty minutes. Quarterback Grayson McCall was 9-of-14 in the opening half for 125 yards and a touchdown. Buffalo signal caller Cole Snyder matched McCall nearly throw for throw, notching 183 yards passing and a score on 17-of-24 attempts in the first half.
Buffalo (0-3) took a 19-17 lead into the final fifteen minutes, a period CCU (3-0) has branded the “Chants Quarter” and boy was it ever. With the Bulls facing fourth down and eight, Jackson Baltar mishandled a punt snap, which was gobbled up by Gamecock transfer Jahmar Brown for a 21-yard scoop and score, giving the Chanticleers a 24-19 edge with just over 14 minutes to go.
The play ignited the fans and the CCU sideline, while firing up a weary Coastal defense. Jacob Proche picked off a Snyder pass on the first play from scrimmage following Brown’s fumble return and the Chanticleers were in business at midfield. Four plays later, McCall found Tyson Mobley on a four-yard TD toss to push the margin to 31-19 early in the fourth quarter.
Buffalo wasn’t quite done however, as the Bulls cobbled together a 17-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up 6:22 to pull to within five on a short TD toss of their own. But that was as close as the Mid-American Conference members could get as CCU charged right back down the field to put the game away on a 59-yard TD strike from McCall to CJ Beasley.
McCall finished the game with three touchdown passes and, in the process, moved into a tie with former Chanticleer QB Alex Ross for first on the program’s all-time list with his 16th consecutive game recording at least one passing touchdown. On the negative side, the two teams combined for eight turnovers, while Coastal’s defense spent 39 minutes on the field, facing ninety-three offensive plays from the Bulls.