There are several truths in the world. You all know about death and taxes, but what about Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern playing football in the rain? That one is probably not as popular, but it’s just as certain. Despite moving the kickoff from 4pm to 7pm on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s landfall in South Carolina on Friday, the Chanticleers and Eagles still found a way to play in the rain. And Saturday’s game matched the 2019 triple-overtime classic in Statesboro, which was also played in a downpour.
With time running out and a driving rain falling on the “Surf Turf” at Brooks Stadium, CCU (5-0/2-0) was able to march 82-yards in eight plays, scoring a touchdown with just :38 remaining to beat the Eagles, 34-30, in front of an announced crowd of 18,756 in Conway.
In a contest that was billed as a matchup between two of the top scoring offenses in the Sun Belt Conference, the two defenses controlled the first half. Coastal grabbed a late first quarter lead on a 4-yard TD run from quarterback Grayson McCall to cap the first of five scoring drives of 76 yards or more by the Chanticleers.
Georgia Southern (3-2/0-1) answered back with a 34-yard TD pass from Kyle Vantrease to Derwin Burgess. The XP made it 7-7 with 12:31 to go before halftime, but neither team would crack the scoreboard again until the 3rd quarter. Vantrease, who transferred to GSU from Buffalo, finished 26-of-43 for 284 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT.
“Mother Nature” began to soak the field in the third quarter, but that did not dampen the offenses, as both units came out on fire in the 2nd half, especially the visitors. Following an 18-yard TD run from Jalen White, the Eagles held what appeared to be a comfortable 24-14 lead early in the fourth. However, all season, that quarter has belonged to the Chanticleers.
CCU QB Grayson McCall threw back-to-back touchdown passes to give Coastal a 28-27 advantage with just 5:55 remaining in the game. McCall finished the contest 23-of-34 for 335 yards and 3 TDs, extending his school record to 18 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass in the process.
But Georgia Southern wasn’t finished. The Eagles cobbled together an 11-play, 85-yard drive to get a go-ahead field goal from Alex Raynor with 2:05 left in the game. However, a head-scratching decision to throw the football on 2nd down and goal loomed large in the final moments. The incomplete pass allowed CCU to manage their final timeouts and get the ball back for McCall and the offense with plenty of time, trailing 30-28.
The preseason Heisman Trophy candidate worked his magic and led his troops down the field in the waning seconds before CJ Beasley turned on the highlight tape. The Norfolk, Virginia native raced twenty-four yards for the game-winning score, hurdling a would-be Eagle tackler in the process, and sending the rain-soaked crowd home happy and in awe. Beasley finished the game with 64 yards rushing on twelve carries and the show-stopping touchdown.
Coastal is back on the road next Saturday at Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is set for 8pm ET. Meantime, the Eagles travel to instate rival Georgia State for a 2pm start on Saturday.