Tim Beck’s first home game as head coach at Coastal Carolina began with sprinkles of rain. It ended with a bucket of ice-cold water being dumped on him by his players following the Chanticleers’ 30-16 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday night. The victory, in front of an announced crowd of 16,006 at Brooks Stadium, was Beck’s first as a head coach after spending nearly twenty years as a “Power 5” assistant.
The game started as though the Chanticleers (1-1) wanted to make sure Beck could comfortably enjoy his first home game, as CCU scored on its opening possession. Brayden Bennett’s 8-yard TD run capped a snappy 9-play, 76-yard march that included a nice mix of run and pass. Sam Pinckney’s 33-yard reception highlighted the drive and put the Chanticleers in position to score on Bennett’s run on the subsequent play.
After that, however, the Chanticleers found the going tough as Jacksonville State (2-1) started to dig in defensively. The Gamecocks got two field goals over the duration of the first quarter, and by the time lightning brought a halt to the proceedings, it was 7-6 late in the first quarter.
Following a nearly 40-minute weather delay, the game resumed with the final play of the opening period.
The two teams swapped leads in the second quarter, with the visitors enjoying their only advantage of the game, 9-7, on a 28-yard field goal by Alen Karajic at the 10:42 mark of the frame. CCU’s Liam Gray answered with a 28-yard try of his own to put the Chanticleers back in front for good. Gray would knock home two more field goals and convert a successful onside kick in the game, earning praise from his head coach after missing a pair of kicks in last week’s loss at UCLA.
The second half belonged to Coastal, or more accurately, Jared Brown. The redshirt sophomore wideout caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson McCall. Then he electrified the crowd with a 77-yard TD run in which he raced down the sidelines and accelerated away from the Gamecocks’ defense. Brown finished with 170 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.
Jacksonville State scored its final touchdown with ten minutes remaining to cut Coastal’s advantage to 30-16, but that was as close as the Gamecocks would get. However, it was close enough to make Tim Beck heave a sigh of relief after his first win and right before his CCU pullover was doused with the celebratory bucket.
“Relieved, it feels relieved,” Beck said in the postgame when asked to describe his feelings about victory number one. “They were a good football team. 2-0, really good defensively. One of the top turnover teams in the country. They do some very, very unique things. My hat goes off to them.”
CCU is back at home next Saturday to play host to Duquesne at 7pm.