Statesboro, GA: Coastal Carolina committed four turnovers, and Georgia Southern perfectly executed a fake punt to claim a 38-28 victory over the Chanticleers on Saturday night in Statesboro. CCU QB Grayson McCall, who threw just two interceptions all of last season, was picked off four times in the loss as GSU claimed its first win over Coastal since a 3-OT triumph in 2019. The loss dropped the Chanticleers to 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in the Sun Belt, with a road trip to Appalachian State looming in ten days.
CCU head coach Tim Beck was terribly disappointed in his team’s performance in last Thursday’s loss to Georgia State and wanted to see a better effort from his club against the Eagles. Early on, he got his wish. CCU took the opening kickoff and promptly marched 75 yards in eight plays, with McCall scoring his first rushing touchdown of the season from five yards out to cap the drive and give the visitors some early momentum.
For the most part, Coastal controlled the early portion of the game in front of a record-setting crowd of 26,483 at Paulson Stadium. But when the pendulum swung, the crowd was there to pounce.
On the first play of the second quarter, GSU got its first points of the game on a short TD toss from Tulsa transfer QB Davis Brin. The sixth-year player from Boerne, Texas, threw over, around, and sometimes through the Chanticleers’ defense, completing 34 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. One of his TD tosses was actually deflected by a CCU defender before landing in the hands of his target for six points.
With Coastal leading 14-7 midway through the second quarter, Georgia Southern made one of several big plays that turned the tide in their favor. On 4th and 15 from their own 20-yard line, punter Alex Smith rolled out to attempt a rugby-style punt. However, no one on CCU’s punt team followed him, so Smith declined to kick the ball and raced eighteen yards for a first down. This allowed a 75-yard scoring drive to continue, tying the game at 14 late in the first half.
GSU would add a late touchdown to take a 21-14 advantage into the locker room, but the Chanticleers quickly responded.
On their first opportunity of the 3rd quarter, McCall threw his only TD pass of the night as he hooked up with Sam Pinckney on a 13-yard throw and catch to pull the Chanitcleers back even at 21-21. The lone highlight was just a blip on an otherwise miserable night for McCall. He finished the game 22-of-39 for 299 yards with one TD pass and a career-high four interceptions. One of which was returned for a touchdown to put the Eagles ahead for good at 31-21 with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter.
Braydon Bennett led the CCU rushing attack, going over 100 yards for the first time this season. Bennett, who surpassed 1,000 career yards with his 114-yard performance, also scored a touchdown.