LOS ANGELES, CA. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina fell in its 2023 season opener against UCLA on Saturday night, 27-13.
The Chanticleers entered the game as nearly 16-point underdogs, but they did not play like it in the first half.
Coastal went into halftime trailing 14-6, but opened its first possession after halftime going 75 yards in 9 plays, capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass from fifth-year senior quarterback Grayson McCall to sixth-year senior Sam Pinckney.
McCall was strong on the drive, completing 3-4 passes for 61 yards, including a 52-yard bomb as he took a hit on 3rd-and-7 from his own 28-yard line.
The Chanticleers elected to kick the extra point instead of going for two, making it a 14-13 UCLA lead.
The momentum appeared to stay in CCU’s favor, as sixth-year senior defensive back Clayton Isbell intercepted UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers on the ensuing drive, returning it to the Chants’ 37-yard line to set McCall and the offense up with solid field position.
The offense failed to capitalize, however, as McCall returned the favor by throwing an interception at the UCLA 24-yard line.
CCU’s last five offensive possessions then resulted in a missed field goal, a punt, another interception, a turnover-on-downs and a fumble by McCall as UCLA added a touchdown and two field goals to pull away late, 27-13.
McCall finished 27-42 for 271 yards, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. The rushing attack struggled the most, only mustering 56 yards on 34 attempts.
CCU will return home on Saturday, Sept. 9, for its home opener against Jacksonville State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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Caleb is a digital producer at News13. Caleb joined the team in January 2023 after graduating from Liberty University. He is from Northern Virginia. Follow Caleb on Twitter and read more of his work here.