STATESBORO, Ga. (WBTW) – Coastal Carolina fell to Georgia Southern 30-27 in triple overtime on the Eagles home field on a windy and rainy night in Statesboro, Ga.
In their first overtime game since 2016, the Chanticleers took the ball first and drove 25-yards to take a 17-10 lead on a two-yard rush by sophomore Bryce Carpenter on a fourth-and-two.
The Eagles answered with their first touchdown pass of the season, as Shai Werts lofted a jump-ball into the right-side of the end zone to Mark Michaud on a fourth-and-five from 20-yards out to send the game to a second overtime tied at 17-17.
In the second overtime period, the Werts and Michaud connection worked again, this time on a first down from 25-yards out to put the Eagles on top at 24-17.
Coastal converted on a fourth-and-three to keep its drive alive in the second overtime period and then scored on an eight-yard rush from CJ Marable off the left side to send the game to a third overtime knotted up at 24-24.
After the Chants were held out of the end zone and forced to kick a 25-yard field goal in the third overtime period, the Eagles took four plays to travel the required 25-yards and grabbed the win on Wesley Kennedy III’s three-yard touchdown rush.
CCU falls to 6-4 all-time in overtime contests with the triple-overtime loss on Saturday.
Coastal falls to 3-4 overall on the season and 0-3 in Sun Belt play with the defeat. The loss is the third-straight for the Chants and the seventh-straight in conference play.
GS moves to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in league play with the win.
On the night, the Chants finished with 228 total yards with 132 coming on the ground and 96 through the air. However, the Coastal offense was hindered by penalties, called for eight infractions for 76 yards for the game.
Carpenter was responsible for two of the Chants touchdowns. Getting his first start of the season, Carpenter led the Coastal rushing attack with 78 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown and completed 11-of-14 pass attempts for 96 yards and one score. Running back Jacqez Hairston carried the ball 15 attempts for 42 yards, while Marable finished the game with seven carries for 36 yards and the score in the second OT.
The Eagles racked up 307 yards on 66 carries and completed eight passes for 61 yards and two scores while holding on to the ball for a total of 35:12 on offense.
The GS rushing attack was led by Kennedy III, who totaled 129 yards on 25 attempts and reached the end zone twice. Fellow running back J.D. King finished with 21 carries for 80 yards on the ground while Werts toted the ball 13 times for 48 yards in the pistol/triple-option offense.
Linebacker Teddy Gallagher led the way for the Chants defensively with a game-high 11.5 tackles, his third game this season with double-digit stops. Defensive end Tarron Jackson and linebacker Michael Makins added seven stops each on the night, while the Chants as a team totaled 6.0 tackles-for-loss on the night.
The Eagles defense topped the Chants with 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks for the contest, while nose tackle C.J. Wright and linebacker Reynard Ellis tied for the team-high with 6.5 tackles.
After two penalties helped to stall the Chanticleers’ opening drive of the contest, the Eagles nickeled and dimed their way down the field after starting their opening possession on their own seven-yard line.
The Eagles used a 17-yard rush on the second play from the line of scrimmage before methodically driving down the field before a 13-yard rush from Kennedy III on a fourth-and-one kept the drive alive.
The Coastal defense stood strong over the next three plays, including a Ryan Lee tackle-for-loss to hold the Eagles to a 45-yard field goal by Tyler Bass to put the home team on top early at 3-0 with 1:44 to go in the opening quarter.
On the Chants ensuing possession, Carpenter appeared to have a pass attempt intercepted by the Eagles’ Kindle Victor on the first down attempt, only to have a holding penalty call on the GS defender keep the CCU offense on the field.
The offense took full advantage on the second life, as Carpenter and the Chants needed just three plays to score on a 35-yard pass and catch from Carpenter to tight end Isaiah Likely down the seam to put the visitors in white in front 7-3 just six seconds into the second quarter.
The lead did not last long however, as the Eagles used another seven-plus minute drive on their second possession of the game, going 75 yards on 13 plays capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by Kennedy III to give the lead back to the home team at 10-7 with 7:04 to go in the first half of play.
That would be where the score would stand at the halftime break, as the last seven minutes of the half ended with a CCU punt, a GS blocked field goal attempt by redshirt-senior Sterling Johnson and a Coastal fumble on a drop-back pass attempt.
As the rain picked up out of the halftime break so did the defense, as the two teams traded punts over each of the first four possessions of the second half to keep the score at 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
The two teams combined for just 126 yards and six first downs over the third quarter which set up a three-point game going into the final 15 minutes of the contest.
After not converting a single first down in the third quarter, the Chants took advantage of an offsides call on a punt attempt and converted on a fourth-and-one on their own 37-yard line on a two-yard rush up the middle on Hairston.
Following another first down rush three players later by Hairston at midfield, another GS penalty on a CCU punt attempt kept the drive alive as the offense took it down to the Eagles’ 28-yard line.
The 14-play drive that took 7:46 off the game clock was capped off with a 45-yard field goal through the uprights by sophomore kicker Massimo Biscardi to tie the game up at 10-10 with 7:33 to go in the contest.
A huge defensive stop by the Coastal defense gave the ball back to the offense at its own nine-yard line with 4:15 to go in regulation.
However, the offense couldn’t get anything going with its back up against the end zone and was forced to punt the ball back to the Eagles with just under three minutes to play.
The Eagles took over possession at their own 49-yard line with 2:33 to go in the contest only to see back-to-back tackles in the backfield from cornerbacks Mallory Claybourne and Jordan Morris push the Eagles back to the 41-yard line.
A pass interference call on the Chanticleers on a third-and-18 gave the Eagles an automatic first down and moved the ball up to the Coastal 44-yard line.
After three-straight rushes by the Eagles, Bass missed a 53-yard field attempt wide left to send the game into overtime.
Coastal Carolina will have an open week next week before returning home to host Troy for Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Athletics