MONROE, La. – The Coastal Carolina defense made a stop on a pair of fourth downs inside the red zone in the second half to help the Chanticleers escape ULM with a 28-21 Sun Belt Conference road win at Malone Stadium in Monroe, La.
The win was the Chanticleers’ first road win at ULM in three tries.
With the win, Coastal Carolina moved to 6-0 overall and became bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.
Coastal outgained the Warhawks 433 yards to 424 yards for the game, with 323 yards coming in the first half. However, the Chants were called for 13 penalties for 130 yards in the win.
The Chanticleers threw for 246 yards and ran for 187 yards on the night, as quarterback Grayson McCall was 19-of-28 through the air with one touchdown and rushed nine times for 41 yards on the ground.
Running back CJ Beasley toted the ball a game-high 15 times for a game-high 115 yards and two scores, while redshirt-freshman Max Balthazar scored his first career touchdown on three carries and 30 yards in the win.
Once again leading the receiving core was graduate transfer Sam Pinckney with a game-high nine catches for a game-high 133 receiving yards, marking his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, while Jared Brown had four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, a 56-yard catch and run in the second quarter.
For the Warhawks, quarterback Chandler Rogers was 27-of-30 for 279 yards and two touchdowns, as he completed 16 consecutive passes in the contest.
The ULM quarterback connected with 10 different receivers led by Alfred Luke’s team-high six catches, while both Tyrone Howell (4 rec., 77 yards, TD) and Zach Rasmussen (1 rec., 5 yards, TD) each had a touchdown catch in the loss.
On the ground, the Warhawks ran for 145 yards, as Malik Jackson led the way with 12 carries and 52 yards, and a score, while Andrew Henry added nine rushes for 41 yards out of the backfield.
Defensively, the Chants totaled two fourth-down stops and forced two fumbles which proved to be the difference in the contest.
Linebacker JT Killen led the way with 13 total tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1.0 tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup, and recovered two fumbles to lead the “Black Swarm”. Co-captain Lance Boykin finished with seven tackles, matched by both Charles Arnold Jr. and Jamar Darboe and their seven stops on the night.
ULM’s defensive effort, which held the Chants scoreless for the entire second half, was led by Zack Woodward with a team-high 10 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, and a quarterback hurry, while both Tristan Diggers and Lucius Tillery added five tackles apiece.
Coastal struck first on the first offensive drive of the contest, as the Chants went 75 yards in just nine plays, highlighted by a 51-yard run by Beasley which was moved back 10-yards due to an illegal block in the back penalty.
The opening drive was capped with a 16-yard pass from McCall to Jared Brown and a nine-yard run by Beasley up the middle, which found pay dirt to put the visitors in front early at 7-0 following the PAT with 11:05 to go in the opening quarter.
ULM quickly answered, as the Warhawks drove 75 yards in just 2:47, taking advantage of two CCU penalties and a 27-yard rush up the middle by Jackson to set up a one-yard touchdown rush of their own to tie the game up at 7-7 with 8:18 left in the first quarter.
The back-and-forth scoring continued, as the Chanticleers retook the lead at 14-7 on their next offensive series. McCall led the eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive, as the signal caller rushed for five yards and threw for 25 yards before a 31-yard run by Beasley set up a first-and-goal from the one-yard line for the Chants. Beasley capped the drive with a one-yard dive into the end zone with 4:08 to go in the opening quarter of play.
Just like earlier in the first quarter, the home team answered with another score of their own, as the Warhawks drove 75 yards in 11 plays to tie the game up at 14-14 on a five-yard touchdown toss from Rogers to tight end Zach Rasmussen with 13:10 to go in the second quarter.
The ULM score did not slow down the Coastal Carolina offense, as “Teal Team 6” needed just two plays to go 78 yards on their next drive to retake the lead at 21-14 on a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jared Brown with 12:25 left to play in the first half.
Positioned to continue the scoring trend and knot the game back up again, ULM’s Rogers fumbled the ball on a first-and-10 from the CCU 13-yard line, which was recovered by Killen to give the ball back to the Coastal offense.
However, the offense was unable to take advantage of the turnover and went three-and-out to punt the ball back to the Warhawks, starting a trend that saw the two teams trade punts to give the ball to the Chants’ offense with 4:10 to go in the opening half.
That would be more than enough time for McCall and the offense, as the visitors converted five first downs on the drive, including a third-and-nine with the help of an ULM penalty to put the Chants down on the ULM 11-yard line.
Three plays later, Balthazar rushed into the end zone from two yards out to cap the 11-play, 96-yard drive, and put the Chants on top 28-14 with 25 seconds remaining before the halftime break.
Out of the halftime break, the Warhawks scored first, as the home team started on their own 25-yard line and drove 75 yards in just five plays, cutting the Coastal lead to just one score at 28-21 on a 42-yard touchdown pass and catch from Rogers to Howell.
Following another CCU three-and-out, ULM took the ball at its own 43-yard line and used 11 plays to get down to the CCU one-yard line on a Jackson five-yard run.
However, the Coastal defense got a stop on a quarterback sneak on the third-and-one and then picked up a pass breakup by a leaping Killen off the right side of the line on the fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line to keep the score at 28-21 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
The Chants were unable to make the Warhawks pay, as the team in white was forced to punt with Evan Crenshaw putting the home team back on their own 25-yard line with 34 seconds left to go before the start of the fourth quarter.
One play into the fourth quarter, the “Black Swarm” defense struck again, as Joshua Madison forced a fumble by Jackson at the ULM 34-yard line, which was pounced on and recovered by Killen, his second fumble recovery of the game.
Looking to take add to its lead, Coastal took over on the ULM 29-yard line yet saw a holding penalty and a personal foul call back the offense all the way back to the CCU 46-yard line, essentially ending the drive and forcing another punt with 13:15 left on the game clock.
The two teams would again trade punts with another CCU penalty on a kick catch interference call pushing the Warhawks up to the Coastal 31-yard line with 7:34 left in the contest.
The Warhawks would pick up a first down on an eight-yard run by Henry on a third-and-eight and looked ready to punch in the game-tying score by moving down to the Coastal 13-yard line.
On the fourth-and-two play from the 13-yard line, the Chants’ defense rose to the occasion once more, as Jerrod Clark broke through the offensive line and forced Rogers to roll out of the pocket and misfire on a throw to the end zone to turn the ball over on downs.
With 4:00 left on the game clock, the Chanticleers’ offense needed a few first downs to run out the clock, however, two timeouts from ULM and a pair of penalties, including a personal foul call put the Chants behind the chains in a third-and-16 from the ULM 45-yard line.
Forced to punt the ball on a fourth-and-eight, the punt was miskicked and went just seven yards before going out of bounds to give the Warhawks the ball back at the ULM 30-yard line with 28 seconds left on the game clock.
Rogers was able to complete three passes, but it was too little, too late, as the Warhawks were able to get the ball to the ULM 42-yard line before a failed lateral attempt and Coastal tackle ended the game with the Chants on top 28-21.
The Chanticleers (6-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) will return home to host Old Dominion (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) for Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 15, at noon ET. The contest will be nationally televised on ESPNU.