BOONE, N.C. – For the first time in seven attempts, the Coastal Carolina University football team walked off the field at The Rock at Appalachian State University with a victory after Kade Hensley hit a 24-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to give the Chants a 27-24 Sun Belt Conference win. The victory, in front of 34,252 spectators, moved the Chanticleers to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the SBC while the Mountaineers fall to 3-3 and 1-1.
For the game, CCU quarterback Grayson McCall had an outstanding night as he threw for a career-high 373 yards, completing 19 of his 28 pass attempts to go along with two touchdowns. The Chants outgained the Mountaineers in total yards, 569 to 416, and held a 35:39 to 24:21 advantage in time of possession. They also won the ground attack, 196 to 111 yards. Sam Pinckney and Jameson Tucker recorded 102 and 100 receiving yards, respectively. Braydon Bennett led the all rushers with 64 yards and a TD. Michael Mason led the Chants’ defense with eight total tackles. Clayton Isbell and Mason Shelton each tallied six tackles.
CCU took the opening kickoff and quickly drove down the field thanks to two long pass plays from McCall to Jared Brown for 40 yards and Pinckney for 31 yards. Bennett punched the ball in from one yard out to put the Chants on the scoreboard first. Hensley’s extra point gave CCU a 7-0 lead. The drive took seven plays and covered 83 yards in just 3:43.
The Chants forced App State to go three-and-out on its first drive. CCU started its next drive on its own 37-yard line. The Chants tallied another quick touchdown as McCall found a wide-open Tucker for a 51-yard score. CCU took just 2:28 to cover 63 yards on five plays. McCall’s scoring pass was his 85th career TD, which moved him to second place on the SBC’s all-time touchdown list.
On its next drive, App State had to punt the ball, which was downed at the CCU three-yard line. The Chants moved the ball near midfield before having to punt with 14:08 left in the second quarter. CCU dominated the first quarter of action as it outgained the Mountaineers in total yards, 180 to 36, including 151 through the air; first downs, seven to one; and time of possession, 10:59 to 4:01.
App State’s next drive was aided by a couple of long pass completions and a defensive pass interference call. The Mountaineers closed CCU’s lead to 14-3 by hitting a 29-yard field goal with 11:05 left in the first half.
McCall led CCU down the field on its next possession by finding Bennett for a 63-yard pass completion. The Chants’ drive stalled shortly thereafter but they were still able to put three more points on the scoreboard when Hensley hit a 33-yard field goal. CCU led 17-3 at the 7:30 mark.
App State scored a rushing touchdown on its next drive, which took 4:05 and covered 75 yards on 10 plays. The possession was aided by a 32-yard pass completion on fourth-and-10 and a defensive penalty. CCU’s lead was cut to 17-10 with 3:25 on the clock. With the score remaining 17-10 at halftime, CCU led in total yards, 321 to 158. McCall was 11 of 16 for 237 yards with one TD. Bennett led the ground game with 12 rushes for 37 yards and one TD. Pinckney had three receptions for 58 yards while Bennett, Tucker, and Kyre Duplessis each had two catches for 63, 58, and 18 yards, respectively. Mason and Will Whitson each recorded four total tackles.
The Mountaineers’ opened the second-half with a drive that resulted in a punt. On the ensuing possession, CCU failed to convert on fourth-and-three from the App State 46-yard line. The Mountaineers then drove down the field to knot the score at 17-17 on a two-yard pass play with 6:18 left in the third.
CCU responded with another quick scoring drive as McCall connected with Kendall Karr on 32-yard strike down the middle of the field for a TD. Hensley’s successful PAT made the score 24-17. The drive lasted just 3:30 and covered 77 yards on seven plays. During the drive included a 14-yard reception by Reese White for a first down and a defensive pass interference. The Chants went into the fourth quarter leading 24-17.
After the two teams traded punts, App State drove the ball 80 yards down the field, aided by a 67-yard pass completion, and scored on a five-yard pass. With 8:47 left in regulation, the score was even at 24-24.
On its next drive, marched down the field but was unable to convert a fourth-and-two from the App State 14-yard line. On the very next play, the Mountaineers completed a 69-yard pass but the receiver was hit from behind by Keonte Lusk and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Abraham Temoney at CCU’s 16-yard line. The Chants took advantage of the miscue and marched down the field to the seven-yard, where Hensley nailed the game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired. The closing drive covered 77 yards on 11 plays and used up the final 4:43 of the contest.
CCU will play its third straight road game when it travels to Arkansas State on Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.