Coastal Carolina made history on the football field and in the stands Saturday.
The newly renovated Brooks Stadium, which now seats 15,500, hosted a record crowd of 13,274 for the team’s first FBS game. The Chanticleers also defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen by a final score of 38-28.
Although the final score doesn’t make the game seem that close, it was a nail biter throughout the first half, as the Chanticleers and Minutemen traded touchdowns.
Coastal struck gold with senior quarterback Dalton Demos, who scored the first two touchdowns for the Chanticleers with runs of one and 22 yards.
It seemed as if Coastal was going into the halftime tied at 14, but senior running back Osharmar Abercrombie bulldozed his way in for a touchdown with a four-yard run, giving Coastal the lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, UMass scored again, but Coastal seemed to find its groove, putting up 10 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Coastal’s interim head coach Jamey Chadwell seemed pleased with the result.
“I’m happy for Coastal Carolina University,” he said. “I’m happy for our football team, and specifically coach [Joe] Moglia and the program that he’s built and the foundation. It was great for us to get that first FBS win because … this university gave us the resources to help us reach this level and I’m thankful we can get that out of the way in the first game. We put a lot of work into this and truthfully we really didn’t know how it was going to turn out. We didn’t know if we were ready to make this jump. I couldn’t be more proud of our team and their effort.”
Moglia, the team’s head coach, is taking a sabbatical this season to deal with some health issues.
Although Coastal earned its first win at the FBS level, there are still lots of question marks for the team. The Chanticleers used three quarterbacks throughout the game, mostly for rushing. Coastal also had four new starters on offensive line, including a freshman center. The only consistent leader for the offense was senior Osharmar Abercrombie, who was the sole running back, dashing for 149 yards on 17 carries and scoring twice.
“We had a great offensive line,” Abercrombie said. “We had a couple guys rotating in, and with all those guys, the tight ends and wide receivers, everybody did their part today and made sure they blocked. I just ran behind my boys. They kept us rolling tonight.”
Coastal will have more to prove this season. The Chanticleers will have a precious by week before heading to some away games. Coastal threw for a total of 80 yards in Saturday’s game, something that will have to change if Coastal wants to not only compete but also win at the FBS level.
“This week we can work on a few things that we noticed we didn’t execute correctly, but overall I’m happy how we played,” Chadwell said. “We’ve got to throw the ball more. That’s going to be something we need to work on.”