Coastal Carolina dominated the Kansas Jayhawks in a 27-point victory Friday night in front of a record crowd of 17,697 at Brooks Stadium.
The win marked the first time in program history that Coastal hosted a Power 5 opponent.
“I was pleased with our victory,” head coach Jamey Chadwell said. “We had the opportunity on national television to showcase our university and our play. To set an attendance record is awesome. Our student body was great. That was fun to see and be a part of.”
Coastal got out to a shaky start as the two teams traded touchdowns early with the Jayhawks holding a 9-7 lead after the opening quarter.
The Chanticleers responded big in the second quarter, scoring 21 points in nine minutes. Coastal quarterback Grayson McCall used his legs to find the end zone from 2 yards out with just over 11 minutes to go in the second. On the ensuing drive, Kansas went three and out but senior cornerback Alex Spillum blocked the Jayhawks punt and recovered it in the end zone.
Suddenly, Coastal went from trailing by two to leading by 12.
Junior Reese White scored his first of three touchdowns on the night for Coastal to give the Chants a 28-9 lead with less than three minutes to play in the first half. White finished with 102 yards rushing – the first 100-yard rushing game of his career.
“I’m actually pretty excited,” White said. “It just makes me think that I want to do it again.”
The Chanticleer offense accounted for 460 yards. After two games in 2021, the Chants are averaging nearly 9 yards per play.
“That’s almost a first down every down,” White said. “That says a lot about our offense and our o-line. We work hard on those situations to get nine yards a play, it’s pretty good.”
Despite going into halftime with a 28-15 lead, Kansas came into the second half energetic and ready to battle, forcing Coastal to go three and out on their first drive. Then Jayhawk quarterback Jason Beam scored his second rushing touchdown of the night from 46 yards out to close the gap to six points.
“All the momentum seemed to be on their sideline,” Chadwell said. “And that was a time for us to say ‘Oh, maybe we’re not this and not that’ and then we scored 21 straight points and shut them out the rest of the way. That told me about the character of our team and I was really proud of that.”
Beam racked up a total of 189 yards through the air and 102 yards on the ground, with two rushing touchdowns both going for more than 30 yards.
“He can run,” Chadwell said. “He’s quick. And maybe we were slow? I don’t know. I think our defense can run, but he made some plays.”
Coastal responded after that touchdown with two touchdowns by White. An 11-yard pass from McCall to tight end Kameron Brown with just under five minutes to play put the nail in the coffin for Kansas.
McCall finished with 245 yards passing on 17 of 21. With 245 yards passing Friday night, McCall became the fifth Chanticleer to reach 3,000 career passing yards.
Last week against The Citadel, Coastal had two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, a rarity for Chadwell’s team. The Chants did have one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against them Friday night following was initially believed to be an interception on a third down play. However, replayed reversed the call, saying the pass was incomplete and the penalty gave the Jayhawks a first down. Kansas capitalized on the error, scoring their first touchdown on the night.
While the penalty was somewhat costly early in the contest, Chadwell felt the call was a bit unnecessary.
“We were on the sidelines celebrating and the official said we got too far past the 20-yard box,” Chadwell explained. “On the sideline, typically you’re allowed to celebrate. And he said we went too far. [It’s] a little ticky-tack to be honest but it’s a penalty and it hurt us on that drive.”
Despite the Chanticleers defense forcing Kansas to convert seven of their 15 third downs, even going 0 for 5 on fourth down, Chadwell said there still needs to be improvement in that aspect.
“Seven of fifteen is not very good, to be honest with you,” Chadwell said. “That’s almost 45, 50% and we don’t want to be there. Now, the 0-for-5 is great. But on 7-of-15 on third down, they’re almost converting half of those. You can’t win a football game and allow an offense to convert half of their third downs. We got to clean that up.”
A highlight on defense Friday was the play of freshman Josiah Stewart, who had 3.5 sacks on the night.
“Josiah was outstanding tonight,” Chadwell said. “Last week, he played a little bit and you don’t get to use his skill set when you’re playing an option team. We think he’s got a chance to be really, really good.”
The 3.5 sacks from Stewart surpasses the record for most sacks in a single game set by Tarron Jackson in 2019.
“Man, this is unbelievable,” Stewart said. “From thinking about where I thought I’d be playing football to now, I never dreamed of this. I didn’t think I’d be in this position. These coaches helped me out getting the chances I deserve and I just made the most of it.”
Coastal Carolina will travel to Buffalo next Saturday. Last season, the Bulls went 6-1, falling in the Mid-American Conference Championship game but rebounding with a 17-10 win over Marshall in the Camelia Bowl.
The Bulls defeated FCS opponent Wagner 69-7 in their season opener on Sept. 2 and are scheduled to play at Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Kickoff between the Bulls and the Chants is set for noon on Saturday, Sept. 18. The game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.