Coastal Carolina improved to 4-0 with a 53-3 throttling of UMass Saturday at Brooks Stadium.
“You’re expected to win by a lot on the outside," Coastal head coach Jamey Chadwell said. "But our guys had a great approach all week. Sometimes you worry as a coach about 'Are we going to take games the right way?' But our players did that and they came out and played at a high level.”
The special teams for the Chanticleers certainly thrived, helping set up the first touchdown of the day. A botched punt put the Coastal offense inside the 5 yard line. Two plays later, Grayson McCall pushed his way into the end zone to open the scoring.
“Special teams is a third of the game,” linebacker Silas Kelly said. “A lot of people don’t realize how many special teams snaps there are in a game, but if you go out there and dominate on special teams that gives you an incredible edge offensively and defensively.”
After forcing another punt, the Chants were pinned down at their own 1 but managed to go 99 yards in nine plays. That was a theme for the day. The Chanticleers had three scoring drives of 75 yards or more and completed them in less than 5 minutes.
“We practice these situations all the time,” wide receiver Tyson Mobley said. “Moving the ball down the field, getting set quick and keep moving the ball. Keep the pace up, keep the energy up.”
Reese White capped off the 99-yard drive with a 12-yard run to make it 13-0. The Chanticleers came alive in the second quarter, scoring 16 points in under 4 minutes.
For the second straight game, Isaiah Likely scored a touchdown thanks to a nice lob pass from McCall. On the ensuing drive, the special teams once again pulled through, causing a safety to make it 22-0. Coastal took less than 90 seconds to get another touchdown and suddenly the Chants were up 29-0 with a little more than 8 minutes to go in the first half.
The Chants tacked on another touchdown before halftime.
Without having Shermari Jones in the lineup due to an upper body injury, the Chants looked to other backs throughout Saturday’s game. Sophomore Brayden Bennett came through in a big way for the Chants, running for 83 yards on eight carries.
“Brayden is getting better and better each week,” Chadwell said. “He’s got to continue to learn what he has to do on every play so he can get more opportunities. I said before the season that he’s got some game-changing type speed. He can catch, he can do a lot of things and he’s shown that.”
Bennett scored his lone touchdown of the day to extend the lead to 43. Tyson Mobley’s second touchdown gave Coastal its second 50-point game on the season. Mobley had a rushing touchdown earlier the contest. It was a day of firsts for Mobley as he scored his first career touchdown, posted his first multi-touchdown game and notched his first receiving touchdown.
“It felt amazing to get back in the end zone,” Mobley said.
A field goal by redshirt sophomore Kieran Colohan made it 53-0 Chants before UMass ultimately tacked on their lone three points of the game.
Senior place kicker Massimo Biscardi has missed the last two games due to an upper body injury and Chadwell hopes to have his primary kicker back for CCU’s conference opener on Oct. 2 against Louisiana-Monroe. Liam Gray was the backup for Biscardi, but after missing a field goal last week against Buffalo and an extra point in the first half, Gray was replaced by Colohan.
“I though Kieran kicked the ball well,” Chadwell said. “If I had to say it now, it would be a toss-up if Massimo’s out. Based off the performances that we’ve had the last couple of weeks … Kieran would go out there first.”
With conference play starting next week, Chadwell feels confident going into the next chapter of the season.
“We’ve gotten better each week,” he said. “I like where we’re at. I think we’re playing well.”
Chadwell said there are still areas where the team needs to improve, one of those being making catches.
“We’ve had too many dropped passes,” Chadwell said. “That’s going to cost us eventually. It about cost us last week. So you’ve got to make those catches, make the throws. I mean we missed a throw today on a wheel route. … The more you play better and better teams, those are going to matter.”
On the positive side, the Chants defense held UMass to being 3 of 13 on third down, a major difference from the previous week.
“We got ourselves into good positions on first and second down, got us a lot of third and long situations,” Kelly said. “We were able to execute our third down calls.”
Still, the “Black Swarm” defense of Coastal still has yet to force a turnover — something that is still frustrating for the defense.
“That’s something we really want to do; it’s something that we pride ourselves on,” Kelly said. “That’s something we really try to focus on defense especially. We haven’t been able to do that this year, so that’s something that we want to focus on the rest of the season.”
Coastal Carolina will host Louisiana-Monroe at Brooks Stadium next Saturday, Oct. 2. The last time the Chants and the Warhawks met, it was a 45-42 shootout loss in Monroe. That would be Coastal’s last loss until their overtime defeat in the Cure Bowl last season.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.