The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 24-21 win over Texas State Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 15,000 people at Brooks Stadium.
“I was proud of our guys' effort out there today from beginning to end,” said head coach Jamey Chadwell. “They fought, they competed and they represented Coastal Carolina really well today.”
Both teams had rough starts. Neither team could get things going on offense as it remained scoreless after the first quarter.
It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter when someone found the end zone. That someone was senior Shadell Bell for Coastal Carolina. The Clemson transfer made his senior day a special one with his second touchdown of the season to give the Chants a 7-0 lead.
“It was great to get a win with these boys,” Bell said. “We’ve been grinding and grinding to get a win these past few weeks, so get a win on the final game of the season is like the perfect ending to a chapter in a book.”
Texas State did respond with a touchdown late in the second quarter to even the score at 7 all at the half, but the second half belonged to the Chanticleers.
With what was one of the catches of the season for the Chants, wide receiver Isaiah Likely juggled the ball before securing it at the goal and falling into the end zone to put the Chants back on top late in the third quarter.
The Chants kept the momentum going and tacked on a field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-7 over Texas State.
While the Bobcats responded on the following possession, it was the running game for the Chanticleers that would help secure a win.
Coastal utilized junior running back CJ Marable throughout the game, but the Presbyterian transfer thrived in the second half.
Marable had 125 yards rushing on the day, his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season. The 125 yards rushing pushed Marable over 1,000 yards for the season, making him the fourth player in CCU history to reach that mark in a single season.
“To be truthful, CJ has been our most consistent player,” Chadwell said. “He works hard and cares about the sport. He won’t complain if carries are taken away from him. He goes to work every play and does what he has to do to get the job done.”
Marable’s lone touchdown on the day came at the 4:03 mark in the fourth quarter, pushing the Chants' lead back to double digits at 24-14.
Texas State would get another touchdown in the final two minutes to pull within three, but the Chants sealed the win after recovering an onside kick.
“We have played a lot of close games and came up short,” Chadwell said. “So it was great to get a win and send the seniors out on the right note.”
The Chants end the year 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Sun Belt play. Despite the third consecutive losing for the Chanticleers, Chadwell remains hopeful for the 2020 season.
“There were a lot of positives to build off of this season,” he said. “Off the field, I would grade ourselves with a B. On the field, I’d say we are about average. There are some things I could’ve done better and help our team get over the hump.”
There are some reasons for the Chanticleers to be optimistic going into 2020.
First, they will return many key players who missed games due to injury. Linebacker Silas Kelly played in two games this season and missed the rest of 2019 due to a lower body injury. Kelly came into 2019 with 135 tackles.
The Chants will also bring back Teddy Gallagher, who didn’t practice leading up to the Texas State game.
Tarron Jackson will be returning for his senior season as well. Jackson had three sacks on the day, giving him 10 sacks on the year, a Coastal Carolina single season record.
“I’m very hopeful for next year,” Jackson said. “We had a lot of young guys step up and get a lot of playing time that they would not have seen because of injuries. They stepped up big for us this season when our main guys like Silas went out. So you add the experience our young guys got, plus guys like Silas coming back as well as the recruiting class we could be bringing again, the sky is the limit for us next year.”
The coaching staff at Coastal now shifts their eyes back to recruiting with the early signing day period less than a month away.
Coastal Carolina will start the 2020 season on the road in Columbia at Williams-Brice Stadium for the second time in three seasons. The Chants fell to South Carolina 49-15 in the 2017 season opener.
The 2020 season will also feature a historic milestone for the program as they will play host to a Power 5 program for the first time in school history when the Kansas Jayhawks come to Conway on Sept. 26.
The Chanticleers defeated the Jayhawks 12-7 in Lawrence this year, the first win over a Power 5 program in school history.