For the first time in its 16-year history, the Coastal Carolina football team defeated a Power Five opponent Saturday night.
The Chanticleers beat Kansas 12-7 in Lawrence, Kansas.
“This win right here is a legacy builder,” said head coach Jamey Chadwell in a postgame interview with ESPN. “That is what we focused on all week this week — overcoming the odds.”
The Chanticleers were 0-7 against Power Five (ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten) opponents heading into their matchup with the Jayhawks. The closest game against such a large school happened in 2017 when Coastal blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and fell to Arkansas 39-38.
“What we talked about before the game was that we have an opportunity here to do something that no Coastal team has ever done before,” Chadwell said. “Regardless of where Kansas is in their building process, we have a chance to come in and beat a Power Five and show everyone who Coastal Carolina is.”
The Chanticleers fell behind early as Kansas’ Khalil Herbert scored on a 41-yard run on second-and-18 to give the Jayhawks the 7-0 lead with 11:32 left in the opening quarter.
After the two teams traded punts, the Chanticleers had a chance to get on the board with the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week in Massimo Bascardi. However, Bascardi would miss the 31-yarder and his long night of special teams woes was just beginning.
The defense for the Chants came up big throughout the night. Chandler Kryst had two key interceptions, totaling the amount of interceptions he had all of last season.
Coastal finally got on the board with 41 seconds left in the first half as Fred Payton found CJ Marable for a 20-yard touchdown strike. The Chants still trailed 7-6 after Bascardi missed the extra point.
The second half was when the Chanticleer defense stepped up big. Kryst came up with his second interception, which led to the Chants driving down the field to get a touchdown from CJ Marable. The Chants were helped on that drive by a facemask penalty against the Jayhawks before Marable strolled into the end zone from 8 yards out.
The Chants would fail to get the two-point conversion and the score remained 12-7.
After the Coastal touchdown, the Jayhawks had three chances to regain the lead. With over 14 minutes to play in the final quarter, the Jayhawks would call their two remaining timeouts ahead of a fourth down that would not convert.
The Jayhawks would have to go the remaining 14 minutes with no timeouts.
“I know [Les Miles] wasn’t going to go for the field goal,” Chadwell said. “Throughout that whole ordeal, we just wanted our guys to be prepared for whatever he was going to throw at us. Our guys did a great job there.”
Despite the strong fourth down stop, the Chants would go three-and-out and Kansas would have another chance to get the lead back.
Once again, the Chanticleer defense stood tall and denied the Jayhawks on fourth down again.
Coastal marched down the field on a 14-play drive that encompassed nearly nine minutes, but in the end they came up short as Bascardi missed a 27-yard field goal that would have given the Chants the 15-7 lead.
However, for a third consecutive time, the Chanticleer defense lived up to the challenge and stopped the Jayhawks on fourth down, ultimately ending the game as the Chants used the final four minutes to run out the clock and pick up the historic victory.
The Chanticleers first played a Power Five program back in 2008 in Happy Valley against Penn State. The Chants fell 66-10 to then-Joe Paterno’s squad. The Chants have been outscored by Power Five opponents by a margin of 76-363.
This victory came as the Chanticleers were knocked out of their routine thanks to Hurricane Dorian.
“When we evacuated, we thought we had beat the lane changes where everyone was going one way, but we didn’t. So it took us about six hours to get to Greenville,” Chadwell said. “Kids are creatures of habit. We were behind all week with all these changes to practice and we got out of our routine. I was probably a little ornery all week, but the thing I love about this team is that they listened, we talked about what we needed to do to improve from last week and I think we did a lot better.”
Due to the evacuation orders being lifted in South Carolina, the team can now come home to Conway and get back to normal as they prepare for their next game.
The Chanticleers take on Norfolk State Sept. 14 at Brooks Stadium in Conway. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.