CJ Marable waltzed into the end zone for a two-point conversion to seal a 36-35 win for Coastal Carolina over Troy Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.
The victory came two weeks after Coastal dropped a heartbreaker in triple overtime on the road at Georgia Southern.
“I had made my mind up before our offense got the ball back on that last series that we were going to go for two if we got a touchdown,” said Coastal coach Jamey Chadwell. “I wanted us to determine if we were going to win the game or not.”
The game looked like it was going to be a shootout as the first five possessions were touchdowns and the Trojans had a 21-14 lead over the Chanticleers with 3:46 left in the first quarter. On three of the first five drives, each team had a play of 30 yards or more.
“The first quarter looked like we were going to have a horse race on our hands,” Chadwell said. “Luckily things calmed down in the second quarter.”
The scoring certainly slowed after the first five drives of the game as the following eight drives resulted in four punts, two fumbles, a field goal by Coastal Carolina and the end of the first half.
The Trojan lead after two quarters was 21-17.
The Chanticleers controlled a majority of the third quarter as they started the second half with a near seven-and-a-half-minute drive that ended with a Massimo Biscardi field goal to cut the lead to one.
Troy could get nothing underway on offense following the long opening drive by the Chants and Coastal found themselves on their own eight-yard line.
Thanks to a 55-yard run by Jacquez Hairston, Coastal was quickly in the red zone and Hairston finished the drive with a touchdown run from three yards out. A two-point conversion gave the Chants the 28-21 advantage with 2:28 left in the third.
Hairston finished the night with 72 yards on the ground on seven carries and two touchdowns.
The Trojans didn’t stay down for long as they went 79 yards on six plays and tied things up with CCU right before the third quarter ended.
“In the third quarter, I think we kind of took control and then they answered quickly,” Chadwell said. “Our offense kind of stagnated and then we had some chances in the fourth quarter. Our defense gave us the opportunity to get the ball back.”
Troy retook the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Chanticleers had a nearly five-minute drive end in a punt, giving the ball back to the Trojans and putting faith back in the CCU defense.
The Chants had the Trojans with a third and three on the Troy 33 yard line.
“We had to get a stop by any means necessary,” said safety Alex Spillum. “We had to get the job done.”
The defense did get the job done and the Chanticleers took over with 2:15 left in the game.
Bryce Carpenter led the Chanticleer offense down the field, going 7-for-9 and passing for 56 yards. Carpenter finished the game with 285 yards on 32-of-45 passing and a touchdown.
“I was doing whatever I could in that final drive to find my playmakers,” Carpenter said. “The offensive line did a great job on that final drive in giving me time and opening up space for us.”
The final drive for the Chants was capped off by CJ Marable diving forward into the end zone from three yards out.
The Chants would go for the win, but Carpenter saw his pass broken up by the Troy defense. However, a pass interference call gave the Chants a second chance and Marable would make the Trojans pay by converting the two-point conversion.
While Brooks Stadium was rocking in celebration, there was a significant difference in crowd size from halftime to the end of the game. Chadwell hopes that students and fans will show up when the Chants take the field again this Thursday.
“Maybe President [David] DeCenzo can cancel classes on Friday,” Chadwell said. “I hope that after tonight and the way our guys competed on every single snap, they’ll come out and be loud on Thursday.”
Coastal is now 4-4 on the year and 1-3 in Sun Belt play. The Chanticleers end a three-game losing streak and a seven-game Sun Belt losing streak. This was also the first win over Troy in program history as the Chants were 0-2 in their first two matchups.
Coastal returns to Brooks Stadium on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised on ESPNU.