Chants explode in second half to cruise past Blazers

Coastal Carolina football used a number of big offensive plays and a blocked field goal on a game-tying attempt by UAB late in the third quarter to score 40 of the final 43 points of the game in a 47-24 rout over the Blazers in the 2018 home opener on Saturday night at Brooks Stadium.

With the win, the Chants (1-1) improved to 13-3 all-time in home openers and extended its streak to eight-straight home-opening wins. Coastal remains unbeaten in home openers under head coach Joe Moglia improving to 6-0 (2012-16, 2018).

The 47 points are the most for the Chanticleers in the FBS era and the most points scored since posting 48 points versus Presbyterian College on Oct. 29, 2016.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys,” Moglia said. “I mentioned all week they are a very good football team. They are well coached and they are very effective from an offensive perspective, from a defensive perspective and on special teams. They are one of the oldest teams in the country and they have a lot of experience.”

After just two plays of 20-yards or more in the season opener at South Carolina one week ago, the Chanticleer offense tallied seven “big” plays of 20-plus yards or more on Saturday night versus the UAB Blazers (1-1).

However, the biggest play of the game came late in the third quarter as the Blazers looked to tie the game up at 27-27 on a 50-yard field goal attempt only to see sophomore defensive lineman Jeffrey Gunter bust through the line and block the attempt with his right hand to keep the home team in black in front at 27-24.

“They moved the ball very effectively against us and shut us down on offense and scored 21 unanswered points,” continued Moglia. “What I was proud of with our guys was the way they hung in there and the defense started to improve and started getting a feel for what they were doing. Frankly they (UAB) are very big and they are strong and it takes a little while to adjust to that.”

Senior running back Marcus Outlow posted a career-night with 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It marks the first 100-yard rushing game of his career. He also caught one pass for nine yards on a key third-and-nine in the fourth quarter.

Coastal quarterback Kilton Anderson was 11-of-18 for 167 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground in the home win. Anderson connected with six different receivers on the night, highlighted by three catches apiece from receivers Ky’Jon Tyler and Jeremiah Miler. He also rushed for a career-high 72 yards on 13 attempts.

Moglia added, “I think the offense stayed steady as the game went along and we did a good job of protecting the ball.”

The Chants defense tightened up after the first three series to hold UAB’s offense to just a field goal and a total of 223 yards over the next seven drives, including just 112 yards in the second half.

“In the second half we made good, smart adjustments. We made those from an offensive perspective and a defensive perspective and we made a couple of small changes on special teams,” Moglia said.

The defense was led by Fitz Wattley, Silas Kelly and Tarron Jackson, who all finished the game with eight tackles. Jackson added 1.5 sacks, 2.0 tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries. CJ Brewer and Gunter finished with 1.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage as well.

Junior defensive back Chandler Kryst picked up CCU’s first interception of the season late in the fourth quarter, which CCU’s Torrance Marable turned into his second touchdown of the game with a 34-yard burst with three minutes left in the game.

Playing in front of the home crowd for the first time this season, the Chanticleer offense did not disappoint as it took just three plays and 0:43 seconds for the home team to jump out to an early lead on a 60-yard touchdown run by Outlow.

Outlow’s 60-yard scamper, the longest rush of his career, was also the longest rush by a Chanticleer since Osharmar Abercrombie registered a 55-yard run at Arkansas State last year.

After the Blazers would score on their first three possessions of the game, converting on three third downs, including a third-and-21 and a third-and-11 to take a 21-7 lead, the Chants offense answered with a number of big plays and a pivotal defensive stop to cut into the UAB lead.

Coastal picked up an Anderson 35-yard strike to wide receiver Tyler followed by a 29-yard pitch and catch from Anderson to Marable for a touchdown to cut the Blazers’ lead in haft at 21-14 with 12:10 left in the second quarter.

Following a key defensive stop, Anderson used his legs to run 26 yards untouched on the next Chanticleer drive to put the home team down one at 21-20 after the missed extra point.

Coastal took the momentum from a UAB missed field goal in the final seconds of the first half and a three-and-out by the defense to start the second half to take the ball on its own 15-yard line down 24-20 line 13:49 to go in the third quarter.

The offense then rode the right arm of Anderson and the legs of Outlow to an 11-play, 85-yard touchdown drive capped off by 1-yard score by Outlow to claw back in front at 27-24 with 6:58 left in the third.

The Chants added 20 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

The Chants finished the game with 463 yards of total offense; 296 rushing and 167 passing. CCU also had the ball for over 31 minutes in the game and was 7-of-10 on third down conversions.

Coastal Carolina will host the Campbell Fighting Camels (2-0) on Saturday night, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. ET at Brooks Stadium.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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