Chants look to turn it up on defense vs. No. 25 Colonels

Lost amid the hoopla of Coastal Carolina’s triple overtime victory over Furman was the fact that the Chanticleer defenses yielded 45 points in the win.

That fact wasn’t lost on head coach Joe Moglia, who went from happy for the win to concerned about his defense going forward with the season.

“When we got to the end of the game, our defense fell apart,” Moglia said at Wednesday’s press conference leading up to Saturday’s home game against Eastern Kentucky. “We weren’t doing the job we needed to do. That put us in overtime.

“Fortunately, the breakdown of our defense didn’t cost us the game. … For our team to come through in triple overtime – it was a wonderful victory for Coastal Carolina. We know we made mistakes, and those are things we are going to get better at over time.”

Moglia wasn’t alone in his assessment. Sophomore linebacker Quinn Backus, who was named Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his role in the win over Furman, said the defense needs to clean up its act before facing the No. 25-ranked Colonels.

“Sometimes Furman would catch us doing things we didn’t have any business doing,” Backus said. “This week we have been practicing hard and focusing on our techniques so we don’t have as many mistakes as last game.”

The Coastal defense will have its hands full against a high-powered rushing attack. Eastern Kentucky running back Matt Denham rushed for 166 yards in last week’s 24-17 win over Morehead State after losing the season opener against FBS power Purdue.

“Eastern Kentucky is a better football team and has better talent than either (NC) A&T or Furman,” Moglia said. “They have a great power running attack. Their running back averaged over 6 yards a carry last season and ended up with over 1,500 yards.”

At least the Chants will have the home crowd behind them when they kick off against the Colonels at 6 p.m. Saturday. More than 9,000 fans packed Brooks Stadium for the home opener two weeks ago against NC A&T, and Moglia hopes even more will turn out for the Colonels.

“The students here on opening day were phenomenal,” he said. “That group of students was as enthusiastic as any other group anywhere in the country. The fact that they were that enthusiastic really made us feel good. We’re incredibly grateful for that.”

The Coastal defense may need the 12th man to stop EKU’s ground game.

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