Grayson McCall passed scored twice and passed for 200 yards and D’Jordan Strong had two interceptions, including a pick-six to lead No. 15 Coastal Carolina to a 34-23 win over Appalachian State on Saturday.
The Chanticleers now move to 8-0, and the win marks their first against the Mountaineers in the all-time series. It also gives CCU the lead in the Sun Belt East.
Strong took his second interception 38 yards for the score with less than 90 seconds to play, emphatically sealing the win for Coastal. It was the third interception thrown by Mountaineers quarterback Zac Thomas.
For Coastal, the only turnover the Chants gave up nearly became the game’s deciding factor.
With about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, McCall tucked the ball and ran from the Mountaineers’ 6-yard line and lost control of the ball as he was trying to stretch it across the pylon.
The “Black Swarm” defense came through for the Chanticleers on App State’s next possession, as Alex Spillum picked off Thomas. McCall then orchestrated a drive ending with a go-ahead scoring run by Reese White.
It wasn’t a pretty start for Coastal Carolina, though, as they found themselves down 17-9 at halftime.
“It wasn’t the best first half for us,” said CCU head coach Jamey Chadwell. “Our players never wavered. We talked all week about trusting ourselves. I thought in the first half we tried to do a little too much.”
App State was in business early in the first quarter, as Camerun Peoples had a 50-yard run early to set up his first touchdown of the game.
McCall’s touchdown strike to Likely came on the Chants’ first play from scrimmage on a 75-yard play. A missed PAT put Coastal down until a 51-yard field goal from Massimo Biscardi midway through the second quarter.
App State went on to extend the lead just before halftime. The Mountaineers formulated a drive from their own 15-yard line, capped off with a 25-yard connection from Thomas to Christian Wells extended App State’s lead at the break.
Likely led all receivers with 118 yards on the day, while McCall led CCU’s rushing attack with 96 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Marable also had 72 yards on the ground.
Thomas threw for 211 yards in the loss for App State, in addition to his three interceptions. Peoples also had 182 yards on 27 carries for the Mountaineers.
Coastal Carolina returns to action on Nov. 28 at Texas State.