Coastal Carolina could not hold a 13-7 halftime lead, losing to Eastern Michigan 30-23 at Brooks Stadium Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Fred Payton threw his fourth interception with less than thirty seconds to go, dashing any hopes for a comeback victory.
“I thought our team played with outstanding effort,” Head coach Jamey Chadwell said. “We kept fighting until the end of the game.”
The Chanticleers took the game’s opening kickoff and wasted no time moving the ball efficiently to the Eastern Michigan end of the field. Coastal Carolina tight end Shadell Bell caught a 16-yard pass from quarterback Fred Payton at the 10:32 mark making it 7-0 for the first points of the game. Payton was 5-5 for 59 yards passing on the drive.
Later, Chanticleers kicker Massimo Biscardi kicked a 45-yard field goal stretching the lead at 10-0 with 2:21 to go in the first quarter. Coastal Carolina finished the first quarter with 96 total offensive yards on 20 plays and limited Eastern Michigan to 32 total yards on offense.
Eastern Michigan answered quickly on their second drive, with a touchdown pass from Eagles quarterback Mike Glass to receiver Dylan Drummond with 11:30 to go in the second quarter making it 10-7. Glass was 7-7 for 42 yards on the drive.
The Eagles drove the ball down the field near the end of the half, but linebacker Silas Kelly jarred the ball loose from the Eagles running back, causing him to fumble out of bounds in the endzone giving possession back to the Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina answered with a ten-play, 45-yard drive cumulating in a 53-yard kick by Biscardi making it 13-7 at halftime. The kick tied a school record for the longest field goal, which was previously held by Alex Catron, who made a 53-yarder at Gardner-Webb in 2014.
Both teams were pretty even in the first half on offense with Coastal Carolina totaling 177 yards while Eastern Michigan tallied 126.
Eastern Michigan took the opening kickoff of the second half, resulting in a 13 play, 75-yard drive. Glass ran it in, taking a 14-13 lead over the Chanticleers. Fred Payton threw an interception on Coastal Carolina’s next drive, giving the Eagles great field position.
The Chanticleers were able to hold the Eagles to a 26-yard field goal, giving Eastern Michigan a 17-13 lead with 8:08 to go in the third quarter.
After stopping the Chanticleers on defense, Eastern Michigan went on a three-play, 62-yard drive, resulting in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Glass to Drummond giving the Eagles a 23-13 lead with 5:53 to go in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
“The third quarter was the difference there,” Coach Chadwell said.
At the 8:55 mark of the fourth quarter, Payton threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to running back CJ Marable in the endzone making it 23-20. That touchdown was the result of an eight-play, 75-yard drive which took four minutes off the clock.
Eastern Michigan quickly answered with a six-play, 65-yard drive of their own, resulting in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Glass to Eagles receiver Quian Williams increasing the Eagles lead to 30-20 with 5:46 to go in the game.
The Chanticleers had an eight-play-26-yard drive that resulted in a 38-yard field goal by Biscardi making it 30-23 with 40 seconds left in the game. Coastal Carolina recovered the onside-kick at the Eastern Michigan 47-yard line, but Payton threw an interception sealing the victory for the Eagles.
“I was proud of the effort,” Coach Chadwell said. “It looked like it was over, they kept playing. We had some questionable things happen, they kept playing. They put themselves in a position where we got the ball back. As far as the passion they played with, the effort, it was great. Where we have to improve; what I shared with them is that little things matter.”
The Chanticleers will travel to Kansas next Saturday to take on Les Miles and the Jayhawks. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
“I think we’re really going to be ready against Kansas,” Marable said. “We should be straight. Everybody will keep their heads up and we’ll be alright.”
Quarterback Fred Payton was 29-43 with 304 yards passing with two touchdowns but had the four interceptions.
Running back CJ Marable rushed 18 times for 49 yards but had great day receiving with seven catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh caught six passes for 76 yards.
The Chanticleers were 3-3 on fourth-down conversions.
The Chanticleers defense limited Eastern Michigan to 315 total yards of offense.