No. 15 Coastal Carolina beats Arkansas State 52-20

Sports

Coastal Carolina defenders C.J. Brewer (52) and Jeffrey Gunter (94) celebrate after sacking Arkansas State quarterback James Blackman during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Jonesboro, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Grayson McCall threw a 99-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt and No. 15 Coastal Carolina beat Arkansas State 52-20 on Thursday night for its 11th straight victory.

McCall completed 18 of 23 passes for a career-high 365 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

Isaiah Likely also had a big night, catching eight passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs — and kicking the game off with the school-record 99-yarder.

He became the first tight end in Sun Belt Conference history with four touchdown catches in a game.

“I got the best quarterback in the nation, the best O-Line in the nation. The reason we score 50 points in a game is the chemistry,” Likely said. “Our mantra is to score as many points as we can. Score 50 points and get a burger. I love burgers.”

Coastal Carolina (6-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) also got scoring runs of 64 yards from Reese White and 67 yards from backup quarterback Bryce Carpenter. — both career longs.

“I thought we played really well the first half and clamped them down,” Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell said.

The Chanticleers forced a punt on Arkansas State’s game-opening drive and took over on the 1. A run up the middle went nowhere and on second down, McCall, standing in the middle of the end zone, lofted a pass to tight end Likely, who made the catch in stride just past the 20 and raced downfield untouched for the score.

“That was a great way to start,” Chadwell said.

Shermari Jones, back after missing two games to injury, rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries and dragged a defender into the end zone on a touchdown run from the 8.

Coastal Carolina rushed for 294 yards, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. The Chanticleers piled up 685 yards of total offense, holding Arkansas State (1-5, 0-2) to 273, including 18 on the ground.

“We’ve got to stop the run, we emphasized that all week,” Coastal Carolina defensive tackle C.J. Brewer said. “We want to make them one-dimensional and held them to 18 yards rushing.”

Layne Hatcher came into the game after halftime and led two Arkansas State scoring drives in the third quarter — posting 145 yards of offense in the quarter after the Red Wolves gained 51 in the first half. Hatcher finished 13-of-29 passing for 185 yards with two TDs and a late interception.

Te’Vailance Hunt had a 63-yard scoring reception and led the Red Wolves with six catches for 138 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers are 2-3 versus Arkansas State, earning their first win in Jonesboro. … The Chanticleers entered Thursday’s game allowing 286.6 yards per game, 16th-best in the nation. … The defense held Arkansas State to minus-19 yards rushing in the first half, thanks in large part to three sacks, and ended with 18 yards rushing allowed … Likely’s four TD catches were the most in a game since Matt Hazel had three TD catches in 2010.

Arkansas State: Starting quarterback James Blackman, a transfer from Florida State, was in street clothes on the sideline when the teams came back for the second half. Blackman was 7-for-12 passing for 70 yards and was sacked three times for a loss of 35 yards. … The Red Wolves subbed in Hatcher after halftime and the Little Rock native — who passed for 4,611 yards and 42 touchdowns in the 2019 and 2020 seasons — ended a Coastal Carolina streak of not allowing a passing touchdown this season.

INJURY

Arkansas State cornerback Samy Johnson was taken from the field by ambulance in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Coastal Carolina: At Appalachian State on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Arkansas State: Host Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday, Oct. 21.

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