Conway, S.C. – Not even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third quarter could slow down Coastal Carolina football's dominance on Saturday afternoon, as the Chanticleers stifled the Norfolk State Spartans for a 46-7 home win at Brooks Stadium.
The win is the second-straight for the Chants and pushes Coastal out to 2-1 on the season for the second-straight season and the third time in the last four years.
With the win, the Chants improve to 18-1 all-time versus teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and 1-0 against Norfolk State.
Coastal set the tone early, as the Chants' defense held the Norfolk State offense to just 50 total yards on 20 plays and only one first down in the first half. On the offensive side of the ball, CCU tallied 16 first downs on 52 plays and 261 total yards before the halftime break.
For the third-straight game, the Coastal defense held its foe to under 300 total yards of offense by holding the Spartans to just 117 total yards, 75 passing and 42 rushing.
The 117 yards allowed are the fewest for a CCU defense since surrendering 146 yards at North Carolina A&T on Sept. 27, 2008. It also marks the third-lowest in school history behind only 93 yards versus Charleston (W. Va.) in 2003 and 87 yards versus Chowan in 2007.
Coastal's offense totaled 521 yards on the day, a season-high and the most since going for 574 yards at Campbell on Sept. 12 of the 2018 season.
For the second-straight week, it was the Chants' running game that powered the offense as Coastal generated 401 yards on the ground, the most by a CCU offense since rushing for 410 yards in a win at Presbyterian College in 2013.
Junior running back CJ Marable led the way with 101 yards rushing on 19 attempts, marking the first time in his career that he has eclipsed the century mark in consecutive games. Marable scored one of Coastal's four rushing touchdowns, pounding it into the end zone from a yard out at the end of the third quarter.
Two Chants found the end zone for the first time in their careers. Freshman running back Reese White recorded Coastal's first touchdown of the day from one-yard out and later scored on a six-yard dash in the fourth quarter. Redshirt junior Jacqez Hairston ran in Coastal's first touchdown of the second half, carrying it six yards to pay dirt.
Quarterbacks Fred Payton and Bryce Carpenter split time under center through the first three quarters, while true freshmen Grayson McCall and Jarrett Guest saw the field during the fourth quarter.
Payton completed 7-of-19 attempts for 65 yards and rushed for 55 more. Carpenter tossed three completions for 19 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown to tight end Isaiah Likely. McCall connected on all three of his passing attempts, including his first career touchdown toss to Jai Williams to close the scoring in the fourth quarter.
The defense was stellar once again, allowing just one touchdown for the second-straight game. Linebackers Teddy Gallagher and Jamar Darboe led the smothering defense with five tackles apiece, while Brayden Matts and Sterling Johnson each tallied four stops, with Johnson's coming from a career-high 3.5 tackles-for-loss.
Tarron Jackson and Johnson each had one sack in the win, while redshirt senior defensive back Chandler Kryst picked off a pass for his third interception of the season. Redshirt sophomore safety Kameron Burton registered the other interception, the first of his career, to give the Chants two INTs for the second-straight contest.
Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter was 10-of-17 for 56 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, while a trio of players in Kevin Johnson (3 carries, 19 yards), Gerald Hulett (11 carries, 13 yards) and Carter (7 carries, 10 yards) combined for 42 yards on 21 carries.
The Chanticleers took less than five minutes to put the first points of the game on the scoreboard, as sophomore place-kicker Massimo Biscardi capped off an 11-play, 52-yard opening drive with a 41-yard field goal to give the men in Teal a 3-0 lead with 10:41 to go in the first quarter.
After the Chants' defense forced a three-and-out, the offense picked up where it left off on its second drive of the game, this time finishing off the drive with the help of an NSU roughing the passer penalty to find pay dirt.
The Chants drove down to the Spartans' three-yard line and then on a fourth-and-goal attempt, Carpenter was hit late on a pass attempt into the end zone which kept the CCU drive alive. White then plunged in from one-yard out on the extra play for the touchdown, the first of his career, to cap the 12-play, 56-yard touchdown drive.
The PAT was no good, which put the Chants in front at 9-0 with 3:24 to go in the first quarter.
Coastal's defense would need just one play on the next NSU offensive possession to get the ball back to the offense, as Kryst picked off a Carter pass along the home sideline to put the offense in good position.
However, the Spartan's defense kept the Chants out of the end zone this time and forced another Biscardi field goal, this time from 32 yards out to increase the home team's lead to double digits at 12-0 as the first quarter concluded.
Capitalizing off a Coastal Carolina fumble and taking over on the Coastal 42-yard line, the Spartans got on the board in the second quarter. With the turnover, the Spartans drove 42-yards on seven plays and scored on a four-yard touchdown pass from Carter to Anthony Williams to cut the CCU lead to five at 12-7 with 9:20 to go before the halftime break.
The two teams traded punts before the Chants pushed their lead back out to 12 on a Carpenter eight-yard pass and catch to a diving Likely in the end zone with 1:12 to go in the second quarter to put the score at 19-7, where it would stand at the halftime intermission.
Despite coming up just one-yard short from the end zone at the end of the first half, the Chants took advantage of a Burton interception to score less than four minutes into the second half.
The Burton pick and 13-yard return set up a 27-yard scoring drive, as a six-yard touchdown scamper by Hairston capped the drive to put the home team in front 26-7 with 11:27 to go in the third quarter.
Following the lightning delay, the Chants took the ball after a 31-yard punt and drove 58 yards over the next 6:39 of the game to tack on another score on a Marable one-yard spurt through the middle to push the lead out to 33-7 after the extra point.
CCU's White added his second rushing touchdown of the game minutes into the fourth quarter on a six-yard sprint while on the next offensive series McCall led the team on an 87-yard drive before connecting with Williams for a seven-yard touchdown catch with 6:09 to play in the contest.