Coastal Carolina begins Sun Belt play with loss to Georgia State

Grayson McCall eclipses 9,000 career passing yards
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:35 AM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. - The Coastal Carolina University football team opened the Sun Belt Conference portion of its 2023 schedule with a 30-17 home loss against Georgia State University on Thursday, Sept. 21, in Brooks Stadium.

The Chanticleers are now 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the SBC while the Panthers improve to 4-0 and 1-0.

CCU quarterback Grayson McCall was 26 of 42 for 295 yards and one TD and surpassed 9,000 career passing yards during the game. Sam Pinckney led all receivers with six receptions for 67 yards. CJ Beasley led the ground game with 46 yards. Juan Powell recorded a team-high nine tackles while Ja’Quon Griffin finished with seven total stops. CCU held a 402-373 advantage in total yards.

For GSU, quarterback Darren Grainger finished the game 15 of 26 for 191 yards and one TD. Marcus Freeman had a big game on the ground as he rushed for 150 yards with one score.

Grainger scored on GSU’s opening possession with an eight-yard TD run to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. The 5:49 drive covered 75 yards in 14 plays. TyGee Leach had a game-high 11 tackles.

With 1:39 left in the first quarter, CCU’s Liam Gray hit a 30-yard field goal to cut the Panthers’ lead to 7-3. The 11-play drive was aided by McCall’s 33-yard pass to Tyson Mobley, who took it to the GSU 29-yard line.

On GSU’s third drive of the game, Grainger moved the Panthers down the field with two deep pass completions to Jacari Carter (16 yards) and Peter Kikwata (21 yards). Three plays later, Robert Lewis scored GSU’s second TD on a 13-yard pass reception from Grainger with 14:25 left in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 14-3 lead.

CCU saw its final drive of the first half end with a 51-yard missed goal attempt. The drive was led by Beasley, who burst up the middle for a 19-yard gain, and Braydon Bennett’s nine-yard reception.

GSU closed the half with a 33-yard Rickman field goal to increase its lead to 17-3.

Through the first two quarters of the game, the Panthers held a 229-131 advantage in total yards, including a 109-23 edge on the ground. The Chants won the time of possession, 16:24 to 13:36. McCall was 11 of 19 for 109 yards. Pinckney and Bennett each caught three passes. Powell led CCU with eight tackles and had one pass breakup. For GSU, Grainger had 120 passing yards and added 29 more on the ground. The Panthers were seven of 10 on third downs.

CCU opened the second half with its best drive of the night that included five rushes: Bennett (one yard), McCall (12), Beasley (13), Bennett (seven), and Max Balthazar (seven). McCall found a wide-open Jameson Tucker in the endzone for a 27-yard TD reception to finish the 75-yard drive. Liam Gray added the extra point to make the score 17-10.

GSU responded with a 27-yard field goal by Liam Rickman at the 5:09 mark. The Chanticleers came right back with another long drive but their 34-yard field goal attempt went wide left. Entering the fourth quarter, GSU led 20-10.

The Panthers used just five plays to move 80 yards in 2:36 to score their next touchdown, which came by way of a seven-yard run by Carroll. GSU led 27-10 after Rickman’s extra point.

Panther punter Kade Loggins fumbled the punt attempt, which was recovered by Abraham Temoney for a CCU touchdown with 7:01 left in the fourth to close the Chants’ deficit to 27-17. With 2:36 left in the game, Rickman made a 33-yard field goal to bring the final score to 30-17.

CCU’s next game will be at Georgia Southern on Sept. 30 and air live on the NFL Network beginning at 7 p.m.

For complete coverage of CCU football, follow the Chants on social media @CoastalFootball (Twitter), (Facebook), @GoCCUSports (Instagram) or visit the official home of Coastal Carolina Athletics at