BYU Football falls to 9-1 after 22-17 loss to No. 18 Coastal Carolina ends perfect season

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BYU Football falls to 9-1 after 22-17 loss to No. 18 Coastal Carolina ends perfect season

The No. 13 Cougars narrowly lost to the No. 18 Chanticleers in a game that had serious postseason implications for both teams involved. BYU had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to win it, but Dax Milne was stopped just short of the goal line on a pass from Zach Wilson.

“I want to make sure that I don’t take away from what Coastal Carolina has done. They’re a great team. We just didn’t get the result that we wanted,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I just told (the players) I’m proud of them, I love them. I love being their coach.”

The loss puts BYU at 9-1 and likely out of New Years Six Bowl contention, while boosting Coastal Carolina to 10-0 and into a potential Top-12 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Both teams had just two days to prepare for the ESPN College GameDay matchup after Liberty was unable to play Coastal Carolina due to COVID issues. It was evident that two days was not enough time for either side, particularly BYU in defending the spread option, an offensive scheme they have not seen in 2020.  

Unlike the Cougars’ previous nine matchups, this was a very close, two-sided ball game. The undefeated Chanticleers, who were projected to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference, came out with a strong run game that BYU struggled to stop in the first half. Chanticleer junior running back CJ Marable carried the ball 132 yards for two touchdowns in the Saturday-night thriller. 

Marable finished a long opening drive for the Chancitleers that took over nine minutes off the clock with a six-yard rushing touchdown. Junior kicker Massimo Biscardi missed his first PAT of the season, keeping the Chanticleer’s score at six.

Wilson and the Cougars quickly responded with a quick 76-yard drive that ended with a 42-yard rushing touchdown by standout running back Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier finished with 106 yards on 13 carries against the Chanticleers.

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier finds a hole against Coastal Carolina on Dec. 5. Allgeier had 106 rushing yards on the night. (BYU Photo)

Coastal Carolina’s freshman quarterback, Grayson McCall, fumbled the ball at the BYU 42-yard line on the following drive. The Cougars were unable to capitalize on the turnover, however, getting stopped on downs.

The Chanticleer offense responded with an 11-play drive that led them 51 yards for a touchdown. Reese White finished the drive with a one-yard rush on fourth-and-goal for Coastal Carolina, regaining the lead for the Chanticleers, 13-7.

The Cougars responded with another quick drive that resulted in a touchdown to go up 14-13. Wilson and Milne connected twice on the six-play drive, including Milne’s 41-yard touchdown.

The Cougars eventually regained possession and attempted a Hail Mary to end the half. Wilson’s pass was picked off, however, as he was wrapped up, thrown down, and then picked up and thrown back down again, causing an inter-squad scuffle at midfield as time expired.

The second half was dominated by Coastal Carolina, who held the Cougars to just a field goal in the third quarter. The Chanticleers won a lot of battles in the trenches on both sides of the ball, making it hard for the Cougars to stop the run on defense, and perpetuate it on offense.

“They changed up their (defensive) scheme from what we saw on film,” Allgeier said after the game. “They just had a few more big plays than us. We’ll live and we’ll learn from it.”

Coastal Carolina opened the final 15 minutes of play with a two-yard rushing touchdown from Marable, his second of the night. In an attempt to make up for the missed extra point on their opening score, the Chanticleers attempted a two-point conversion, but were stuffed by the Cougars, making the score 22-17 in favor of Coastal Carolina. 

BYU was forced to punt on back-to-back drives during the fourth quarter, and burned two timeouts early, leaving them with just one in the closing minutes of the game. BYU struggled once again at the line of scrimmage, while Wilson found it difficult to connect with his receivers under pressure. 

BYU charged down the field with a drive that started with 55 seconds left on the clock, but was stopped short inside the five-yard line, ending the game and the Cougars’ undefeated streak. 

“We left it out there. At the end of the day, we just came up short. I’m really proud of this team,” linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi said. “I think we backed up ‘any team, any time, any place.’ We just want to play football. When someone calls our number we’ll be there.”

The Cougars have one more regular-season game scheduled next week against San Diego State on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. MST.

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