CONWAY, S.C. — Grayson McCall completed 11 of 16 passes for 273 yards and two scores to lead Coastal Carolina to a 43-21 win over Campbell on Friday night at Brooks Stadium.
Playing a second-consecutive Football Bowl Subdivision opponent on the road and on national TV, the Camels (0-2) drew within two scores early in the fourth quarter, but could not pull off the upset in front of an ESPN audience.
“They didn’t quit,” said Campbell coach Mike Minter. “That’s what you want when you’re playing a bigger opponent.”
Coastal Carolina (2-0), which won its opener 38-23 at Kansas, scored on its first three possessions and sacked Campbell quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams five times.
The Chanticleers outgained the Camels, 468-342, and both teams finished 4-of-4 in red zone opportunities.
Coastal scored twice in the first quarter, capitalizing on good field position after a turnover; then stopping the Camels on downs.
C.J. Marable capped a 5-play, 56-yard march with a 2-yard run, set up by Alex Spillum’s interception and 39-yard return.
Shermari Jones’ 3-yard run plus Massimo Biscardi’s conversion kick pushed the Coastal lead to 14-0 with 34 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
The Camels drove inside the Coastal 40 on each of their first four possessions and converted 12 of 19 third downs, but could not contain the Chanticleer option attack.
Marable finished with 54 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns, while Isaiah Likely had three receptions for 96 yards and a score for Coastal.
Williams completed 12 of 25 passes for 137 yards, while adding 62 yards and a score on the ground on 18 carries. C.J. Freeman rumbled for 81 yards on 14 rushes and one TD, while Bryant Barr carried 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Barr (36 yards) and Jalen Kelsey (32 yards) both finished with three receptions for the Camels.
Robert Brown’s 45-yard field goal trimmed the deficit to 14-3 with 11:18 to play in the second quarter. Freeman’s 28-yard run, plus a targeting penalty gave the Camels a first down at the Coastal 14. However, an incompletion and sack pushed the Camels back to set up Brown’s field goal.
McCall found Jaivon Heiligh down the right side for a 21-yard touchdown catch that ended an 11-play, 86-yard march and extended the lead to 21-3 with 6:23 left in the opening half.
Campbell answered with an 11-play, 85-yard march finished by Freeman’s nine-yard run. A bobbled hold on the point after left the deficit at 21-9 with 59 seconds left to play in the half. The Camels converted two long third-down situations — on Julian Hill’s 20-yard reception and Barr’s 23-yard catch and run — to extend the drive.
Coastal outgained the Camels. 222-193, in the opening half and sacked Williams three times. McCall completed 8 of 11 passes for 139 yards before the break, while Williams was 7 of 15 for 95 yards. Freeman rambled for 53 first-half yards on nine carries.
Reese White’s 3-yard TD run ended a 60-yard scoring drive where the Chanticleers kept the ball on the ground for all eight plays. Biscardi’s point after pushed the lead to 28-9 with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter.
The Camels marched 75 yards in 13 plays and pulled within 28-15 on Barr’s 7-yard run on 4th-and-2. The 2-point conversion failed, however, but the Camels were within two scores with 14:57 to play.
Coastal responded just three players later when McCall connected with Kameron Brown on a 65-yard completion to set up Marable’s nine-yard scoring run. McCall hit Heiligh on a 2-point conversion to stretch the gap to 36-15 with 13:55 remaining.
McCall found Likely on a 57-yard scoring pass to push the margin to 43-15 with 11:42 remaining.
Williams ran in from four yards out to trim the margin to 43-21 with 3:02 remaining after engineering a 14-play, 72-yard drive.
The Camels return to action next Saturday (Sept. 26) at No. 23 Appalachian State in the third of its 4-game schedule this fall, all against FBS opponents.