College Football: Coastal Carolina 20, Catawba 3
By Ryan Bisesi
CONWAY, S.C. ó It was no day at the beach for Catawba.
A visit to see an old friend resulted in some reminiscing Saturday night, but the good ol’ days looked distant at Brooks Stadium. The Indians lost to Coastal Carolina and former coach David Bennett 20-3 in the first meeting between the schools to fall to 0-2 on the season.
Bennett, who berated cats and challenged his players to be more like dogs in a press conference that went viral earlier in the week, got a response pretty early. The Indians went three-and-out on the game’s first possession and punter T.J. Morrison’s punt was blocked by Tyler McCarthy deep in Catawba territory. Coastal went up with a field goal and never trailed.
ěI’ve got mixed emotions about the game because I felt we played about as physical as can be,î Catawba coach Chip Hester said. ěI thought we were aggressive, but we’ve got some issues on offense right now.î
Catawba played respectable defense and stopped the run for the second-straight week. Coastal ran for just 13 yards on 29 carries. The Chanticleers’ poison came in the form of Coastal quarterback Aramis Hillary, who threw for a career-best 220 yards on 16 of 24 passing. Jamie Childers, who rotated with Hillary, completed six of seven passes for 75 yards.
ěThat scrappy defensive front of theirs, good gracious,î said the always quotable Bennett. ěThey were everywhere. They played with passion.î
Mental errors were pivotal in the meeting with the FCS Chanticleers. Two possessions after the blocked punt, quarterback Jacob Charest lost control of a snap and watched Coastal’s Philip George fall on it. Charest’s two fumbles marred a 21 for 31 night.
ěThat’s pretty much on me,î said Jacob Charest, a transfer from Illinois. ěI’ve got to hold on to the ball there.î
Two plays after that, Aramis Hillary completed his first pass of the game on a 52-yard touchdown throw to Matt Hazel to make it 10-0.
Catawba trailed 20-3 at halftime and had chances to get back in the game, but were 0 for 3 in the red zone.
ěWe’ve got to score some points,î Jacob Charest said. ěEven if its to kick a field goal, we’ve got to do that.î
Jacob Charest’s longest completion of 42 yards to brother Nate Charest followed the Coastal touchdown and set up a 38-yard Thomas Trexler field goal for Catawba’s only points of the night to make it 10-3. Trexler misfired on a 50-yard attempt on the next drive.
Catawba took over at the Coastal Carolina 21 after a high snap on a punt gave the Chanticleers a 21-yard loss on fourth down. Four plays later and with 12 seconds left in the first half, Catawba lined up for a 35-yard field goal before a series of three alternating timeouts. After the stoppage, Hester sent out the offense on fourth-and-six and Jacob Charest’s pass to Eric Morman was incomplete with linebacker Derrick Frasier coming in with the hurry.
ěSitting here right now, we probably should have just kicked it,î Hester said. ěGoing into it, we said we’re playing an FCS team and we’re going to be aggressive. We had the play we wanted and it didn’t work out.î
Nate Charest was the game’s leading receiver, catching eight balls for 102 yards.
Hillary completed three straight late in the first quarter, the last of which set Coastal up at the Catawba 3. He ran it in on third-and-goal for a 17-3 edge.
Coastal is 2-0 for the first time since 2005 despite turning the ball over three times. Catawba recovered a pair of fumbles 1:29 apart in the third quarter, but managed no points after a fake field goal run was stopped.
ěLast time I checked, that ball’s got a Chanticleer on it,î Bennett said. ěThat’s our ball. We’ve got to protect it.î
Catawba failed to reach double-digit points for the second week in a row. The Indians were 5 of 17 on third down but dominated time of possession holding the ball for 34:59 compared to Coastal’s 24:08.
For the second straight game, Cory Johnson lead the team in tackles as he had nine. Tra Ingram and Payton McCollum each forced fumbles.
ěIt was an emotional time to play so many folks that have Catawba connections,î Hester said. ěWith Catawba football, we’re not satisfied with losses but we’re getting better as a team.î
NOTE: The net 13 yards was an all-time low for Coastal.
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