No. 17 Coastal Carolina wins 53-3; UMass’ 15th straight loss

David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
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CONWAY, S.C. — Coastal Carolina’s defense loves watching the Chanticleers’ offense operate, as long as it’s on game days and not in practice.

Both sides of the ball stood strong Saturday as the 17th-ranked Chants scored on eight of nine possessions for a 53-3 victory that sent UMass to its 15th consecutive loss.

Chants linebacker Silas Kelly said the strength of the defense directly correlates to the offense since they go after each other at practice.

“Those guys are insane,” Kelly said. “They’re really, really good. And seeing them at practice has a lot to do with it, too. Hopefully, when you play against guys like that, it makes games a little bit easier.”

Things looked easy for the Chants in this one as they opened 4-0 for a second straight season. The offense piled up 558 yards and the defense held a shutout until midway through the fourth quarter.

“As I said, playing together helps,” Kelly said. “We just want to have a lot of fun out there.”

Grayson McCall threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Jaivon Heiligh had five catches for 118 yards receiving, the fifth time in the past six games he’s surpassed the century mark. Backup receiver Tyson Mobley a touchdown catch and another on the ground.

“Everybody on the offense is making plays,” Mobley said. “That’s just the way it is.”

The Chanticleers have won 15 of their past 16 games. They also cranked things up after a subpar offensive showing in 28-25 win at Buffalo last week.

McCall was again at the center of things. He opened the scoring with a 3-yard run and added scoring passes of 25 yards to Isaiah Likely and a 23 yards to Heiligh. By then Coastal Carolina led 36-0 and the only drama left was whether the defense could claim its first shutout since a 51-0 win over Georgia State last season.

The Minutemen (0-4) broke through with 8:23 left on Cameron Carson’s 35-yard field goal. UMass, a Bowl Subdivision independent, hasn’t won since topping Akron 37-28 in September 2019.

Coastal Carolina had little trouble igniting its offense, especially with the help from Minutemen special teams.

A high snap on a UMass punt led to a block as George Georgeopoulos tried to kick it away as he scrambled. That set up McCall’s scoring run.

His team down 20-0, Georgeopoulos couldn’t get a handle on a snap deep in his end zone that went out of bounds for a Coastal safety.

“The most disappointing thing was we weren’t able to take advantage of our opportunities,” UMass coach Walt Bell said.

In all, the Chanticleers scored on all five of their first-half possessions for a 36-0 lead. They added two touchdowns and a field goal the next three times they had the ball. The run ended on the UMass 2 when Coastal Carolina knelt down with 25 seconds left and the clock ran out.

THE TAKEAWAY

UMass: The Minutemen continued their struggles in their FBS journey and showed how far they have to travel to compete with a ranked Group of Five opponent. UMass couldn’t match up in any phase of the game with costly mistakes on offense, defense and special teams.

Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers shook off a so-so performance last week with a dominant outing heading into Sun Belt Conference play next week. McCall and the offense were efficient and effective, even without leading rusher Shermari Jones out with turf toe.

POLL POSITION

It’s hard to tell where Coastal Carolina will wind up when the Top 25 is released Sunday. The Chants did what they were supposed to, yet that doesn’t often lead to big moves up the rankings.

PASS DEFENSE

Coastal Carolina has not allowed a passing TD through four games. The Chants came into the game seventh in the country against the pass at 132 yards allowed and should stay about where they are after giving up 130 in the win over UMass.

UP NEXT

UMass returns home to play Toledo on Oct. 2.

Coastal Carolina opens Sun Belt Conference play at home against Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 2.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.