CONWAY, S.C. – Grayson McCall threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as No. 24 Coastal Carolina rebounded from its first loss of the season, holding on to defeat Troy 35-28 on Thursday night.
The Chanticleers (7-1, 3-1 Sun Belt Conference) weren’t their sharpest, yet McCall did enough offensively and defensive tackle C.J. Brewer picked up a first down on a fake punt play for Coastal Carolina’s 12th straight home win.
McCall passed for 294 yards, including scoring throws of 66 yards to Jaivon Heiligh and 71 yards to Braydon Bennett. McCall also had a 2-yard run to start Coastal’s scoring.
But facing fourth-and-4 on its own 31, the Chanticleers set up for a punt. Instead, they snapped the ball to Brewer, who took it around the left side for 12 yards to keep the drive going.
Troy got the ball back with 25 seconds to go on its 24. But Watson fumbled as he was sacked by Josiah Stewart and Jeffrey Gunter recovered as Coastal Carolina won its third straight over the Trojans.
Coastal Carolina came out slow, looking like a team that hadn’t fully flushed its 30-27 loss at Appalachian State on Oct. 20 that had ended its undefeated start.
The Chanticleers didn’t have a first down on its first two possessions – Coastal had scored on its opening drive in all its games this season – and were trailing 7-0 when McCall got going.
There was a scary moment for McCall, who entered as the nation’s best in completion percentage (77.3%) coming in. He went down to a knee after taking a hit on a run, then went to the turf as he tried to jog to the sidelines.
McCall went into the medical tent for a few moments, but was back in on the Chanticleers’ next series.
Heiligh had five catches for 116 yards, his fifth game this season reaching the century mark. Chanticleers tailback Shermari Jones had touchdown runs of four and 54 yards.
Kimani Vidal finished with a game-high 142 yards rushing for the Trojans.
Troy: The Trojans put a couple of scares into Coastal, but didn’t have the staying power on defense to keep the potent Chants off the scoreboard.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers will need help if they hope to reach the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Any chance to keep that dream alive means they can’t slip up against teams they’re favored to beat – and they should be the favorites in their final four games.
Troy: Starts a three-game homestand against South Alabama on Nov. 6.
Coastal Carolina: At Georgia Southern on Nov. 6.