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Saturday night marked the first loss of the Coach Joe Moglia era with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (2-1) falling to Eastern Kentucky (2-1) 35-17.
The EKU Colonels offense proved to be too much to handle for the Chanticleers. The offensive combination of quarterbacks T.J. Pryor and Jared McClain, plus running back Matt Denham accounted for 350-yards. McClain is number two on the depth charts behind Pryor, but he led the Colonels on their first three drives. Matt Denham had his way with the Chants tonight, rushing for 125-yards and one touchdown. Denham also caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from McClain.
After the Colonels took a 14-7 lead, the Chanticleers went for it on fourth and ten from the Colonels’ 27-yardline. Austin Cain, who also played quarterback in high school, completed a nine-yard pass to Dominique Whiteside on a fake field goal, but the ball was spotted questionably inches short of the first down. On the following possession T.J. Pryor hooked up with Tyrone Goard for a 77-yard touchdown pass, the fifth longest play against CCU. This was a critical play that led to a 14-point swing for the Colonels.
The Chanticleers showed resilience in the first drive of the second half by marching down the field on nine plays ending with a 5-yard Alex Ross pass to Matt Hazel for a touchdown. Ross had to enter the game due to a dazed Aramis Hillary who took a big hit. Coach Moglia talked about they type of quarterback Ross is after the game, “Alex is an excellent quarterback, and he is going to be very good one of these days. When you bring a guy off the bench who hasn’t even thrown a warm up because your guys goes down, you got to make sure your ready to go— and Alex did a great job when he came in.”
The depleted defense could not make the stops in the second half when needed. “The defense to an extent was out matched,” Coach Moglia added. The Chants defense was struggling with many injuries in the loss. Tre Henderson was struggling with a hamstring issue, Jamel Davis injured his ankle late in the second quarter, Pernell Williams has been nursing a banged up knee, and Denzel Rise missed tonight’s game due to an off the field incident. Coach Moglia also talked about the lack of depth in the defense, “We think we have a solid unit, but we don’t have much depth. The depth that we have-- are young and they need experience, the experience over time will help us.”
Niccolo Mastromatteo had another career day hauling in 10 receptions for 96-yards. On his 10th reception he tied Rodney Burgess and Jerome Simpson for the single-game record. “I got luck, it feels nice, but we still lost, that’s still at the top of my priorities,” Mastromatteo added about the record.
Family weekend brought 9,316 attendants to Brooks Stadium. This marks the first time in CCU history with back-to-back 9,000 plus attendance. Next week the Chants will be traveling to Glass Bowl stadium to take on the Toledo Rockets.
Written by, Tom Michienzi. Tom is a producer for ESPN Radio 100.3'The Team' and the beat report for Coastal Carolina Football for ESPN 100.3 and TheDigitel Myrtle Beach. You can follow Tom on Twitter @Tmichienzi18 or for questions call 774-254-4165.