Coastal Carolina suffered their worst home loss in program history, falling to the Western Illinois Leathernecks 52-10 at home to a record crowd of 14,996 people in Brooks Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23.
This was the worst home loss since the second ever home game in Coastal Carolina history when the Chanticleers fell to the Morehead State Eagles 31-6 in 2003.
Coastal Carolina Interim Head Coach Jamey Chadwell did not shy away from Saturday night’s painful defeat.
“I take full responsibility for what was probably the worst night we ever had in our program’s history,” said Chadwell. “I did not have our team ready to play tonight.”
Coastal got on the board first midway through the first quarter when junior kicker Evan Rabon knocked home a career-long 52-yard field goal to give the Chanticleers at 3-0 lead.
The Leathernecks responded with a four-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah LeSure to Sean McGuire with less than five minutes in the first quarter.
Sophomore running back Alex James scored his first career touchdown for the Chanticeers just before the first quarter ended, giving Coastal the 10-7 lead.
It would be the last time Coastal would score as Western Illinois scored 45 unanswered points that led to their crushing victory.
Western Illinois would score twice in the final eight minutes of the second quarter that gave the Leathernecks a comfortable 21-10 lead going into the half.
Chadwell talked about what went wrong in the second half.
“We started the third quarter with some penalties and turnovers,” said Chadwell. “And it just snowballed from there. It felt like no matter what we did out there, we couldn’t stop them.”
Western Illinois started the third quarter the way they ended the second, by scoring two touchdowns within seven minutes.
The Leathernecks recovered a fumble inside the Coastal Carolina 10-yard line that ultimately led to their second touchdown of the third quarter, which made it 35-10. Western Illinois would add a third touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter to make it a 32-point lead.
Things did not get better in the fourth quarter for the Chanticleers as Western Illinois tacked on ten more points thanks to field goal and an 80-yard touchdown run to make it 52-10, while Coastal threw two interceptions, ending what seemed to look like promising drives.
Senior quarterback Tyler Keane got the start tonight under center and was one of four quarterbacks used in the loss on Saturday night.
Keane talked about what the team needs to focus on after a loss like this.
“We have to move on,” said Keane. “There is no other option, we have nine games left in the season and we need to find a way to bounce back from this.”
Keane finished with 85 yards on six of eleven passing.
The last time Coastal experienced a home loss like this was in November 2008 when the Chanticleers fell to Charleston Southern 24-0. This is the worst overall loss since the team fell to North Dakota State in the FCS Playoffs in 2013, falling to the Bison 48-14.
To take it even further, the last time Coastal Carolina lost to an FCS program by 40 or more points was in September 2012 when the Chanticleers lost on the road to Appalachian State 55-14.
Before tonight, Coastal had lost only six games by a combined 23 points, including last week’s seven-point loss at UAB.
Coastal will need to quickly regroup as they will travel to take on Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 30 in their first ever Sun Belt Conference game. Kickoff for that game is set for 7 p.m.
The Warhawks are definitely feeling good after they defeated Sun Belt and in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday night 56-50 in double overtime.
Coastal returns home on Oct. 7 to take on Georgia State for their Family Weekend game. Kickoff for that game has yet to be announced.