After a 37-34 win over Georgia State in Atlanta on Oct. 27, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleer football team had four chances to make history and get win number six, thus securing bowl eligibility for the first time in program history.
While it was going to be a tough task facing off against teams like Appalachian State, Arkansas State and a road trip to South Alabama on Black Friday, the team was confident that the milestone could be completed.
However, much to the chagrin of Teal Nation, the Chanticleers ended their season 5-7, failing to become bowl eligible.
After scoring 61 points in their final two wins of the season (24 against UMass and 37 against Georgia State), the Chanticleers scored a total of 58 points combined across the final four games of the season.
The defense of the Chanticleers gave up 142 points, losing by an average margin of close to 18 points a game.
What was most disappointing about the season was how poor the team did at home.
From 2009 to 2016, Coastal Carolina lost a total of nine home games, going 35-9. The Chanticleers have been gone 3-8 the past two years. While the competition has been much more difficult moving from FCS opponents to FBS programs that have more scholarships and have been at the FBS level for a lot longer, fans are wanting better results.
Coastal Carolina has not experienced back-to-back losing seasons and until last year, there had only been two losing seasons in the short program history.
There were still plenty of positives this season. The adversity that the team showed during Hurricane Florence, having to play two games in a matter of five days, was inspiring. The team had one of their best defensive performances against the now Sun Belt Champion Appalachian State. The team also defeated UAB earlier in the year. UAB went on to be 10-3 and win their conference championship game.
From a team standpoint, there were also several bright spots. While the quarterback situation was once again quite confusing, Fred Payton and Bryce Carpenter both showed some promise and will certainly play important roles over the next three seasons. The offensive line, albeit young, showed great improvements over the year and CJ Marable will be a menace in the backfield. Defensively, players like Teddy Gallagher, Michael Makins, Silas Kelly and Jeffery Gunter showed out on numerous occasions.
There certainly will need to be some changes made in the offseason, whether it is coaching, play calling or player personnel, that remains to be seen.