CONWAY, S.C. – Precious time ticked off the clock as Army’s defense searched for answers on stopping Coastal Carolina’s ground attack.
Subbing in fresh defensive lineman wasn’t working. Keying on quarterbacks Grayson McCall and Bryce Carpenter wasn’t having any success.
In a game as closely contested as oddsmakers predicted, the Black Knights were getting beat by their own game – running the football and time of possession.
Coastal Carolina called 10 straight runs on their fourth-quarter march into the end zone. McCall ended it off with a 5-yard touchdown run, his first carry of the drive, to make it a two-score game as Army fell 38-28 before a record crowd of 21,165 at Brooks Stadium.
“They were a great team,” said Army junior linebacker Leo Lowin, who had 11 tackles. “Their run schemes were hard to defend. The guards were getting up to the linebacker pretty quick. It was hard to get over the top and make some of those tackles. They are a good team. They had a solid offensive line. Quarterback played really well and running backs were solid. It was a tough game.”
Jeff Monken said Army’s defensive line needed to demand more double teams to free up linebackers. Army was outrushed by Coastal Carolina 263 yards to 202. The Chanticleers ran 70 plays to Army’s 47 and controlled 36 minutes and 16 seconds of 60 minutes of game action.
“The bottom line is that’s a really good football team and they lined up and beat us,” Monken said. “They are a well-coached team. They are physical, athletic, fast. They know how to win…Tonight was a real battle and they figured out how to beat us.”
Army’s offense was headlined by three big plays from its slotbacks. Tyrell Robinson’s 70-yard touchdown run started the game’s scoring. Ay’Jaun Marshall’s 54-yard touchdown catch from Tyhier Tyler gave the Black Knights a 21-17 in the third quarter. Braheam Murphy’s 73-yard connection with Cade Ballard trimmed Coastal’s lead to three points early in the fourth quarter.
The Black Knights had one time-consuming scoring drive. Jakobi Buchanan finished a 9-minute, 12-second possession with a 1-yard touchdown run. Buchanan’s 7-yard gain on 4th-and-2 , which was one for the football clinic reels, set up the score.
Army managed only three first downs (two were touchdowns) in the second half. The Black Knights had only 15 offensive snaps after halftime.
“We had a great game plan going in,” Tyler said. “The biggest thing that we need to do is do it more consistently. When we are going, we’re going. When we are running the ball and executing our option and getting the ball pitched and getting our playmakers the ball, we are very dynamic. We just have to be more consistent. We played a really good team and we learned a lot. We are a really good team and we got more work to do.”
Tyler said the season-opening loss was a lesson. One of the lessons was learned by Tyler, the quarterback said. The game’s only turnover came on the final play of the third quarter when Tyler threw an interception as he was an jump-ball interception as he was falling out of bounds on Coastal’s sideline. Coastal cashed the turnover into seven points.
“He said, ‘I thought I was throwing it away,'” Monken said. “I said, ‘You don’t have to throw it near anybody. You can throw it over to coach (Jamey) Chadwell. As long as he’s beyond the line of scrimmage, it’s fine. that interception didn’t cost us the football game.'”
Monken reeled off a bunch of fundamental mistakes. The lessons have to be learned. A solid Texas-San Antonio team comes to Michie Stadium Saturday for Army’s home opener.