UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The 22nd-ranked (FBS) Penn State University scored on 10 of its 11 possessions as the Nittany Lions (1-0) defeated the Coastal Carolina University football team (0-1) 66-10 Aug. 30 in both team’s season opener. It was the first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in Coastal Carolina football history.
Coastal Carolina started out on offense on the game’s first possession and had a 16-yard pass from William Richardson to Trent Usher, but the drive would stall. Penn State then went on a four-play, 43-yard drive that culminated with a seven-yard run by the Nittany Lions’ Evan Royster. Kevin Kelly added the extra point for a 7-0 PSU lead with 11:02 remaining in the first. Coastal Carolina had another big play on its second drive, as a swing pass from Richardson to Eric O’Neal was good for 28 yards, but the Chanticleers were forced to punt again. Penn State would answer with a five-play, 80-yard drive that lastest 2:02. Royster scored his second rushing touchdown of the day with Kelly’s extra point giving Penn State a 14-0 lead.
Coastal Carolina would get to midfield on its second straight drive, but consecutive false start penalties stalled that drive. Coastal Carolina’s defense held the Nittany Lions to a three-and-out after a booming 54-yard punt from Ben Erdman pinned Penn State back at its 14-yard line. Zach MacDowall came in for his first series as the Chants quarterback and orchestrated a seven-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a 33-yard touchdown pass to Usher. Justin Durham’s PAT was good as the Chants cut into the PSU lead 14-7.
Penn State answered quickly as Derrick Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. Kelly’s PAT gave the Nittany Lions a 21-7 lead with 13:24 left in the first half. The Nittany Lions made it 28-7 on a five-yard pass from Daryll Clark to Jordan Norwood. Penn State forced a MacDowall interception and went on a four-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run by Stephfon Green, giving PSU a 35-7 advantage with 5:42 left in the first half. Penn State ended the first-half scoring on a 21-yard Kelly field goal with 28 seconds left, giving the Nittany Lions a 38-7 lead at the break.
Penn State had a 311-154 yardage advantage at halftime, including 121 yards on the ground. Coastal Carolina’s two-headed quarterback, MacDowall and Richardson, combined to go 11-for-19 for 134 yards and a touchdown. Usher caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, while O’Neal had 40 yards receiving in the first half.
Penn State took the second-half kickoff and went 58 yards, capped by a 10-yard run by Royster. Kelly’s PAT gave PSU a 45-7 lead. Green then had a seven-yard touchdown run at 8:11 of the third quarter, his second of the day, to make it 52-7. Chaz Powell’s 50-yard run gave the Nittany Lions a 59-7 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter. Brandon Beachum’s one-yard plunge gave Penn State a 66-7 lead with 4:23 left, but Coastal Carolina ended the scoring as time expired with a 31-yard field goal by Justin Durham.
Coastal Carolina had 250 yards of total offense, compared to 594 by Penn State. Richardson was 13-of-22 for 131 yards, while MacDowall went 5-of-9 for 67 yards. Arthur Sitton had 107 yards of kickoff returns, while Dominique Davenport led the Chants with 10 total tackles.
“They are a well-oiled machine,” Coastal Carolina head coach David Bennett said. “They are very solid and fundamentally sound. The second quarter, when we scored, I thought for a minute ‘Man, if we can force them to punt, it could get interesting,’ but Derrick Williams got it and ran it all the way back…We learned what big time football is about, but you can’t slouch on training in the weight room, running, things you need to do. We knew coming in that we had to win battles. We’re proud of our guys. They had a couple of drives and had the drive for the field goal at the end.”
Coastal Carolina will open its home schedule Saturday, Sept. 6 against Colgate. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., and it will be Armed Forces/Public Servants Day at Brooks Stadium/Benton Field.