For as soon as, the middle of the college football world was two non-Power 5 programs. Boy, did they make the most of it?
Soon enough, the final stages of this strange school football season will belong to the standard suspects—the blueblood applications from the facility conferences that at all times command all the eye. However Saturday, the game belonged to 2 recent, intrepid interlopers who dared danger undefeated seasons and wound up producing one of the best games of 2020.
Totally on the fly.
Give all of the helmet stickers to Coastal Carolina and BYU for scheduling a game Wednesday and contesting it Saturday and leaving America riveted till the ultimate play—a dramatic tackle at the 1-yard line by the Chanticleers to protect a 22–17 triumph.
This was a Tinder date of a game, two undefeated groups in search of a late hookup that might assist validate their seasons to a skeptical nation. Coastal (9–0) was alleged to play one-loss Liberty in a doozy of a game with ESPN’s College GameDay show in town, but the Flames have been knocked out by COVID-19 points. That’s when BYU (9–0) stepped in and saved the day—agreeing to the game and sending its equipment truck hurrying 2,200 miles and 40 hours east, from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast.
This was a terrific sporting gesture by two applications unloved by the College Football Playoff selection committee—the Cougars have been No. 13 and the Chanticleers have been No. 18, each behind Energy 5 convention groups with a number of losses. This was their final actual probability to make an impression and a press release—but taking part in the game additionally meant that someone was going to lose an undefeated season.
In a sport infamous for scheduling that’s each inflexible and timid—video games plotted out as a lot as 15 years forward of time, with troublesome matchups typically averted—right here got here the antidote. BYU, an unbiased that has had extra scheduling tumult than anybody this season, lived as much as its “Any staff, any time, anywhere” mantra. And Sun Belt Convention member Coastal stated, “Convey it on.”
“No less than we obtained balls,” Coastal coach Jamey Chadwell stated within the lead-up to the game. Certainly, the game became one lengthy show of fortitude, machismo, and bravado.
Native fans in Myrtle Beach wore T-shirts that said “Mormons vs. Mullets,” playing the well-known Catholics vs. Convicts shirts from the 1988 Notre Dame–Miami game. (BYU is the flagship college for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Coastal staff has taken to sporting flowing blonde mullets this season.) The game obtained supremely chippy on the ultimate play of the primary half when a Hail Mary by BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted and returned from the Coastal goal line. On the return, Chanticleers Teddy Gallagher and Jeffrey Gunter good up on Wilson, hurling him to the ground twice and sparking a bench-clearing dustup.
The second half was merely good football, with Coastal Carolina successful the road of scrimmage on each side of the ball and irritating the high-powered BYU offense. A Cougars fumble led to a go-ahead discipline purpose for the Chants, after which Coastal mounted a punishing, 85-yard landing drive early within the fourth quarter
That’s the place the game stood when BYU took possession at its personal 18-yard line with 55 seconds left and no timeouts. This was a Mission Impossible scenario for the Missionaries, but also an opportunity for Wilson to have a Heisman moment and erase what had been a troublesome evening.
Then BYU took a holding penalty and the chances obtained longer: 91 yards in 43 seconds.
Wilson threw an extended one to Gunner Romney, who made a leaping catch for 33 yards—and knocked himself out when his head hit the turf. Minus his No. 2 receivers, Wilson regarded elsewhere—12 yards to running back Tyson Allgeier, then 15 yards to Dax Milne to the Coastal 31 with seven seconds left.
With Coastal defending the tip zone in opposition to a Hail Mary, Wilson threw short to Milne for 13 yards with three seconds left. On the ultimate play, Wilson once more checked out Milne and fired a strike to his proper on a put up sample. Milne, who obtained an inside launch on defensive again Ok.J. Johnson, reeled within the cross on the 3.
Milne took two steps towards the tip zone and was contacted by freshman security Mateo Sudip. Then fellow security Brayden Matts threw his physique into the collision as nicely, stopping Milne’s momentum chilly as Sudipo wrapped up and slung the BYU receiver to the turf.
Game over. Coastal Carolina wins on the 1.
The play was vaguely harking back to the one which determined Tremendous Bowl XXXIV, with Titans receiver Kevin Dyson catching a slant and Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackling him on the 1 on the ultimate play. Whereas that play at all times could have higher historic significance, for the Cougars and Chanticleers, this was their Tremendous Bowl.
Neither goes to the playoff. Neither is successful in a nationwide championship. But they’d this second—when the college football nation watched two groups from outdoors the Institution get collectively on a whim and stage a basic.
In a troubled season, right here was one thing all followers of the game might respect and have a good time—a matchup that didn’t exist till this week, on a teal discipline, between two applications no person was saying a phrase about when the yr started. The 2 have little in widespread past ambition and balls, however ultimately solely a single yard separated them on a thrilling evening in December