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GAMEDAY College Football

Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina 53, Coastal Carolina 29

Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala - Holton Ahlers threw a Birmingham Bowl-record five touchdown passes and accounted for a game-record six TDs to help East Carolina beat Coastal Carolina 53-29 in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl at Protective Stadium.

Ahlers, selected the game MVP, threw for 300 yards on 26-of-38 passing, rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass for 14 yards for the Pirates (8-5).

Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, the three-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year who entered the transfer portal this month, wasn't as fortunate.

Presumably, McCall's final play in a Coastal Carolina uniform came on a 9-yard touchdown run. He was hit while tumbling into the end zone and never returned to the game. Jarrett Guest replaced him in the first half and played most of the second half. McCall's run gave Coastal Carolina (9-4) a 14-10 lead. By halftime, though, Chanticleers were in a 24-14 hole.

Coastal Carolina was fortunate to only be down 10 at halftime. East Carolina had six drives in the first half with four finishing in scores. One ended with a fourth- down stop by Coastal Carolina and the other finished with the Pirates running out the final 35 seconds of the half.

Ahlers was accurate on throws of all depths, connecting on 17 of 22 passes for 213 yards with touchdown passes of 27 and 11 yards to Isaiah Winstead. ECU running back Keaton Mitchell was also effective, carrying the ball 10 times for 107 yards with a 1-yard touchdown run.

McCall, who missed three games with an injury late in the season, played well before the injury. He was 11 of 14 for 75 yards and carried the ball four times for 12 yards. His 25-yard pass to Ivy Turon set up a 1-yard scoring run by Reese White.

East Carolina quickly extended the lead to 31-14 in the third quarter. Coastal Carolina's Braydon Bennett fumbled on the first play of the second half and East Carolina's Jireh Wilson recovered at the Coastal Carolina 27. Six plays later, Ahlers found Jaylen Johnson for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Ahlers had a 14-yard reception on the drive on a pass from C.J. Johnson.

Coastal Carolina answered quickly, moving 79 yards on three plays with White gaining 32 yards on the first two plays and Guess hitting Tyler Roberts in stride on a 47-yard touchdown pass.

East Carolina scored the next 14 points on a 1-yard run by Ahlers and a 15-yard pass from Ahlers to C.J. Johnson. Ahlers capped off his night with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Shane Calhoun and a two-point conversion pass to Mitchell.

THE TAKEAWAY

Coastal Carolina: Getting started has been an issue for the Chanticleers in the season-ending three-game losing streak. Coastal Carolina was outscored, 75-28. East Carolina had 330 first half yards.

East Carolina: The Pirates are back in the win column in a bowl for the first tie since 2013. ECU last played in a bowl game in 2014. The Pirates were scheduled to play in the Military Bowl last year, but the game was canceled a day before kickoff.

December 27, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter CoastCECU
ECU FG 10:52 Andrew Conrad 28 yard field goal 0 3
ECU TD 3:47 Isaiah Winstead 27 yard TD pass from Holton Ahlers (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 0 10
Second Quarter CoastCECU
CoastC TD 14:38 Reese White 1 yard TD run (Kade Hensley Extra Point) 7 10
CoastC TD 8:52 Grayson McCall 9 yard TD run (Kade Hensley Extra Point) 14 10
ECU TD 6:37 Isaiah Winstead 11 yard TD pass from Holton Ahlers (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 14 17
ECU TD 1:44 Keaton Mitchell 1 yard TD run (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 14 24
Third Quarter CoastCECU
ECU TD 11:13 Jaylen Johnson 2 yard TD pass from Holton Ahlers (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 14 31
CoastC TD 9:46 Tyler Roberts 47 yard TD pass from Jarrett Guest (Kade Hensley Extra Point) 21 31
ECU TD 2:36 Holton Ahlers 1 yard TD run (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 21 38
Fourth Quarter CoastCECU
ECU TD 13:45 C.J. Johnson 15 yard TD pass from Holton Ahlers (Andrew Conrad Extra Point) 21 45
CoastC TD 6:07 CJ Beasley 2 yard TD run (Bryce Archie 2pt conversion attempt is GOOD) 29 45
ECU TD 2:14 Shane Calhoun 1 yard TD pass from Holton Ahlers (Keaton Mitchell 2pt conversion attempt is GOOD) 29 53
Team Stats
  Coastal Carolina East Carolina
First downs 20 24
  Rushing 8 5
  Passing 8 14
  Penalty 4 5
3rd Down Efficiency 5-12, 42% 6-12, 50%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 2-4, 50%
Rushes-Yards 38-125 32-172
Passing Yards 212 314
Return Yards 105 145
Completions-Attempts-Int 17-25-0 27-39-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 4-37 1-10
Punts 4 1
Fumbles Lost 4-3 0-0
Penalties - Yards 11-98 11-130
Coastal Carolina Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
J. Guest 6 11 136 1 0
G. McCall 10 12 67 0 0
B. Archie 1 2 9 0 0
East Carolina Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
H. Ahlers 26 38 300 5 0
C. Johnson 1 1 14 0 0
Coastal Carolina Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. White 11 57 5.2 1
B. Bennett 4 29 7.3 0
C. Beasley 5 13 2.6 1
M. Balthazar 2 12 6.0 0
G. McCall 4 12 3.0 1
B. Archie 1 6 6.0 0
L. Adkins 1 2 2.0 0
J. Guest 10 -6 -0.6 0
East Carolina Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
K. Mitchell 22 127 5.8 1
H. Ahlers 7 48 6.9 1
K. Edmonds 2 -2 -1.0 0
Coastal Carolina Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
S. Pinckney 4 79 19.8 0
T. Roberts 1 47 47.0 1
T. Ivy Jr. 2 29 14.5 0
R. White 1 15 15.0 0
T. Mobley 4 12 3.0 0
D. Thompson 1 9 9.0 0
P. McSweeney 1 8 8.0 0
J. Brown 2 7 3.5 0
C. Beasley 1 6 6.0 0
East Carolina Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
C. Johnson 7 83 11.9 1
I. Winstead 6 72 12.0 2
J. Johnson 5 66 13.2 1
S. Calhoun 2 37 18.5 1
K. Mitchell 2 15 7.5 0
T. Hudson 1 15 15.0 0
H. Ahlers 1 14 14.0 0
B. Spalding 1 5 5.0 0
K. Edmonds 1 4 4.0 0
T. Savage 1 3 3.0 0
Coastal Carolina Interceptions
Player Int Yards
East Carolina Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Coastal Carolina Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
E. Crenshaw 3 116 38.7
M. West 1 34 34.0
East Carolina Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
Coastal Carolina Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
East Carolina Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Fleming 1 0 0
Coastal Carolina Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Bennett 5 70 14.0
T. Jackson 1 17 17.0
J. Brown 1 18 18.0
East Carolina Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Gunn Jr. 3 88 29.3
C. Johnson 1 0 0
K. Mitchell 1 57 57.0
Coastal Carolina Missed FG
Player Length
East Carolina Missed FG
Player Length




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