JONESBORO, Ark. – Grayson McCall threw a 99-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt and No. 15 Coastal Carolina beat Arkansas State 52-20 on Thursday night for its 11th straight victory.
McCall completed 18 of 23 passes for a career-high 365 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
Isaiah Likely also had a big night, catching eight passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs — and kicking the game off with the school-record 99-yarder.
He became the first tight end in Sun Belt Conference history with four touchdown catches in a game.
“I got the best quarterback in the nation, the best O-Line in the nation. The reason we score 50 points in a game is the chemistry,” Likely said. “Our mantra is to score as many points as we can. Score 50 points and get a burger. I love burgers.”
Coastal Carolina (6-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) also got scoring runs of 64 yards from Reese White and 67 yards from backup quarterback Bryce Carpenter. — both career longs.
“I thought we played really well the first half and clamped them down,” Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell said.
The Chanticleers forced a punt on Arkansas State's game-opening drive and took over on the 1. A run up the middle went nowhere and on second down, McCall, standing in the middle of the end zone, lofted a pass to tight end Likely, who made the catch in stride just past the 20 and raced downfield untouched for the score.
“That was a great way to start,” Chadwell said.
Shermari Jones, back after missing two games to injury, rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries and dragged a defender into the end zone on a touchdown run from the 8.
Coastal Carolina rushed for 294 yards, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. The Chanticleers piled up 685 yards of total offense, holding Arkansas State (1-5, 0-2) to 273, including 18 on the ground.
“We've got to stop the run, we emphasized that all week,” Coastal Carolina defensive tackle C.J. Brewer said. “We want to make them one-dimensional and held them to 18 yards rushing.”
Layne Hatcher came into the game after halftime and led two Arkansas State scoring drives in the third quarter — posting 145 yards of offense in the quarter after the Red Wolves gained 51 in the first half. Hatcher finished 13-of-29 passing for 185 yards with two TDs and a late interception.
Te'Vailance Hunt had a 63-yard scoring reception and led the Red Wolves with six catches for 138 yards.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers are 2-3 versus Arkansas State, earning their first win in Jonesboro. ... The Chanticleers entered Thursday's game allowing 286.6 yards per game, 16th-best in the nation. ... The defense held Arkansas State to minus-19 yards rushing in the first half, thanks in large part to three sacks, and ended with 18 yards rushing allowed ... Likely's four TD catches were the most in a game since Matt Hazel had three TD catches in 2010.
Arkansas State: Starting quarterback James Blackman, a transfer from Florida State, was in street clothes on the sideline when the teams came back for the second half. Blackman was 7-for-12 passing for 70 yards and was sacked three times for a loss of 35 yards. ... The Red Wolves subbed in Hatcher after halftime and the Little Rock native — who passed for 4,611 yards and 42 touchdowns in the 2019 and 2020 seasons — ended a Coastal Carolina streak of not allowing a passing touchdown this season.
Arkansas State cornerback Samy Johnson was taken from the field by ambulance in the third quarter.
Coastal Carolina: At Appalachian State on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Arkansas State: Host Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday, Oct. 21.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.
Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25