The 2021 Cure Bowl had the potential for a busy night for the scoreboard operator. It did not disappoint. In the end, Coastal Carolina wins its first bowl game in program history. A thrilling 47-41 game was ultimately decided by just four yards.
Coastal Carolina Wins By A Feather
Northern Illinois got the ball back with 2:25 on its own 13-yard line with just two timeouts remaining. The team that converted fourth down three out of four times in the game was able to get to the Coastal eight-yard line with only seconds left. Huskies quarterback Rocky Lombardi completed a quick out-route to Miles Joiner. He was tackled in bounds but appeared to have gotten out of bounds. It also looked that he possibly didn’t complete the catch as the ball came out as he went out of bounds. But the line judge was quick to run to signal a catch and to keep the clock running.
The completion came with only two seconds remaining on the clock, so Northern Illions would not have been able to spike the ball. Both teams appeared to be set as the clock resumed running, but the Huskies looked to be under the assumption that Joiner had gotten out of bounds and never snapped the ball. The clock struck zero, and the mullet boys from Conway came pouring on the field from their sidelines to celebrate a historic moment in program history.
Both Teams Did What They Do Best
Coming into this game, Northern Illinois had to run the ball well and possess if they were to win the game. The Huskies did not disappoint, even against a Coastal defense that had been pretty good against the rush all season. Northern Illinois ran for a total of 335 yards and controlled the ball for 39:20. Coastal Carolina wanted the nation’s most efficient passer, Grayson McCall, to feast on a feeble Huskies defense. McCall would finish 22-30 for 315 yards and four passing touchdowns. He also added 10 rushes for 40 yards. Match-up nightmare Isaiah Likely was McCall’s favorite target. Likely had seven receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Punters Basically Took The Night Off
This game had major seesaw vibes throughout. Not including the kneel down to end the first half, the teams alternated scoring drives for 12 consecutive possessions in this game. The game only had one turnover in the game, and that Huskie fumble did not occur until the fourth quarter. Both offenses played the exact type of game they needed to play to secure a victory. It very much felt like the team who had the ball last would win this game.
After all, Coastal Carolina only punted the ball two times in the game. Northern Illinois’ punter did technically attempt a punt. However, due to a roughing the punter call against Coastal, the Huskies officially had zero punts in the game. Head Coach Jamey Chadwell’s defense looked completely gassed on the final drive of the game. But in a game where the offenses excelled, it was one final stop that made the difference. The headline “Coastal Carolina wins the Cure Bowl” will not have any national impact on the landscape of college football. But make no mistake, for a school that just began playing football in 2003 and is only in its fifth season at the FBS level, this win will resonate for this program for years to come.
Main Image courtesy Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel via AP