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Who is Coastal Carolina and what is a chanticleer? BYU football’s next opponent explained

Coastal Carolina’s Reese White celebrates with teammate Willie Lampkin, back, and Grayson McCall after scoring the go ahead touchdown during the second half of a college football game against Appalachian State Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 34-23.
Richard Shiro, Associated Press

The 13th-ranked BYU Cougars and the 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will play Saturday in a marquee matchup in Conway, South Carolina.

But who is Coastal Carolina, and what is a chanticleer?

Coastal Carolina was founded in 1954 as a junior college. Its location, Conway, is about a 30-minute drive from the tourist city of Myrtle Beach and has a population of approximately 26,000 people. In 1975, Coastal awarded its first four-year degree, and in 1993, it became a university.

The school has had a baseball team since the 1960s (it won the College World Series in 2016 in its first-ever appearance), but it wasn’t until 2003 that the football program began play.

On the gridiron

The Chanticleers started as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program and made their first playoff appearance in 2006. They reached the quarterfinals in 2013 and 2014 before starting the transition to become a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program in 2016.

Coastal Carolina joined the Sun Belt Conference that year and became fully bowl eligible in 2018. The Chanticleers went 5-7 in both 2018 and 2019 before a breakout season this year, which has seen them go 9-0 to this point.

This season under head coach Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina has averaged nearly 39 points per game while giving up fewer than 17. Quarterback Grayson McCall has thrown for 1,747 yards and 20 touchdowns against just one interception. Jaivon Heiligh is his top target with 41 catches for 682 yards and eight touchdowns, but four receivers have at least 200 yards on the year.

The rushing attack is balanced, as CJ Marable leads the way with 592 yards and eight touchdowns, but Reese White has 402 yards and five touchdowns, McCall has 365 yards with five touchdowns and Shemari Jones has 341 yards with three touchdowns.

Defensively, Silas Kelly leads with 67 tackles, Tarron Jackson has 8.5 sacks and D’Jordan Strong has five interceptions.

What is a chanticleer?

There are actually multiple vastly different definitions for Coastal Carolina’s mascot. The word chanticleer can refer to a male vocal ensemble or a class of submarine rescue ships, but the definition concerning CCU is a rooster in fairy tales, most notably Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”