Coastal Carolina’s defense ranks in the top 30 in all of NCAA FBS football in 11 different statistical categories including in scoring defense (17.1 ppg), first downs defense (134), passing yards allowed (179.4 pg), turnovers forced (16), sacks (28.0), and interceptions (11) which all lead the Sun Belt Conference. The Coastal defense went 10-straight quarters, two-and-half games, without allowing a touchdown to their opposing team’s offense and also went four-straight games without surrendering a touchdown in the second half of play.
In his first year as the defensive coordinator in 2019 after taking over in the summer, the Chanticleers’ defense improved drastically in all phases. The defense went from 68th nationally (259) to 34th (241) in first downs defense, 110th (450.8 ypg) to 62nd (383.6 ypg) in total defense, 120th (244.4 ypg) to 70th (160.1 ypg) in rushing defense, and 100th (33.2 ppg) to 85th (30.5 ppg) in scoring defense. Last season, defensive end Tarron Jackson led the Sun Belt and set a new Coastal single-season record with 10.0 sacks on the season and also led the team and ranked fifth in the Sun Belt with 13.0 tackles-for-loss, of which 9.5 came in conference play, Redshirt senior cornerback Chandler Kryst at one point led the nation and finished seventh in all of NCAA FBS with five interceptions on the season. Three Chants on the defensive side of the ball earned Sun Belt Conference postseason honors, as Jacksonwas named to the All-Sun Belt first team, becoming only the second Chant to earn first-team all-conference honors since Coastal Carolina joined the Sun Belt in 2017.
Coastal is 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the Sun Belt Conference (as of Nov. 25). The 8-0 start is the best start by any football team in Sun Belt Conference history. The Chants have been ranked in the AP top 25 poll and the USA Today Coaches poll six-straight weeks (as of Nov. 23) and have reached as high as No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the coaches poll, both Sun Belt Conference records.
His linebacker unit of Silas Kelly, Teddy Gallagher, and Enock Makonzo has combined for 165 tackles, 15.5 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one interception this season. All three sit atop of the team in total tackles this year.
The Coastal defense has been in the offensive backfield all season long, as the Chanticleers have totaled 28.0 sacks and 54.0 tackles-for-loss on the season. The Chants’ 28.0 sacks rank first in the Sun Belt and is tied for sixth nationally. A total of four Chants rank in the top 10 in the Sun Belt in sacks this season – C.J. Brewer (3rd – 6.5), Tarron Jackson (t-4th – 6.0), Jeffrey Gunter (t-6th – 5.5), and Silas Kelly (t-9th – 4.0).Cornerback D’Jordan Strong is tied for the NCAA FBS lead and sits atop of the Sun Belt Conference with five interceptions on the season to lead the Chants’ defense that has 16 total turnovers this year, first in the Sun Belt, by 10 different players. Redshirt senior linebacker Silas Kelly, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, leads the team with 61 tackles, to go along with 5.0 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, and an interception. Two other linebackers in Teddy Gallagher (53 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks) and Enock Makonzo (51 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) are second and third on the team defensively.