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Coastal Carolina holds off San Jose State to win Hawaii Bowl

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Freshman quarterback Ethan Vasko threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night as Coastal Carolina beat San Jose State 24-14 to win the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

Vasko completed 20 of 33 passes, wrapping up the win with 2:43 remaining when he found Sam Pinckney for an 8-yard scoring strike. The play capped an eight-catch, 123-yard performance for Pinckney in his last college game.

The Chanticleers (8-5) possessed the ball for more than 37 minutes, converting 8 of 15 third downs. They were outgained 374-336, but their defense came up with two key fumble recoveries to halt third-quarter drives.

Spartans quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who was born in Honolulu and playing the final game of his college career, hit 16 of 30 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. He led two fourth-quarter scoring drives that got San Jose State (7-6) within three points, first finding Sam Olson on a 35-yard strike at the 12:27 mark.

Quali Conley added a 12-yard touchdown run with 8:30 remaining, but the Spartans couldn’t get the stop they needed. They had a chance to get within seven points with 1:09 left but kicker Kyler Halvorsen missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt, ending their hopes of a dramatic comeback.

San Jose State entered the game as a clear favorite. The Spartans came in with a six-game winning streak, and Coastal Carolina’s star player, quarterback Grayson McCall, departed for NC State via the transfer portal.

But Vasko orchestrated a patient attack that hogged the ball for nearly 18 1/2 minutes in the first half. It was Vasko who broke the scoring seal with 3:16 left in the first quarter, flipping a 2-yard touchdown pass to Matt Alaimo to cap an 80-yard drive that lasted nearly 5 1/2 minutes.

Meanwhile, San Jose State couldn’t get going against a Chanticleers defense that was lit up frequently down the stretch. They limited the Spartans to 24 plays, 127 yards and six first downs in the half.

–Field Level Media

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