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Coastal Carolina holds off San Jose State to win Hawaii Bowl


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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