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Mormons vs. Mullets

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The 2020 BYU vs. Coastal Carolina football game, popularly known as Mormons vs. Mullets, was a regular season college football game played on December 5, 2020, at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. It featured the BYU Cougars and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, both of whom entered the game ranked and undefeated. Coastal Carolina won a hard-fought game 22–17. The game was scheduled at short notice after Liberty, Coastal Carolina's original opponent, had to withdraw due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic caused numerous scheduling issues through the 2020 college football season. Originally, Coastal Carolina was scheduled to play Liberty at home in South Carolina. Liberty itself was 9–1 and ranked 25 in the AP Poll; its only loss had come in a close game with NC State two weeks prior. A rising number of COVID-19 cases within the program led Liberty to drop out less than a week prior, and BYU and Coastal Carolina hurriedly scheduled this game in its place.
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told ESPN journalist Heather Dinich that he had not heard about Liberty's predicament until the Wednesday before the game; by the end of that day, he had sent the Cougars' football equipment truck to Conway before even confirming that the two teams would play. He would tell Dinich, "If it had to turn around and come back, turn around and come back, but we're not going to miss a game because we don't have our equipment. Our guys just wanted to do it. They pushed me." The game was not officially confirmed until the following day, with ESPN playing a key role in the process, and even then the two schools had yet to enter into any kind of written agreement. Holmoe told Dinich that BYU and Coastal would work out a future return game, presumably at BYU's campus in Provo, Utah, after the 2020 season.
The game was only the sixth meeting between unbeaten college football teams in December (excluding bowl games in NCAA Division I FBS and playoff games at lower levels of play), and the first such meeting since the 2009 SEC Championship Game. Neither BYU nor Coastal Carolina were in the picture for the College Football Playoff National Championship, despite their undefeated seasons, but a strong showing could earn them a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game.
ESPN's College GameDay program traveled to Conway for the game. Host Lee Corso praised both teams, but picked BYU to win:
The name "Mormons vs. Mullets" originated from unofficial merchandise and was a play on games such as Catholics vs. Convicts, a famous game played between Notre Dame and Miami. "Mormons" references BYU's affiliation with the LDS Church, while "Mullets" references the haircuts worn by many Coastal players.

The game

The game featured physical play from both teams. Coastal Carolina controlled the clock for long stretches, including a first quarter touchdown drive spanning 9:05, the longest in program history. A fight broke out at the end of the first half after BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted and then blocked roughly into the ground by two Coastal players. Coastal held BYU scoreless in the fourth quarter; a final drive by BYU fell short as time expired when wide receiver Dax Milne was tackled at the 1-yard line of Coastal.

Scoring summary


Statistics


{
! Statistics !! BYU Passing Zach Wilson 19–30, 240 yards, TD, INT
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Rushing Tyler Allgeier 13 rushes, 106 yards, TD
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Receiving Dax Milne 6 receptions, 106 yards, TD
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rowspan=3 Coastal Carolina Passing Grayson McCall 10–15, 85 yards
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Rushing C.J. Marable 23 rushes, 132 yards, 2 TD
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Receiving Kameron Brown 4 receptions, 47 yards

Broadcasting

With average viewership of 1.212 million viewers and peaking at 2.115 million, ESPN stated that the game was ESPNU's most-watched college football broadcast since 2015 and fifth most-watched overall.

Further reading


  • Category:2020 Sun Belt Conference football season
    Category:2020 NCAA Division I FBS independents football season
    Category:College football games
    Category:BYU Cougars football games
    Category:Coastal Carolina Chanticleers football games
    Category:December 2020 sports events in the United States
    Category:2020 in sports in South Carolina
     
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