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UB football game day: Bulls look to rediscover their strut at Coastal Carolina

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Buffalo vs. Holy Cross Football

UB Bulls wide receiver Justin Marshall celebrates with wide receiver Jamari Gassett after scoring a touchdown.

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It’s hard to describe, exactly, what a chanticleer is.

A few University at Buffalo football players took a shot at an explanation as they prepared to play this weekend at Coastal Carolina.

“By the looks of it, it looks like a rooster, or something like that,” quarterback Cole Snyder said. “That’s my best guess.”

Quian Williams guessed along the same lines.

“It’s a bird, right?” Williams, a wide receiver, said. “I know it’s some type of bird, but I’d never heard that term until I played Coastal Carolina.”

Daymond Williams doesn’t pay attention to mascots, but was also unclear on what a Chanticleer was.

“At first I thought it was a rooster, but I didn’t know what it was, exactly,” the defensive tackle said.

The Bulls (0-2) face Coastal Carolina (2-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina’s mascot is a chanticleer, pictured as a snarling teal-and-bronze fowl on the side of the football team’s helmets and at the 50-yard line of the teal turf at Brooks Stadium.

Coastal Carolina’s athletic department answers the question on its website: What is a chanticleer?

“The Chanticleer is a proud and fierce rooster who dominates the barnyard,” Coastal’s athletic website reads.

The mascot derives from a character in The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, a story within The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, an epic poem in the canon of medieval British literature and a staple of many high school English literature classes.

In The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, Chanticleer is a lusty cockerel with seven wives, who has nightmares of meeting his death at the hands of a fox.

Chanticleer’s favorite wife, Pertelote, insists he’s only worrying himself silly, and blames Chanticleer’s fears on a perpetual upset stomach. But the same fox who ate Chanticleer’s mother and father lies in wait to make their son into his next meal.

Spoiler alert: Chanticleer uses a trick play to foil the fox.

In college football, Coastal Carolina’s Chanticleers were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll for 11 consecutive weeks in 2021. The Chanticleers utilize a unique spread-option offense that has averaged nearly 400 yards of offense and 34.5 points in their first two games, and Coastal’s quarterback, Grayson McCall, has a swagger similar to what Chanticleer, the robust rooster, wields in his medieval manor.

Given all that, UB-Coastal Carolina could turn into a cockfight … or it could turn out to be chicken salad for one team and chicken scratch for the other.

UB at Coastal Carolina

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, Brooks Stadium, Conway, S.C.

TV: ESPN+

Radio: ESPN 1520-AM

Records: UB 0-2, Coastal Carolina 2-0

Odds: Coastal Carolina by 14

Last time out: Holy Cross defeated UB, 37-31; Coastal Carolina defeated Gardner-Webb, 31-27.

History: Coastal Carolina won the only meeting between the two teams, 28-25, on Sept. 18, 2021, at UB Stadium.

Can the Bulls snap a slide? UB looks to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2005. Additionally, the Bulls haven’t won a game since Oct. 23, 2021, a 45-10 win at Akron; UB is 0-6 in that stretch.

Slinging it: UB quarterback Cole Snyder has thrown for 465 yards and three touchdowns on 41 of 69 passing, and has yet to be intercepted this season. Snyder threw for a career-best 305 yards and three touchdowns against Holy Cross, including scoring passes of 20 yards and 69 yards to Justin Marshall.

A hit to the defensive line: UB coach Maurice Linguist said this week that defensive end Kyler Laing will “be out for a little bit” after he sustained a lower-leg injury in the first quarter against Holy Cross, and was taken off the field by athletic trainers on a cart. Laing had two tackles in UB’s first two games.

Hello, again: UB wide receiver Quian Williams will face Coastal Carolina for the third time in four seasons; in addition to UB’s 28-25 loss to the Chanticleers (2-0) last season, Williams was a wide receiver at Eastern Michigan when it won at Coastal Carolina in 2019.

Finding more rushing production: UB’s rushing game is averaging 133.5 yards per game. The Bulls continued to go with a three-player rotation at running back: Mike Washington (20 carries for 88 yards, touchdown), Ron Cook (21 carries for 66 yards) and Al-jay Henderson (eight carries for 49 yards, touchdown). Snyder, UB’s quarterback, has run for 67 yards on 18 carries.

Clamp down on defense: UB’s first two games have been high-scoring affairs, and not necessarily in UB’s favor. UB has given up at least 30 points in each of its first two games: 31 points Sept. 3 at Maryland and 37 points against Holy Cross. The Bulls began the week tied for 106th (of 131 FBS teams) in scoring defense (34 points per game). The last time the Bulls allowed less than 20 points was last season at Akron.

A look at the other side: Chanticleers quarterback Grayson McCall has passed for 482 yards and six touchdowns, and has been intercepted once on 34 of 47 passing in the Chanticleers’ first two games this season. The Chanticleers have two players with at least 100 rushing yards: Reese White (34 carries for 168 yards) and CJ Beasley (26 carries for 114 yards). Coastal has won 12 straight nonconference, regular-season games since Sept. 7, 2019 – including three wins against Kansas in that stretch.

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College/high school sports enterprise reporter

I'm a college/high school sports enterprise reporter at The Buffalo News. I've worked in sports journalism since 1997 and I have covered everything from college football to the Stanley Cup playoffs, high school sports and the NCAA Tournament.

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