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Coastal Carolina Player Who Roughed Up Zach Wilson Earns Sun Belt Player Of Week Honor

Dec 7, 2020, 3:28 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm
BYU Football - Zach Wilson - Jeffrey Gunter...
BYU QB Zach Wilson runs from Coastal Carolina BANDIT Jeffrey Gunter on December 5, 2020. (BYU Photo/Nate Edwards)
(BYU Photo/Nate Edwards)

PROVO, Utah – BYU-Coastal Carolina has been applauded by many around college football as a game of the year this season. But very few were applauding the end of first half antics from the Chanticleers star defender Jeffrey Gunter who took shots at BYU QB Zach Wilson.

Gunter’s hits on Wilson led to both benches clearing at the end of the first half. Early in the third quarter, the hybrid “BANDIT” in the Chanticleers defense was also flagged for a late hit on BYU’s star quarterback.

Gunter played the rest of the game, making an impact for Coastal’s defense, racking up six tackles, one tackle for loss, and a forced fumble in the upset win.

On Monday, Gunter’s play was honored by the Sun Belt Conference as the league’s defensive player of the week.

From the Sun Belt Conference’s press release, “Redshirt junior Jeffrey Gunter played a key role in a balanced defensive attack that held the high-powered BYU offense to just 17 points. It was a season-low for the Cougars, who were averaging 47.6 points per game, which ranked fourth nationally.”

Gunter shared his views on what happened with Zach Wilson

After the Chanticleers victory on Saturday, Gunter was asked about the hits he gave to Wilson at the end of the first half.

“I was trying to do my job. You know, it’s a physical game, emotions are high, and I saw a person to block, and I did it, you know what I’m saying,” said Gunter. “I didn’t mean anything malicious, just trying to play football.”

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was asked about the “chippiness” after his team suffered their first loss of the 2020 season.

“At the end of the first half, there were a lot of issues. I think it was just a lot of miscommunication. When you’re looking at it, we felt that the quarterback was getting targeted and maybe was being a little roughed up. But the ref told me it was clean. So I had nothing to say. We had to get our guys out and get to the halftime [locker room].

“I have to credit both teams after we went to halftime and came back. I talked to [Coastal Carolina head coach] Jamie Chadwell after. It’s not a good representation of how both teams really play, you know? But I liked the way our guys were able to gain their composure and come back and play a clean second half. It was just that one moment, right before the half off of the interception, that was the biggest deal … things happen; you have two undefeated teams that are battling, and emotions are high, you know what I mean? But there’s nothing that was deliberate in my opinion or cheap or anything from both sides.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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