Georgia Southern Begins Sun Belt Play
Georgia Southern @ Coastal Carolina (-10) O/U 61.5 (per Tipico Sports Book)
City: Conway, South Carolina
Coach: Jamey Chadwell (34-19, 4th Season as Full-Time Head Coach after one season as Interim Head Coach)
Stadium: Brooks Stadium
Since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2017, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have made a meteoric rise to national recognition. After serving as the Interim Head Coach in 2017, Coach Jamey Chadwell returned to his role as Offensive Coordinator in 2018. After the 2018 season, he was officially named the Head Coach of the Chanticleers. Since the start of 2019, Chadwell has led the football team to a 31-10 record including two consecutive visits to the Cure Bowl. The squad has opened 2022 with a 4-0 record, but they do not seem as dominant as the past two seasons. Their closest game of the season was a 4-point win over FCS foe Gardner-Webb at home.
The offense for Coastal Carolina is lead by QB Grayson McCall, but his status for the game is up in the air after sustaining a injury late against Georgia State last week. Stylistically, all the quarterbacks on the Chanticleers roster are dual-threats. For the offense to be at full strength, McCall will need to play as he has thrown 98 passes this year compared to just 5 attempts for other quarterbacks on the roster. McCall has thrown for just over 1,000 passing yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with 112 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. As for the ground game, the attack is led by RB CJ Beasley and RB Reese White who have 352 and 251 rushing yards respectively. McCall's favorite targets through the air include WR Sam Pinckney, WR Jared Brown, WR Tyson Mobley, and WR CJ Beasley who all have over 100 yards and at least one score on the year. If McCall is healthy, the struggling Eagles defense will be put to the test.
The defense for the Chanticleers has given up just over 26 points per game to their opponents so far in 2022. They give up, on average, 275 passing yards and just under 100 rushing yards per game. LB JT Killen and LB Tre Pinkney lead the way with 27 and 26 tackles respectively. The defense has 7 interceptions on the season - five players have have 1 each and DB Lance Boykin has 2 through the first four games. Depending on the weather, Georgia Southern's offense could make life difficult for the Coastal Carolina defensive backfield.
K Kade Hensley is 5-6 on field goal attempts this season with a long of 48 yards. P Evan Crenshaw has punted 13 times for an average of just 37.6 yards, so if the Eagles can put get the Chanticleers in punting situations, gains can be made in the field position game. In the return game, DB Matthew McDoom averages over 30 yards per return and has a kickoff return for a touchdown this season, so the Eagles will need to ensure strong coverage to keep him at bay.
City: Statesboro, Georgia
Coach: Clay Helton (3-1, 1st Year)
Conference: Sun Belt
Stadium: Allen E. Paulson Stadium
Head Coach Clay Helton has led the Eagles to a 3-1 start including a win over a Power-Five program as well as a 2022 Homecoming victory over Ball State. The defense for the Eagles has been the weak point so far through four games, but our offense has been able to outscore our opponents. Giving up 215 yards per game on the ground does not bode well going into Sun Belt Conference play. Hopefully, Defensive Coordinator Will Harris and his staff can make adjustments to hold Coastal Carolina back offensively. In the event that the game is played in the rain as Hurricane Ian is barreling our way, Coastal will likely run the ball more than normal. Their backs are more than capable of running wild, so the front seven for the Eagles will need to be on top of their game.
QB Kyle Vantrease shook off a rough showing in the UAB game to give the Eagles the edge in the 2022 Homecoming game against Ball State last Saturday. He completed 26 of his 39 passes for 310 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 1 rushing touchdown. RB Jalen White and RB Gerald Green led the way on the ground as they combined for 117 yards and a touchdown. WR Derwin Burgess Jr. crossed over the century mark with 133 receiving yards. WR Amare Jones and TE Jjay Mcafee both scored on passes from Vantrease. Depending on the weather situation, the Eagles may be forced to run the ball more than normal. With Coastal Carolina's defense giving up less that 100 rushing yards per game, that gives a clear advantage to the Chanticleers.
Defensively, the Eagles surrendered 143 yards on the ground and 338 passing yards to the Cardinals of Ball State last Saturday. Defense has been the weak spot for the Eagles so far and with Todd Bradley-Glenn likely missing more time, it will be surprising if it gets any better this week. Hopefully, Defensive Coordinator Will Harris proves me wrong, but to beat a healthy Coastal Carolina team on the road, the offense will need to win a shootout. With the weather from Hurricane Ian looming, the defense will need to make huge improvement in their rushing defense to keep things under control at all. The weather could provide for opportunities to test Coastal Carolina's ball security. Look for the defense to force a fumble or two on Saturday.
In 2022, K Alex Raynor is 4-4 on FGs and 21-21 on PATs this season. K Michael Lantz continues to serve as the kickoff specialist for the Eagles. He has 28 kickoffs this season with 7 touchbacks and 2 out-of-bounds kicks. P Anthony Beck II has started looking like the star that he is as he's punted 12 times for an average of nearly 45 yards this season. 5 of his 12 kicks have ended up inside the 20-yard line. In a game where field position could matter big time, the Eagles have the clear advantage here.
Georgia Southern, fresh off of a 2022 Homecoming win over Ball State, comes into this game extremely confident and looking to make a statement against a team with 26 wins since the start of the 2020 season.
The weather will definitely play a role in this game as the Eagles will be mightily effected in the event of heavy rain due to a heavy reliance on the passing game.
I'm going with my heart here:
Eagles - 31
Chanticleers - 27
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@SSN_GASouthern | 9/29/2022