No. 11 Coastal Carolina looks to end regular season unbeaten at Troy

No. 11 Coastal Carolina looks to end regular season unbeaten at Troy
Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell, center, walks the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Conway, S.C. (Source: AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Even after last week’s historic home win over BYU, things aren’t slowing down for Coastal Carolina football.

Not by a long shot.

The No. 11 Chanticleers put their unbeaten record on the line at Troy on Saturday in a game that was postponed from mid-November. Since then, the Chants have locked up a spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game, moved on up in national polls and rankings; not to mention gaining national attention with “College GameDay” on campus.

But many argue that Saturday’s game at Troy shouldn’t even take place, especially since fellow Sun Belt title contender, No. 17 Lousiana-Lafayette, will not be playing this week.

Coastal head coach Jamey Chadwell didn’t mince words when asked about the subject earlier this week.

“I don’t think another win would help at all,” he said Wednesday when asked about whether a win would help the Chants’ standings in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Coastal checked in at No. 13 in the CFP rankings following last week’s win over BYU.

Chadwell added that there were actually discussions with the Sun Belt Conference about not holding the game Saturday.

“Out leadership, for whatever reason, thought it was so important to play,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to go down there and win. That’s our job.”

Even with that in mind, Chadwell said the Chanticleers remain focused on the task at hand against a Trojans squad looking to move over .500.

“Defensively, we’re going to have to play sharp,” he said. “We played well obviously in the last few weeks, but this is a different dynamic and a really different system that we’re seeing.”

Here are some things to look for Saturday:

AIR DEFENSE: The biggest challenge for the Coastal defense will arguably be defending the Trojans’ passing game.

Troy has the second-best air attack in the Sun Belt and 23rd in the country, averaging around 280 yards per game. It’s led by quarterback Gunner Watson, who’s thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season. Six different Troy receivers have also caught at least 20 passes, led by standouts Kaylon Geiger, Reggie Todd and Khalil McClain.

“He’s a special player,” said Chadwell, when asked about Watson. “He knows how to manage the pocket well.”

The Chants will be coming off a week where they gave up 240 passing yards against BYU, much of that coming on yards after the catch.

MARABLE ROLLING: Coastal running back CJ Marable has been a big part of the Chants’ success in recent weeks. He’s coming off back-to-back games with at least 100 yards on the ground against Texas State and BYU and will look to strike against a Troy defense that gives up 165 rushing yards per game.

LIMITING MISTAKES: Coastal will also need to keep limiting their own mistakes on offense against the Trojans. Troy has four defensive touchdowns so far this season, one of the best marks in the nation. Coastal quarterback Grayson McCall has only thrown one interception so far, but the Chants have lost seven of their 14 fumbles this year.

HISTORY ON THE LINE: For Coastal, a win would give the Chants their first unbeaten regular season in program history. It would also set the program’s longest-ever winning streak at 12, dating back to last season.

The Chants and Trojans kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday, and the game will be televised on ESPN+.

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