Start Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 2017, 7 PM EST
Stream: Watch ESPN
Live Coverage: Chanticleer Sports Network
Location: Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina
Betting Line: UMass -2
Previous Meeting: 2017 is their first meeting
Coastal Carolina will take to the teal turf Saturday night in their first game as a full blown member of the Sun Belt conference when they take on the visiting UMass Minutemen. Brooks Stadium will surely be near max capacity of 15,000 for the Chants debut on the FBS stage. Coastal will enter this game as a 2.5 point underdog to UMass, but by the ESPN Football Power Index Coastal has 61.2% chance at this game.
One plus that Coastal will have is current film on Umass as the Minutemen played Hawaii in a “Week Zero” matchup last Saturday, falling 38-35 on a late Warrior touchdown. UMass QB Andrew Ford looked good as he went 21-30 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing just one interception. Marquis Young ran the ball well for the Minutemen with 83 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Also as expected tight end Adam Breneman played very well as he hauled in nine receptions and 179 yards.
The issue that may plague Coastal Carolina is the QB situation. In my interview with Joe Cashion he stated the upwards of six (yes I said six!) guys could get snaps under center Saturday night. It’s crazy to think six different kids could see action at the QB spot in one game but its a situation that Coastal is going to have to figure out. Osharmar Abercombie will have a lot of eyes on him as he starts his first game at halfback replacing CCU’s all time leading rusher “Hop” Henderson.
However, CCU’s new faces on offense have a fairly easy first test at least. UMass struggled mightily on defense and special teams against Hawaii, as Hawaii QB Dru Brown threw for 391 yards against the Minutemen, 272 of which went to John Usura. If CCU can keep UMass’ explosive offense in check, the offense should be able to put up a fair amount of points, regardless of who is under center.
Coastal Carolina will be tested on Saturday against a capable UMass squad. Coastal is going to have to get after UMass QB Andrew Ford to be successful in this game. CCU also needs to pray that a leader emerges for them at the QB spot because if not, all UMass will have to do is key on Abercombe to shut the Chanticleers offense down. This is a game the Chants are going to be hyped up to play even in the absence of Joe Moglia.
Brooks Stadium will be packed and the atmosphere will be a fun one. I believe Coastal wins this game if and only if, it’s a semi-low scoring game, as they don’t wanna try and get into a track meet with UMass. I’m going out on a limb and saying Coastal Carolina gets their first win as a FBS member under the lights in Conway.