Start Time: 12 p.m. EST, Oct. 24
Location: Brooks Stadium; Conway, SC
Weather: 73 degrees at kickoff
Records: Georgia Southern (3-1, 1-1 Sun Belt); Coastal Carolina (4-0, 2-0 Sun Belt)
Betting Line: Coastal Carolina -5.5; O/U 52
Georgia Southern Outlook
Last week was an impressive, complete performance in Georgia Southern’s 41-0 win over UMass, albeit against probably the worst FBS team in college football this season.
The one major thing the Eagles and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse need to take away from last week’s victory is the variety in play calling that Southern displayed. The first score of the game was a nice play action pop pass that saw a Malik Murray wide open over the middle of the field, and GS even worked in things like misdirection, some up-tempo offense and a reverse that went to Wesley Kennedy for a 56-yard score in the third quarter.
That variety in play calling will be needed to keep up with a Coastal Carolina team currently averaging 40.8 points per game this year. If there is one thing we know about the Eagles’ defense, it is that the group will not be able to totally shut down the Chanticleers offense.
The collection of rushers for Southern in Shai Werts, Kennedy and J.D. King will need to put on their best performances of the season to give GS a chance to win in this one. Werts in particular might need to put the ball in the air a fair bit while playing his cleanest game of the year to throw some wrinkles at Coastal’s defense.
For Southern, it’s also important for Kennedy to get more involved with the offense especially when the team needs a big play. Through four games of this season, Kennedy has just 27 carries (6.75 per game) and two catches. If the Eagles want a serious chance to win this one, keeping WK3 on a touch restriction would not be the way to go about it.
Finally, this team needs a conference win over a good opponent if they want a chance to compete for a Sun Belt title game appearance. Falling to 1-2 in conference play would almost put Southern out of contention for a berth just 5 games into the season, with Coastal looking like they could potentially run the table in Sun Belt contests.
Coastal Carolina Outlook
The Chanticleers have been on fire through four games of this season, having found a permanent answer at quarterback in redshirt freshman Grayson McCall.
McCall has provided Coastal with a steady hand as the team’s signal-caller, as the Chants are currently 11th in the nation in scoring offense. Additionally, he has done a fantastic job holding on to the football, throwing 11 touchdowns to just one interception.
The big hole for the team on teal turf going back a few years was at the QB spot, and McCall has given this team the spark it needs both with his arms and legs.
The running back stable for the Chanticleers of CJ Marable, Reese White and Shermari Jones have rotated in punishing opposing defenses, with the three combining for 542 yards as a group this season and the three averaging 135 yards per game together.
Jaivon Heiligh has given other teams serious problems with his ability to catch passes from McCall through the team’s undefeated start, having hauled in 20 catches for 327 yards and four scores this season as the primary wideout for this team.
The defense has also been a big part of this Coastal turnaround in 2020, surrendering just 23.5 points per game to opposing offenses, led by linebackers Silas Kelly and Teddy Gallagher. C.J. Brewer has been a force in the trenches for the Chants as well, already having registered 3.5 sacks and 21 totals tackles.
I think at this stage, Coastal Carolina is simply too talented for other Sun Belt teams to deal with and that includes a Georgia Southern that seemingly plays both up and down to opponents. With that inconsistency on both sides of the ball looming, it’s hard to trust Southern in any game its not favored to win by double-digits this year.
Final Score: Coastal Carolina 31, Georgia Southern 21