Time and Date: 7 PM ET, September 3
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Brooks Stadium - Conway, South Carolina
Spread: Coastal Carolina -2.5*
Point Total: O/U 53.5*
ESPN FPI: Army 54.8%
All-Time Series: This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Chanticleers played their first season in 2003 while Army played their first full season in 1891.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Over the past two seasons, Coastal Carolina has been one of the most talked-about teams in the group of five. The focal point of much of that discussion has been quarterback Grayson McCall, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year award. On top of being decently mobile in the RPO, McCall was the most efficient passer in the nation last season completing 73% of his passes with 27 touchdowns and only three interceptions. It’s easy to see why McCall is a preseason to repeat once again as the league’s POTY.
Given that info, it would be easy to assume that head coach Jamey Chadwell’s team is a one-man band. That definitely is not the case. There’s a solid interior line led by NFL prospect Willie Lampkin. While it will be tough to replace some of the receivers from last year’s squad, McCall should still have options on deep throws including Georgia State transfer Sam Pinckney, running back Brayden Bennet, and tight end Xavier Gravette.
For the Black Knights and head coach Jeff Monken, defense and ball control will be key, as they always seem to be. Fortunately, one of the best edge linebackers in the nation will help that cause. Texas native Andre Carter II set a program record for sacks in 2021 with 15.5. For his past efforts, he was the only G5 player to be named a preseason All-American by the Associated Press. CCU’s offensive tackles will receive an immediate and significant test in trying to keep him from disrupting the backfield.
Offensively, Army is unlikely to have many surprises playing their famous brand of option football. They have a very experienced offensive line paving the way, including an Outland Trophy watchlist name in center Connor Bishop. In the backfield, Senior QB Tyhier Tyler and their stable of running backs. Army should make establishing control on the line of scrimmage early a priority, going up against some strong defensive linemen in Josiah Stewart (preseason Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year) and the massive Jerrod Clark.
The more the Black Knights keep McCall off of the field, the better, but they’ll need to capitalize on their own possessions with points and not assume bad field position will hinder a guy who completed a 99-yard pass play last season.
Obviously, folks are torn on how this one is going to play out. Given how fast these offenses can play and how they tend to keep the clock moving, we could be in for a quick, tight affair in Conway. I predict that Coastal Carolina picks up where they left off and takes this one 30-20.