Coastal Carolina Coach Jamey Chadwell is not yet ready to declare his team to be road warriors but when the Chanticleers take the field at Paulson Stadium against Georgia Southern chances are they won’t be shaking in their boots.
The Chants (3-3, 0-2 Sun Belt Conference) are 2-1 on the road this season, the loss coming two weeks ago at Appalachian State, but they posted an impressive win in their opener when they won at Kansas, 12-7.
Yes, it was Kansas but the Jayhawks (2-4) of the Big 12 are a Power 5 conference team and they made the win look better when they waxed Boston College, 45-24, the following week.
Chadwell is working at upgrading a program that joined the Sun Belt in 2017 having moved up from the FCS ranks.
Coastal will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak having lost to Appalachian State, 56-37, and Georgia State, 31-21, the last two weeks. The Chants have lost six straight conference games dating back to last year.
“Our guys have made tremendous strides from January to this point,” Chadwell said. “We are not good enough yet to play the way we have and still win games but we’re getting closer.
“Teams in the Sun Belt are really good and talented and the farther we go you’re going to see that. The toughest teams we play are still coming forward.”
Chadwell came to CCU from Charleston Southern where his teams were known for running the football out of a spread option offense. He was interim coach in 2017 when Coach Joe Moglia took a medical leave of absence and he was named head coach last year.
While Chadwell made his reputation as an offensive coach Coastal is currently leading the conference in total defense at 319.8 yards per game. It is sixth in total offense at 423.5 yards per game.
Georgia Southern, on the other hand, is uncharacteristically last in the Sun Belt in total offense at 278.8 yards per game and averaging 21 points per game to the Chants’ 33.5. The Eagles are third in total defense at 380.
C.J. Marable leads the Chants in rushing with 508 yards and five touchdowns which is fifth best in the conference. Quarterback Fred Payton has thrown for 1,009 yards and ran for 131.
Payton, however, got banged up against Georgia State and his status is questionable. If Payton can’t go Bryce Carpenter will be behind center. Carpenter has 208 yards running and has passed for 262 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think Carpenter brings some good energy for us,” Chadwell said. “When he was in there (against GSU) we were able to move the ball for the most part.
“He’s tough, he’s physical. He does a good job when his number is called. I thought he gave us a chance, made some plays and drove us down the field.”
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Coastal Carolina was missing three starters on offense and three on defense in last week’s 31-21 loss to Georgia State.
7: Coastal Carolina’s defense leads the Sun Belt in interceptions with seventh which ranks them 21st nationally.
33: The Coastal offense leads the Sun Belt in time of possession with an average of 33:00 minutes per game which is good enough to rank 16th nationally.
62: Coastal’s roster features a total of 62 combined freshmen and redshirt freshmen among its 119 players. The freshmen/redshirt freshmen rankings: 1. Nebraska 78; 2. Oklahoma State 72; 3. UCLA 64; 4. Virginia Tech 63, Virginia 63; 6. Coastal, Iowa 62; 8. Georgia Southern 60, Kansas State 60.
The Chants have 19 players on their roster from Georgia but one of them will not be available against the Eagles. True freshman Aaron Bedgood from Richmond Hill got his first start against Georgia State at wide receiver but later suffered a lower body injury according to Chadwell and is now lost for the season.
Georgia Southern dominated the second half in last year’s 41-17 win that knocked the Chanticleers out of bowl consideration. Coastal had 138 yards offense to the Eagles’ 136 at the half but was outgained 233-16 in the third quarter.
The Chants had 10 points on their first two possessions of the game but totaled just 46 yards over their next nine possessions with one fumble and eight straight punts before scoring in the closing minutes following an Eagle fumble at the CCU 11-yard line.