NCAAF · Thu (10/7) @ 7:30pm ET
|Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Arkansas|
Our Pick: COAS Coastal Carolina at . Get a $5,000 risk-free bet at Caesars sportsbook.
The near-fairytale story has stretched into a second year for the Chanticleers, who recorded their first undefeated regular season in 2020 only to lose a thriller of a bowl game, 37-34 in overtime, to Liberty, another rambunctious upstart.
Coach Jamey Chadwell and offensive coordinator Newland Isaac went into their laboratory and emerged with a high-voltage attack that quarterback Grayson McCall was born to run.
With many other starters, he left last weekend’s blowout of Louisiana–Monroe at halftime. He sported a protective boot on his left foot, but it appears to have been a basic precautionary measure and he should be fine for this game.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (5-0)
He was called “The Great Grayson” by something called SouthernPigskin.com, and the résumé for the third-year sophomore is already sterling.
In high school, in Indian Trail, N.C., he threw for 3,863 yards and 34 touchdowns. He ran for 3,003 yards and 41 TDs. Army, Chattanooga, Eastern Kentucky and Gardner-Webb were after him.
But McCall appears to have made a wise decision in landing in Conway, S.C. The big one last season came at home against BYU, dubbed “Mormons vs. Mullets,” and the Chants pulled off a 22-17 victory.
McCall’s passer rating of 184.32 was sixth in the nation, the highest figure for a freshman since Jameis Winston’s 184.85 in 2013, when he won the Heisman Trophy.
This season, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound McCall leads college football with a 225.0 efficiency rating, an 80.2% completion rate and a 12.9 yards-per-attempt average. He’s gone 69-for-86, for 1,113 yards and 10 touchdowns, with one interception.
He has nailed his past 15 attempts. With two more, against Arkansas State, he will own the school record for consecutive completions.
Jaivon Heiligh is the senior danger man on the receiving end of McCall’s lasers, having accumulated 499 receiving yards. That’s 12th in the country, and his 20.8-yard average is tied for 10th.
Against Monroe, Coastal tallied 50 points for the sixth time under Chadwell, meaning his players all received cheeseburgers from a local McDonald’s outlet that dubs the promotion a “50 Burger.”
Coastal Carolina At Arkansas State Full Sportsbook Odds
Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-4)
All the Red Wolves do is allow 51.8 points a game, worst in college football, as are the 620.2 yards they yield per game. They give up 8.3 yards per play, next-to-worst in the country, and foes’ 0.695 points per play is worsted by only two other teams.
In their own Centennial Bank Stadium, the Wolves are about to get run over by the Chanticleers, defined as “a domestic cock, especially in fairytales” in the dictionary.
This will be a nightmare for Arkansas State, but here’s the rub.
Deservedly so, McCall gets many bold-face headlines. He is outstanding. He will only improve, and he has many victories—maybe even on Sundays—in his bright future.
Coastal, however, runs the ball with impunity. As well as McCall plays, his team runs the ball more than 64% of the time, which is 12th in the country.
Reese White (53-374, 7.1 average, 6 TDs), Braydon Bennett (30-263, 8.8, 4) and Shermari Jones (35-292, 8.3, 3) comprise a three-headed monster that will chew up and spit out Arkansas State’s ProGreen turf.
The Wolves allow opponents 7.3 yards per run, second-worst in the country. They give up 318.5 rushing yards per game, which is the worst in the nation.
This could get quite ugly.
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Expect the Chants to put on a show for an ESPNU national audience. They get a week to rest before appearing on ESPN2 on Oct. 20 for a big one at Appalachian State.
Coastal has helped put the Sun Belt on the national landscape with a stout young quarterback, a powerful running game and a very stingy defense. It gets another 50 Burger performance, and the Wolves will be fortunate to score 20.