The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers play host to the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday afternoon in crucial Sun Belt showdown from Brooks Stadium. Coastal Carolina is off to an undefeated start on the season and quickly looking like one of the better Group of 5 teams from across the country. For Georgia Southern, an upset over a Big 10 foe just a few weeks ago turned quite a few heads and has looked strong themselves, even despite dropping their matchup last week. The Eagles lead the series between the two teams overall, though with Coastal Carolina having won two in a row in the series, including a 20-point win when these two last played in 2021, Georgia Southern might be hard-pressed to turn things around, especially on the road. With the Sun Belt looking to be tight near the top, both teams know that they need wins in this one.
Eagles Riding Up and Down SeasonGeorgia Southern has already looked far better with their new head coach, Clay Helton, at the helm. The longtime USC top man has brought quite a bit of experience, as well as unique play-calling, to town, while the wins have been coming. The best result was taking down Nebraska on the road just a few weeks ago, which served as putting the rest of the Sun Belt on notice that this isn't a team that teams will want to take lightly this season. A loss in the last game to UAB did tempter expectations slightly, especially given that they lost by multiple touchdowns, and going on the road yet again could prove to be a challenge for this group. The Eagles haven't played well against Coastal Carolina over the last few seasons but with a new coach leading the way, as well as confidence and momentum building, this is an opportunity for Georgia Southern to prove that they belong.
The Eagles have one injury that they continue to monitor heading into this weekend, which is good news for a team that can't afford to lose out on their depth. Sam Kenerson (knee) is out for the season and after putting up 130 yards across two games, the passing game has dropped off slightly.
Georgia Southern's offense has certainly been helped with the addition of Helton and others to the staff. They rank tenth nationally in total offense and they've been able to do it with a pretty well-balanced attack. They do rank 15th nationally in passing but with a ranking of 42nd in rushing, they have the ability to control the clock as well. Kyle Vantrease (8 touchdowns, 6 interceptions) leads the way under center but if he struggles to take care of the ball, it could be a long night for this group.
The defensive side of the ball has seen this group struggle to turn things around. Even with three wins under their belt, there's little doubt that future opponents won't let them off the hook should they not be able to slow them. The Eagles rank 110th nationally in yards allowed per game, while their inability to stop opponents on the ground has been a struggle. With one of the nation's worst run defenses, Georgia Southern has benefited from opponents turning the ball over, which is something they aren't likely to see happen against the Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina Eyeing Conference TitleCoastal Carolina hasn't wasted any time proving that they might not only be the Sun Belt favorite but also could be the top Group of 5 teams as well. The opening week saw them grab an impressive win over an Army program that has been strong over the last few seasons, while wins over Buffalo and Gardner Webb may have been more difficult at times than they needed to be. Last week saw the Chanticleers dominate in their Sun Belt opener, setting the stage that they are a group to take seriously atop the standings. Coastal Carolina was able to go on the road last week and take down Georgia State, a perennial bowl-bound team, with relative ease. Now they return home to one of the best environments in the Sun Belt, with the team and fans both filled with confidence and momentum. Coastal Carolina knows they need to grab all the wins they can at home, though won't be taking Georgia Southern lightly.
Unfortunately for Coastal Carolina, while the wins have been coming, the injuries have been mounting. Dre Pickney (lower body) has already been ruled out on the defensive side, while the team's second-best running back and top tight end, are both doubtful. The status of Grayson McCall (leg) is most notable for fans to keep an eye on, though he is probable for the weekend.
Coastal Carolina's offense hasn't had any issues making quick work of defenses this season and with the nation's 27th best run game and 57th best passing game, this team can go down both avenues to find success. The one issue for this group has been the steady stream of turnovers, though with the offense becoming more in sync of late, this issue has slowly subsided. McCall (11 touchdowns, 1 interception) does everything for this offense but keep an eye on CJ Beasley (5.8 yards per carrying). Beasley hasn't seen a run defense as weak as Georgia Southern's yet this season, which gives him the opportunity to control the game.
Defensively, the Chanticleers have some concerns in the secondary, which could come back to haunt them in this one. Georgia Southern lives through the air and while a high-scoring affair plays right into what Coastal Carolina wants, they may be biting off more than they can chew in this one. JT Killen (27 tackles) leads the way in the middle of the field but it's going to fall on the shoulders of Charles Aernold Jr. (20 tackles, 1 interception) to hold things down through the air.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Georgia Southern will have a tough time coming away with the win in this one but with one of the Sun Belt's best passing attacks, they'll have a chance to stay within striking distance. Coastal Carolina's secondary has been their weakness this season and until that changes, it's tough not to imagine the Eagles moving the ball with ease in this one. While Coastal Carolina's offense isn't shabby itself, their injuries and lack of depth at the running back position are likely to make it difficult for them to exploit that glaring weakness for Georgia Southern. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Eagles are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall, while Coastal Carolina is 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record, as well as being 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games on grass.
Full-Game Total Pick
This will be a high-scoring affair between two of the best offenses in the Sun Belt. Georgia Southern has one of the best passing attacks in the country is sure to help them find success. When adding in Coastal Carolina's struggles in the secondary, there's no doubt Georgi Southern will put up a nice number. For the Chanticleers, their lack of depth at running back in this one will have them keeping the ball in McCall's hands throughout, as they try to attack through the air as well. The pace will mean plenty of possessions, which will means plenty of points as well. Additionally, according to covers.com, the over is 4-0 for Coastal Carolina in their last four games after allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards in the previous game.