Coastal Carolina enters with a 4-5 overall record but they have just won one of their first five Sun Belt contests to come in at the bottom of the Sun Belt East division standings. Meanwhile, the Red Wolves are trying to punch their ticket to a bowl game with their sixth win of the season. Arkansas State is 5-4 and 3-2 in conference play, putting them just one game behind Louisiana Lafayette for the West division lead. Can the Red Wolves cover the spread against Coastal Carolina on Saturday?
Chants struggle in blowout loss to Louisiana-LafayetteCoastal Carolina was unable to keep their momentum going last week, losing at home to Sun Belt West division leader Louisiana-Lafayette 48-7. The Chanticleers mustered just 236 yards of total offense and averaged only 3.2 yards per carry on the ground in the loss. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Carpenter had a forgettable day in his third start of the season, completing 9-of-20 passes for 71 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and his lost fumble accounted for Coastal Carolina’s only turnover of the day. Fellow sophomore Fred Payton relieved him in the fourth quarter, completing all three of his pass attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown.
It will be interesting to see who starts under center for the Chanticleers this week. Carpenter got a chance to start due to an injury to Payton and never looked back. The sophomore earned the starting job by leading Coastal Carolina to an upset win over Troy and completing 32 passes in the game, marking the second-most completions in a single game in school history. Payton was healthy last week but was relegated to watching from the sidelines for most of the game until getting the call with the game out of hand in the fourth quarter. Payton started the first seven games of the season, throwing for 1,071 yards, seven touchdowns, and six interceptions before getting hurt.
There is a good chance it will be Carpenter though, as the coaching staff has lauded his toughness and ability to avoid mistakes. Carpenter has thrown just two career interceptions in 169 passing attempts at the college level while sporting a 12 to 2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has thrown for 719 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions so far this season.
On defense, Coastal Carolina has surrendered 30.2 points and 371.4 yards of total offense so far this season. They have struggled to stop the run, allowing 177.8 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 86th nationally.
Red Wolves need just one win to become bowl eligibleThe Red Wolves earned a hard-fought 48-41 victory on the road against Louisiana Monroe last week, thanks in part to a monster day by running back Marcel Murray. Murray carried the ball 24 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Layne Hatcher completed 21 of his 28 passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception to help Arkansas State hold off the Warhawks. Arkansas State overcame two turnovers by notching nine tackles for loss and two sacks on defense in the win.
The Red Wolves come into the week needing just one win to become bowl eligible for the ninth straight season but a seven or eight-win season isn’t out of the question either. Arkansas State is favored by double-digits on Saturday and will host Georgia Southern (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) next week before traveling to South Alabama (1-8, 0-5 Sun Belt) for their season finale at the end of the month. Not bad for a team that lost its starting quarterback, Logan Bonner, just four games into the season. Before getting hurt, Bonner had thrown for 1,052 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only one interception.
Thankfully, the Red Wolves an Alabama-transfer waiting in the wings and Hatcher has performed admirably since being thrown into the fire. The redshirt freshman flashed his arm talent by throwing for 440 yards in his first career start and he’s been a major reason for the Red Wolves’ winning record this season. Hatcher has thrown for 1,560 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions so far this season. He’s thrown for 299 or more yards in four of his five starts.
Arkansas State will need to find a way to stop the run in this game. They come in allowing 36.0 points (120th in FBS) and 487.3 yards of total offense per contest (126th in FBS). Opposing teams have been able to control the line of scrimmage against the Red Wolves, as the defense has surrendered a whopping 213.4 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 120th in the country.
- Chanticleers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 conference games.
- Chanticleers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in November.
- Chanticleers are 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Red Wolves are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Red Wolves are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Red Wolves are 22-7 ATS in their last 29 games in November.