It’s a non-conference clash on the gridiron when one of the nation’s remaining independent programs travels to the Palmetto State to face a member of the Sun Belt Saturday afternoon. The UMass Minutemen are on the road as they make the trip down the east coast to face the #17 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Saturday afternoon. UMass was beaten 42-28 at home by Eastern Michigan in their previous game last Saturday. Coastal Carolina went on the road and held off Buffalo 28-25 last Saturday in their most recent contest. In the all-time series between the programs, the Chanticleers have won all three meetings, including a 62-28 road demolition in the most recent meeting on September 21, 2019.
UMass Minutemen Looking for Major UpsetUMass was more competitive in their game against Eastern Michigan but still came up on the short end of the scoreboard by double figures to remain winless on the season. The Minutemen fell to 0-3 on the year and now travel to face a ranked foe looking for a massive upset. Against Eastern Michigan, UMass trailed 14-0 after one quarter and was down 21-0 in the second quarter: they were unable to get closer than 14 the rest of the way. The Minutemen actually held a 519-507 edge in total offense, a 30-26 advantage in first downs and controlled the time of possession by a 30:31 to 29:29 margin in the contest, yet still lost. UMass turned the ball over twice while recording just one takeaway in the loss.
On the year, UMass is tied for 66th in passing offense with 231.3 yards per contest while they are 106th in rushing offense with 123 yards per game. The Minutemen are 108th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 23 points per game while they are a dismal 128th in scoring defense by allowing 46 points per contest. Brady Olson is 36 of 67 passing for 502 yards with five touchdowns against three interceptions on the year while adding 33 yards on the ground. Tom Lytle is 14 of 31 for 167 yards passing on the year. Ellis Merriweather is the team’s leading ground gainer with 37 carries for 201 yards. Kay’Ron Adams (21 carries, 66 yards, TD) is the second back in the system. Rico Arnold leads the team with eight receptions for 143 yards plus a score. Trey Pettway (six receptions, 74 yards), Melvin Hill (five catches, 86 yards, TD) and Merriweather (five grabs, 49 yards) are other secondary options when the Minutemen go to the air. Cameron Carson has hit all nine extra-point attempts but misfired on his lone field goal try on the year.
UMass has had major issues defensively as they allow an average of 306.3 yards per game through the air and an additional 218.7 yards per game on the ground. When you’re giving up 525 yards and 46 points per contest, it makes it tough to hang in games. The Minutemen are going to have to find a way to tighten up, especially after giving up 13 scores on the ground in three games. If they can’t slow Coastal Carolina’s attack, you can tack another loss on Walt Bell’s resume, which would drop him to 1-19 at the school.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Hope to Remain UnbeatenCoastal Carolina got all they wanted and then some on the road against Buffalo last week but managed to leave town with a three-point win. The Chanticleers look to take that experience and put it to use as they return home for this contest in an effort to go to 4-0 on the year. Coastal Carolina trailed 14-7 after one quarter, was even at 14 at the half and took the lead for good early in the third quarter. The Chanticleers saw the Bulls close within three with 2:41 to play but managed to run out the clock. Coastal Carolina held a 455-408 edge in total offense, picked up 21 first downs while allowing 20 and overcame committing the game’s lone turnover. In addition, the Chanticleers lost the time of possession battle 31:34 to 28:26 yet managed to emerge with the win.
The Chanticleers are 37th in the FBS in passing offense as they average 275 yards per game on the year. Coastal Carolina is 18th in rushing offense as they pick up an average of 233.3 yards per contest. The Chanticleers stand 12th among the 130 FBS teams that have played this season in scoring offense as they put up an average of 43 points per game. Coastal Carolina is stingy defensively as they are 53rd in scoring defense by limiting opposing teams to 20.3 points a contest. Sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall has been terrific this season as the architect of the offense. He has completed 46 of 59 passes for 739 yards with six touchdown passes against one interception while ranking fourth on the team with 52 rushing yards and one touchdown. A trio of backs have shared the lone in the ground game, led by Shermari Jones’ 35 carries for 292 yards and three scores. Reese White (29 carries, 210 yards, five TD) and Braydon Bennett (16 carries, 111 yards, TD) have been involved as well. In the passing game, Jaivon Heiligh is the top target for McCall as he has reeled in 16 passes for 346 yards and three scores. Tight end Isaiah Likely (11 catches, 110 yards, TD), Bennett (six receptions, 63 yards) and Kameron Brown (seven grabs, 145 yards, TD) are solid targets for McCall when the Chanticleers go to the air. Massimo Biscardi has connected on all 13 extra-point attempts and his lone field goal attempt, which came from 34 yards. Kieran Colahan hit his lone extra-point attempt while Liam Gray is four of four on extra points but missed his lone field goal attempt.
Coastal Carolina has the ability to hurt you both with the run and through the air, which makes them tough to shut down. That’s the challenge that UMass faces and their defense has some issues, in all facets. The Minutemen have allowed 5.2 yards per carry and 13 scores on the ground this season. With a trio of backs that can do damage plus the scrambling ability of McCall, it’s going to be tough for UMass to slow the run. If they load up the box to stop the ground game, McCall will slice and dice them through the air.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Minutemen are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Sun Belt opponents
- Chanticleers are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
- Chanticleers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Sometimes you can look at a line and overthink things and this is one of those times. Sure, UMass is a five-touchdown plus underdog here but they’ve won just once in the last two-plus seasons. The Minutemen did cover the last two weeks though those games came at home. If you look at their lone road game this season, that was at Pitt in the opener and they were trounced 51-7. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina had their challenges last week against Buffalo on the road but they are back home here. The Chanticleers outscored The Citadel and Kansas by a combined 101-36 in their two home games to kick off the year. Coastal Carolina puts the boots to the Minutemen and that delivers them to a 4-0 mark.
Full-Game Total Pick
UMass has been involved in some high-scoring action this season though most of the points are on the other side of the scoreboard. The Minutemen have seen totals of 58, 73 and 70 points in their three games this season, each of which went over the total. UMass has seen the over go 6-0 in their last six games in September and 13 of their last 16 games after a double-digit home loss. Coastal Carolina had gone over the total in six of their previous seven games before falling short on the road against Buffalo. Seeing how UMass does a terrible job slowing the opposition, seeing the Chanticleers putting up 50-plus would be no surprise. This one winds up over the mark.