Coastal Carolina at Troy
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 29, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Ala., 3:30 p.m. EDT
It is an early season showdown for first place in the East Division of the Sun Belt Conference on Saturday when Troy hosts upstart Costal Carolina.
The Chanticleers, in their second year at the FBS level after winning eight or more games in their final five seasons in the FCS, have rediscovered their winning ways and matched their victory total for all of last season with their 3-1 start.
They are facing the flag-bearers of the Sun Belt in Troy, which has gone 13-3 in conference play the previous two seasons and followed up their upset win at Nebraska by holding off Louisiana-Monroe on the road to open their conference slate.
Chanticleers looking for fourth straight win and marquee victory
Coastal Carolina (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt East) has reeled off three straight wins following its season-opening 49-15 loss at South Carolina and is on the road for the fourth time in games.
The Chanticleers fought past Louisiana-Lafayette 30-28 last Saturday in their conference opener, scoring 23 consecutive points spanning the late first through early third quarters. They churned out 311 rushing yards en route to finishing with 497 overall.
Joe Moglia’s team delivered when it mattered, converting on all three of its fourth down plays to extend drives and control the clock as it finished with 25 first downs and held the ball for nearly 39 minutes.
The team has not played at home since beating UAB on Sept. 8, moving its Sept. 12 game against Campbell — a 58-21 victory — due to Hurricane Florence, which flooded the campus.
“It’s a testament to our hard work and our focus,” senior running back Marcus Outlow told WRNN FM 99.5 after rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries Saturday. “. . . It’s a really big family and that’s the most important thing. So even though we were away from home and dealing with being on the road, it just was a matter of making sure we stayed together and kept the mission in clear sight.”
Outlow is part of a triple option offensive attack for the Chanticleers that includes Torrance Marable and quarterback Kilton Anderson. The trio have accounted for 835 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Anderson has done well to keep defenses honest throwing the ball, completing 39 of 56 passes for 564 yards and six TDs with only one interception.
Coastal Carolina has averaged 45.0 points during its three-game winning streak. Its defense, though, is still a work in progress as it has given up 30.5 points and 420.8 yards per game. The Chanticleers have held only two opponents under 20 points in 16 games since making the jump to FBS.
Trojans gaining momentum in hunt for third straight bowl appearance
Troy (3-1, 1-0 East) also has won three straight after getting pasted 56-20 at home by then-No. 22 Boise State on Sept. 1, but it had to work to get past Louisiana-Monroe last weekend.
The Trojans appeared set for a blowout last Saturday, erupting for 28 second-quarter points to take a 35-7 lead on Kaleb Barker‘s 22-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Davis, but that would be their last points of the game as they needed to hold off a furious Warhawks rally.
Troy gave up 20 unanswered points and 376 second-half yards as its 35-27 victory was not secure until cornerback Marcus Jones intercepted a pass — the game’s only turnover — in the end zone with 39 seconds to play.
“The clock was our friend tonight without a doubt,” coach Neal Brown told Troy’s official website. “The was the best we’ve played all year in the first half and the worst we’ve played in the second half. Our goal when we got on that bus (in Troy) was to come here and be 1-0, be 1-0 in the league and we accomplished that. I don’t want to lose that in what happened in the second half.”
Barker finished 23 of 28 for 273 yards and two touchdowns while running for two more, earning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. Sawyer Smith completed all four of his passes and added 56 yards and a scoring toss.
Troy steamrolled Coastal Carolina 42-17 last year as Jones ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns in the first 11:01 of the game. The Trojans did an excellent job containing Coastal Carolina’s triple option, limiting the Chanticleers to 258 total yards while bottling up Anderson, who had minus-1 yard on 14 rushes.
- 19-7-1 ATS in its last 27 games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 6-0 ATS in its last six games following a straight up win.
- 4-0 ATS in its last four games vs. Sun Belt teams.
- The over is 20-9 in its last 29 games as a home favorite.
- The over is 6-0 in its last six home games vs. teams with an above-.500 road record.
- The over is 6-0 in its last six games after totaling more than 450 yards in its previous game.
Coastal Carolina is:
- No trends of note.
- The over is 7-2 in its last nine road games.
- The over is 14-5 in its last 19 games as an underdog.
- The over is 5-0 in its last five games as an underdog of 10.5 or more points.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While the Trojans had a complete second-half meltdown last week at Louisiana-Monroe, the fact they made just enough plays to escape with a victory shows how much quality the program has as they chase a third straight 10-win season.
Barker has thrived in his first season as starter, throwing for 734 yards and seven touchdowns with only two interceptions. He also makes things happen running, with a 55-yard scramble among his 141 rushing yards and three scores.
Troy’s ball-hawking defense, though, will need to come through in this game. The Trojans have forced nine turnovers through their first four games and have racked up 35 takeaways in their last 13 games dating back to last season. They had two interceptions of Anderson against Coastal Carolina in last season’s win in making him more of a pocket passer than running threat.
The Chanticleers must maintain their identity as that triple option team to have a chance to win this game. Their defense is simply not good enough to stay on the field for prolonged stretches as it has been on the field less than 30 minutes in each game during this winning streak and still conceded 10 touchdowns and 73 points.
While clearly better than last season, Coastal Carolina may not be ready for the moment, and playing its third road game in a 17-day stretch will likely finally catch up to the Chanticleers in Troy.
Prediction: Pick: Troy -14 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
Troy should be able to put up points against Coastal Carolina’s defense, but the difference between the over hitting in this game is whether or not the offense shuts down like it did last week versus UL-Monroe. The hedge is the Chanticleers play better offensively than last year’s meeting and the Trojans pull away throughout the second half.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 56.5 points (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
The hedge here is the Trojans come out fast and strong at home after last week’s second-half struggles. Troy has scored 90 first-half points during its three-game winning streak, and that offensive success should continue.
Prediction: Pick: Troy -7.5 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
Again, this is as much about Coastal Carolina’s poor defense running into Troy’s strong offense. If the Chanticleers can get to 10 points, the over should hit comfortably.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 28.5 points (-110)