|No. 15 Coastal Carolina measures up Appalachian State|
If upstart Coastal Carolina is to remain undefeated and on top of the Sun Belt East Division, it must finally take down Appalachian State.
Looking to go 8-0, the No. 15 Chanticleers try to keep the visiting Mountaineers from a sixth straight victory on Saturday in Conway, S.C.
It's been a historic season for Coastal Carolina (7-0, 5-0 in Sun Belt) in its fourth as a full-time FBS program. The Chanticleers have secured their first winning season at that level, and a win here would make them the first Sun Belt team to start 8-0.
Coastal, however, must shake off any rust that might have built up after last weekend's scheduled game with Troy was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Trojans' program. That game was rescheduled for next month.
"It's unfortunate that we (could not play Troy)," coach Jamey Chadwell, who is reportedly to be under consideration for the recently vacant South Carolina head-coaching job, told Coastal Carolina's official website.
"Our team has really worked hard all season long and we (were) ready to play. Now, we turn our attention on (Appalachian State)."
Coastal has been outscored 246-118 while losing its six all-time meetings with Appalachian State (6-1, 4-0), which is one-half game back of the Chanticleers in the East Division. However, Coastal Carolina is allowing just 16.3 points per contest and gave up six over the last two games - all coming during a 23-6 win over South Alabama on Nov. 7 - and has not yielded a touchdown in 10 consecutive quarters.
The Chanticleers also boast perhaps the league's top player in quarterback Grayson McCall (1,393 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, one interception). He threw for 209 yards and ran for 72 against South Alabama in the team's most recent contest.
Appalachian State owns a 183-81 scoring advantage in winning five straight since a 17-7 loss at Marshall on Sept. 19. However, it's uncertain if star quarterback Zac Thomas (1,285 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions; 275 rushing yards) will be available Saturday. He suffered apparent whiplash in last weekend's 17-13 comeback win over Georgia State.
"Zac was back in the building (on Sunday) and looked good," Mountaineers coach Shawn Clark said. "It's going to be day-to-day."
If Thomas is unable to play, senior backup Jacob Huesman, who guided App State to a go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against Georgia State, would likely get the start.
"Jacob Huesman has been a backup here his entire career, and he's practiced like a starter every single practice," Clark said.
"He was ready when his number was called."
Thomas went 19-of-23 for 246 yards with two touchdowns and an interception during the Mountaineers' 56-37 home win over Coastal Carolina last season. Coastal's CJ Marable (370 rushing yards, five touchdowns) ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in last season's game versus Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers have dropped seven straight games against ranked opponents since their historic 34-32 upset of No. 5 Michigan on Sept. 1, 2007 in Ann Arbor.
--Field Level Media