No. 14 Coastal Carolina travels to Appalachian State for a battle featuring two of the more prominent Group of Five teams in the college football. The stakes are high in this meeting as control of the Sun Belt East Division will be up for grabs. The Chanticleers have won 18 consecutive regular season games dating back to the 2019 season, head coach Jamey Chadwell's first year at the helm full-time. Coastal Carolina has won its two conference games by a combined 85 points.
The Mountaineers, long considered the class of the Sun Belt, sit at 4-2 after a 41-13 loss to Louisiana. Quarterback Chase Brice, a former Clemson and Duke signal-caller, threw a pair of interceptions, but has otherwise been solid. Brice completed 71.4% of passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia State in App State's other conference game.
These two programs have played four times with the Mountaineers holding a 3-1 edge. However, Coastal Carolina comfortably beat the Mountaineers 34-23 in 2020 behind three touchdowns from quarterback Grayson McCall.
Coastal Carolina vs. App State: Need to know
America's top offense: Coastal Carolina boasts one of the most impressive offenses in college football at the season's midpoint, statistically. The Chanticleers rank No. 1 in scoring offense (48.8 PPG), No. 1 in yards per play (8.8 YPP) and No. 2 in total offense (554.2 YPG) behind sensational sophomore quarterback McCall. The North Carolina native has completed 79.8% of his passes for 1,478 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception. His 234.3 passer rating is on pace to obliterate former Alabama QB Mac Jones' record of 203.1 set last season. For reference, the gap between McCall and Jones' existing record matches the gap between Heisman finalist Jones and Texas QB Casey Thompson. Tight end Isaiah Likely earned Midseason All-America Honors from CBS Sports after catching 27 passes for 513 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Run-heavy attack: Appalachian State built its reputation as an aggressive zone running team and has stayed true to its identity since former offensive line coach and run game coordinator Shawn Clark took over the program. Running backs Nate Noel and Camerun Peoples combine for 908 yards and nine touchdowns while both are averaging more than 5.3 yards per carry. The Mountaineers run the ball on nearly 56% of possessions. They'll face their toughest battle yet on Wednesday as the Chanticleers allow just 3.7 yards per carry.
Class of the Sun Belt: The Wednesday night matchup boasts two marquee programs in the Sun Belt with conference title hopes on the line. The pair have combined to win the last three Sun Belt East Division crowns and capture at least a share of the last four conference championships. Both of these programs are relatively recent additions to the top tier of college football. The Mountaineers moved up to the FBS level in 2014 after winning three straight FCS championships. Coastal Carolina only started a football program in 2003 and moved to the FBS level in 2017. Regardless, the pair has established themselves as national-caliber brands.
How to watch Coastal Carolina vs. App State live
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 20 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium -- Boone, North Carolina
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Coastal Carolina vs. App State prediction, picks
Coastal Carolina has been a merciless killing machine in 2021, winning games on average by more than four touchdowns. The Mountaineers are easily the best team the Chanticleers have played to this point, but it's difficult to know whether a defense that allowed 41 points to Louisiana and 30 points to Marshall will be able to keep CCU out of the end zone. Home-field advantage will play a role, but not enough to keep this game close. Prediction: Coastal Carolina (-4)
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