Inside The Press Box: Coastal Carolina

  • In a nod to the 1998 University of Massachusetts Championship team, which was inducted into the UMass Athletics Hall of Fame the night before, the Minutemen wore helmets bearing the script "UMass" logo used that year as they took on South Florida at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.

Staff Writer
Published: 10/19/2018 9:35:55 AM

UMass is back in action Saturday as it comes back from its off week to face Coastal Carolina in Amherst. As you’ll read below, the Chanticleers have been road warriors this season and enter this weekend 3-3, but have lost two straight sandwiched around their bye week.

This week, I chatted with Alan Blondin from the Myrtle Beach Sun-News to learn more about Coastal heading into this week.

Q: Coastal Carolina enters this game 3-3 this year but have lost two straight sandwiched around an open week. How would you describe how the season has gone for the Chanticleers so far?

A: The Coastal Carolina football team endured being displaced from its campus for three full weeks when the campus was closed and evacuated because of Hurricane Florence and subsequent widespread flooding, though the campus itself wasn't damaged. The Chants played a scheduled home game on the road at FCS Campbell, spent nine days in Jacksonville, Fla., before winning at Louisiana and remained on the road before losing at Troy, so it went 2-1 during its three-week odyssey. Considering the Chants were 3-9 in their first season in FBS last year, they are having a progressive season and have hopes of a bowl game.

Q: What's the status of quarterback Kilton Anderson for this weekend? If he doesn't play, what can UMass fans expect out of Bryce Carpenter?

A: Bryce Carpenter is the reigning Florida Mr. Football and has performed admirably while graduate student Kilton Anderson has been out with a high ankle sprain. But the freshman's inexperience was exposed last week in a loss to UL-Monroe. Anderson is expected to start again this week, and his experience and poise should benefit the offense. Anderson is having a very good year. Though he's no longer qualified, he would be ranked in the top five in FBS in Total QBR.

Q: UMass' defense has been susceptible to allowing big running plays this year. What has been the key to Coastal Carolina's strong rushing game this season?

A: Coastal is 15th in the nation with 247.2 rushing yards per game. At the end of last season the team was starting the youngest offensive line in the country and that offensive line has remained intact this season. A pair of transfers fuel the running game. Senior Boston College transfer Marcus Outlow has 553 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and Presbyterian transfer Torrance "C.J." Marable has 368 yards rushing and 5 TDs. The spread option offense gets running backs the ball in a variety of positions.

Q: Coastal Carolina is giving up 35 points and 435 yards per game and allowing almost seven yards per rushing attempt this season, what has been ailing the Chanticleers' defense?

A: CCU has a new defensive coordinator this season in Marvin Sanders, the former North Carolina defensive coordinator who had been out of college coaching since 2012 before this season. The defense hasn't consistently stopped much of anything this year. It has done a decent job making adjustments over the course of a game, but it has been torched early in every game. The Chants have trailed in the first quarter in all six games this season. They were down 14-0 less than seven minutes into the game this past week against UL-Monroe.

Q: Coastal Carolina wins if...

A: Considering the vulnerability of both defenses and potential of both offenses, Coastal Carolina wins if Kilton Anderson starts, doesn't show much rust from missing the past 2 1/2 games over four weeks, and leads CCU to a shootout victory.

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