In looking back on his team’s near upset at FBS foe Toledo last weekend, Coastal Carolina football coach Joe Moglia reiterated that he’s not one for moral victories.
Which means it doesn’t matter all that much to him that the Chanticleers took a lot of people by surprise as decided underdogs last Saturday when they seized a second-half lead on the road and later drew to within three points in the waning minutes. Nor does it matter that they outgained the Rockets and scored more than twice as many points as the program had in five previous games against FBS competition.
In the end, it was a loss. But perhaps there was one thing the Chants could take from the 38-28 defeat, Moglia acknowledged.
“I think our guys recognize that [we] could have won the game,” he said this week. “I think they recognize that they could play with a team like that. I think they recognize that when somebody says we’re 30-point underdogs, it’s kind of irrelevant to what’s going on.”
The Chants (2-2) won’t be 30-point dogs this week at No. 17 Appalachian State, but their grueling stretch of schedule continues with their second ranked FCS foe in three weeks.
Coastal is 0-2 all time against the Mountaineers, losing both times at Kidd Brewer Stadium, where they’ll return Saturday afternoon. One of those losses, of course, was in the program’s first-ever FCS playoff game in 2006, and the Chants certainly aren’t the only team with bad memories from Boone, N.C.
Appalachian State (2-2) has won 20 of its past 21 regular-season non-conference home games and had won 18 straight regular-season games overall at Kidd Brewer before a 52-28 loss two weeks ago to The Citadel.
None of that – nor the Mountaineers’ stature as a perennial FCS power – matters to Moglia.
“When you spend a lot of time talking about somebody else’s tradition, or what they have or what they don’t have, you get away from what you’ve got to be able to do,” he said. “And 100 percent of our focus as a staff and as far as our players goes is what is it that we can do, that we can have some sort of control over that makes us more effective down the road. And all the other stuff becomes a little bit of noise.”
Moglia preferred to focus on the marked improvement he felt his defense made last week after being exposed in a lopsided loss the week prior to a ranked Eastern Kentucky team. He talked about the challenge the Chants will face this week from a Mountaineers team that has topped 400 yards of offense each of the first four games.
He highlighted the hosts’ power rushing attack and ability to play off that by attacking the perimeter with option runs and bubble screens -- a tactic the Chants have been susceptible against so far.
Appalachian State boasts a proven quarterback in junior Jamal Jackson, four equally productive wide receivers and an emerging standout in senior running back Steven Miller (361 rushing yards over the last three games).
The Mountaineers have been vulnerable too, though, as evidenced by the drubbing at the hands of The Citadel. Head coach Jerry Moore admitted that he didn’t know quite what to expect of his team last week as it opened in a 10-0 hole at Chattanooga before going on to win 34-17.
And as the Chants showed at Toledo, with their offense, they are a threat every week – and, for that matter, an especially motivated bunch at this point after two straight losses.
“We owe this coaching staff a win,” junior offensive lineman Jamey Cheatwood said. “We should have beat Toledo, but that’s in the past so we’ve got to come out here and win.”
Said senior quarterback Aramis Hillary: “We’ve come up short two weeks in a row and we can’t afford a third one.”
This will indeed be a season-defining stretch for the Chants, who have their toughest games stacked together. After this one, they have a bye before hosting Big South Conference favorite Stony Brook. It’s not a favorable slate by any means, but of course, that also is not of relevance to the team right now.
The Chants have a game to play Saturday – a big one – and that’s all that matters this week.
“Our job is to kind of get ready for each game as it comes,” Moglia said. “… So the fact that it’s a tough stretch is irrelevant. We’ve got App State, that’s it. Our focus is App State.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.