This is the teams’ first meeting
Strength: Offensive line, running back
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Weakness: Quarterback production
Strength: Balanced offense
Coastal Carolina’s defensive line and linebackers vs. UAB’s offensive line: The Chanticleers have experience and talent at the defensive line and linebacker positions with linebacker Shane Johnson and linemen Marcus Williamson, Myles White, Ja’ree Tolbert and Dwayne Price. But much like the Chants, UAB has shown an ability to run the ball against its first two opponents. In a 51-31 loss last week, the Blazers outgained Ball State 504-377 thanks in part to 336 rushing yards. The Blazers lead Conference USA and rank 12th nationally with 297.5 rushing yards per game among teams that have played two games.
Players to watch
Senior running back Osharmar Abercrombie: The Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week from opening week gained 149 yards and scored two touchdowns on 17 carries against UMass in his first game as CCU’s featured back.
Junior safety Fitz Wattley: In a retooled secondary, the 5-11, 210-pound junior led the Chants in tackles in their opener with six solo tackles and five assists for 11 total.
Senior receiver Chris Jones: He can produce for the team in many ways, as evidenced by his 20 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards and 46 punt return yards in the opener.
Freshman running back Spencer Brown: In just his second collegiate game last week against Ball State, Brown gained 151 yards on 17 carries for an average of 8.9 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback A.J. Erderly: He has ideal QB size at 6-4 and 220 and is a dual threat. He is 26 of 44 for 320 yards and two TDs passing through two games, while rushing for 104 yards with a Conference USA-leading four rushing touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Tevin Crews: One of the holdovers from the 2014 UAB team, he notched a career-high 15 tackles last week and is averaging 11 tackles per game, which ranks third in Conference USA.
He said it
“This is a challenge. It’s our first really road FBS game since we’ve been here. It’s definitely a building stone. We’re definitely going to take care of business and we’re going to make sure we can come back to Coastal happy and proud.” – CCU senior offensive lineman Rodney Mitchell
“I think the athleticism is a big difference for us to have to get used to, but I do like our matchup overall. We hope that with what we do offensively and defensively we can give them some matchup problems.” – CCU interim head coach Jamey Chadwell
“It was a tough loss. Guys know what it looks like now. It was something they needed to see. The only way to experience it was to go and be in it.” – UAB head coach Bill Clark on his team’s first loss since 2014
Both teams will likely attempt to establish their dominant rushing attacks, though UAB has shown an ability to have a more balanced attack in the early going this season. Coastal rushed for 321 yards in its season-opening win over UMass, while UAB rushed for 336 yards last week against Ball State and is averaging 297.5 yards per game on the ground.
UAB quarterback A.J. Erderly has added to that going 26 of 44 for 320 yards with two passing TDs. Coastal quarterbacks haven’t thrown for 100 yards in four consecutive games. At some point in the near future the Chants will need to be more balanced to win, and this might be the week, so quarterbacks Tyler Keane and Dalton Demos may be asked to do more. The Blazers’ athleticism on defense is reflected in their 17 tackles for loss through their first two games, which ranks 19th nationally.
Third-down conversions could play a big role in the game for CCU. Coastal was just 1 of 11 in third down conversions in its opener against UMass, while UAB allowed Ball State to convert 11 of 17 third downs in its road loss last week, which allowed the Cardinals to have a nearly 10-minute advantage in time of possession. UAB outgained Ball State 336-160 on the ground and 504-377 in total yardage. “I think our offense made some big-time improvements, and defensively we contained their running game and contained quarterback on the ground,” UAB coach Bill Clark said. “To not be able to get off the field on third down, it was frustrating.”
▪ Coastal Carolina is seeking its ninth consecutive win dating back to an overtime loss last Oct. 1 against Charleston Southern, which was coached by Chadwell.
▪ UAB’s first game of the season against Alabama A&M was its first in 1,007 days, as the program went two years without a game after being killed, only to be reinstated six months later after a groundswell of community support. The Blazers drew a school record 45,212 spectators to the game at Legion Field.
▪ Coastal Carolina is coming off a bye week. The team is 5-1 following bye weeks since head coach Joe Moglia took over the program in 2012, including five straight wins. Chadwell is the interim coach this season as Moglia deals with a health issue.
▪ When UAB’s program was killed after the 2014 season, one of its players, offensive guard Daniel Anousheh, transferred to CCU and started all 12 games for the Chanticleers in 2015 while earned his undergraduate degree in Conway.
Coastal Carolina -1
UAB 27, Coastal Carolina 24. Coastal Carolina’s first road game as an FBS member should be close throughout, with the host Blazers pulling out a victory.