Georgia Southern 43-26 in 2010
Strength: Wide receiver
Weakness: Inexperience at QB and offensive line
Weakness: Inexperience at QB
Georgia Southern redshirt freshman quarterback Shai Werts vs. Coastal’s front seven: Werts, who is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, runs the Eagles spread option offense and was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance two weeks ago in a 52-0 win over South Alabama. In that game, Werts tallied 220 yards of total offense with a team-high 113 yards rushing and a touchdown, and 107 yards and a TD passing while completing 7 of 13 passes. GSU put up a season-high 583 yards of total offense and controlled the clock for 39:11 in the game.
Discipline and assignment football are always a key when facing an option quarterback, so the CCU front four and linebacker corps will have to be attentive to limit the Eagles offense. Linebacker Shane Johnson is second in the Sun Belt with 9.7 tackles per game, safety Fitz Wattley is second on the team in tackles with 76, linebacker Silas Kelly is third with 63, and linebacker Kerron Johnson and defensive end Marcus Williamson are tied for the team-high with 7.5 tackles for loss each.
Players to watch
Junior quarterback Kilton Anderson: He gets his third straight start with senior Tyler Keane injured. On the season he’s 40 of 92 for 563 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions, and he has gained about a yard per carry on 38 carries.
Junior receiver Malcolm Williams: He leads the team in receptions with 39, yards receiving with 673 and receiving touchdowns with five, and is second to Chris Jones in yards per catch at 17.3. He is also used as a rusher and in the return game.
Junior cornerback Anthony Chesley: He has made big plays in recent weeks, returning a fumble for a touchdown against Texas State and getting his fingers on a field goal attempt to record a block in the win at Idaho. He is also fourth on the team with 51 total tackles.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Shai Werts: The Clinton native enters the game with 872 passing yards and 614 rushing yards for 1,486 total yards of offense despite sharing time with junior Kado Brown, and needs 157 yards to set the school record for total offensive yards by a freshman QB.
Senior running back L.A. Ramsby: Though he is third on the team in rushing yards this season, the 5-11, 200-pound senior running back has nearly 2,400 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns in his career.
Senior receiver Myles Campbell: The slot receiver is 5-6 and 165 pounds and is perhaps most dangerous as a kickoff returner. He has 743 kickoff return yards this season on 34 returns for an average of 21.9 yards with a long of 47 yards.
He said it
“We weren’t ready to win those games yet. We weren’t doing the things necessary, we weren’t competing the way we were capable of. We had to go through some of those growing pains to learn how to do it, and hopefully we’ve learned what it takes to win in some of those [close] games and that will pay dividends for us as we move forward.” – CCU interim head coach Jamey Chadwell on his team breaking a nine-game losing streak
“Any time you move up it’s different opponents, it’s just different. We had a good bit of success when we moved up but it was a struggle. It took a lot of hard work, it took a lot of energy and effort. I know those guys are putting it into it and they’re very well coached. They’ve got good football players. You can tell by the way they played Arkansas. They’re a good football team. Sometime just like us, the ball hasn’t bounced the right way. I think they’re very dangerous so we’ve got to make sure we’re on point.” – Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford on CCU’s transition to FBS this season
“They’re playing pretty well these last couple weeks and are coming in with a lot of confidence. Hopefully we’ll be able to match that and use this off weekend we had to our advantage.” – Chadwell
Both teams are attempting to end trying seasons on a positive note and with winning streaks.
Coastal ended a nine-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 13-7 win at Idaho. “It felt amazing, honestly,” Shane Johnson said. “We really missed that feeling in the locker room after a game, just being able to celebrate as a team after another win. Our last win was after the first game. Throughout the season we’ve really been missing that and it really brought the team back together.”
Georgia Southern has won its past two games after starting the season 0-9 and losing head coach Tyson Summers in the process, as he was fired after 1 1/2 seasons through six games this year. The Eagles broke out of their losing streak in a big way with a 52-0 win over South Alabama to record their first shutout over an FBS team as an FBS program, and followed it up with a 34-24 win at Louisiana-Lafayette last week.
The wins helped Chad Lunsford, who has spent nine years as an assistant at the school over two stints, have the interim tag removed on Monday to become the permanent head coach.
“Honestly, the whole reason I took the thing as the interim was for these guys, for these seniors and young guys, and try to help them have a positive experience after a really bad start for us at Georgia Southern,” Lunsford said. “I know this sounds crazy but honestly that’s all I’ve been focused on.”
Coastal is looking for a rare good effort at home. The Chants have been decidedly better statistically on the road. Five of CCU’s six road games have been decided by one possession, while three of the Chants losses at home to Western Illinois, Texas State and Troy have each come by at least 20 points.
This will be the final college game for 16 Coastal Carolina seniors and grad students, including running back Osharmar Abercrombie, safety Nicholas Clark, quarterbacks Dalton Demos and Tyler Keane, linebackers Kerron Johnson and Shane Johnson, defensive linemen Dwayne Price and Marcus Williamson, and receiver Chris Jones.
“We didn’t finish how we wanted to or didn’t win as many games as we would like to, but I thought we all bought in and stayed together,” Jones said. “We knew it would be tough moving into the Sun Belt.”
▪ The teams have a pair of hot kickers. Eagles sophomore Tyler Bass has hit nine straight field goals and is 12 of 15 on the season with a long of 48 yards. Coastal junior Evan Rabon has made eight of his past nine attempts with a long of 52 and is 12 of 18 on the season.
▪ Coastal is 0-3 all-time against Georgia Southern, as the Eagles won a game in Statesboro, Ga., in 2006 and a pair of games in Conway in 2007 and 2010, with all three meetings coming with both teams members of the FCS.
▪ Coastal is coming off a bye week and is 13-3 all-time when coming off a bye, which includes a loss to Western Illinois in the third week of the season. Coastal is 11-3 on Senior Day, and 8-6 in regular season finales, including 5-2 at home.
▪ Illustrating CCU’s struggles at home, the Chants have 50 more first downs on the road than they do at home – 127 in six games compared to 77 in five games.
Georgia Southern -2
Georgia Southern 27, Coastal Carolina 24: The game should be close and one team will end a difficult season with a multiple-game winning streak.
Who: Georgia Southern (2-9, 2-5 Sun Belt) at Coastal Carolina (2-9, 1-6 Sun Belt)
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Brooks Stadium, Conway
Occassion: Football Senior Day
TV: Live online on ESPN3
Live stats: Through www.goccusports.com GameTracker
Radio: WRNN 99.5-FM