Strength: Lots of firepower at key positions.
Weakness: Inexperience at quarterback.
Strength: Strong passing game, tough defense.
Weakness: Some questions at wide receiver.
CCU’s Defense vs. JSU QB Eli Jenkins: Jenkins is a dual-threat quarterback who leads the program over 9,000 career passing yards and also has racked up nearly 3,000 rushing yards. The Coastal Carolina defense will have a big task in trying to contain Jenkins, but the Chants have limited opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards in the first two weeks.
Players to watch
Senior running back De’Angelo Henderson: Fresh off setting an NCAA Division I record for most consecutive games with at least one touchdown, Henderson – who also became CCU’s all-time leading scorer – may be poised to post another 100-plus rushing yard performance, something the senior has done 20 times in his career.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Stilley: With two collegiate starts and two wins under his belt, Stilley faces his toughest opponent yet, but the young quarterback will do everything he can to pick up that third win.
“We’re all pleased with where Josh is at,” CCU head coach Joe Moglia said.
Senior safety Richie Sampson: After missing over a year and a half due to a shoulder injury, Sampson is back better than ever and has two interceptions (one returned for TD) through the first two games. Sampson also leads the team with 15 total tackles and will look to keep shining as Saturday rolls around.
Jenkins: An elite quarterback, Jenkins has scored at least one touchdown in his past six games and will threaten to keep the streak alive Saturday.
Junior defensive end Darius Jackson: An anchor for the Gamecocks’ defense, Jackson has 27.5 career tackles for loss, which is fourth in program history and is only 12 away from the school record held by Chris Landrum. Jackson has just six tackles through the first two games, but three of those have been for losses and he also has one sack.
He said it
“There was a big improvement from week one to week two. We are all incredibly proud of what Hop (Henderson) did (in setting the NCAA Division I record for most consecutive games with a touchdown). I thought our offense did an incredible job blocking, the receivers, the backs and the line. From a defensive perspective, we improved because we gave up two big plays the week before and this time we gave up just one big play. Clearly we will need to address that. But I thought we did a good job reading our keys, did a good job tackling in space and did a good job gang tackling. We were very physical. I thought we dominated the game on the special teams end.” – Moglia
“They’re good, we know they’re good and it’ll be a great opportunity to find out how good we are. It’ll be an opportunity to see how our guys compete. Offensively, [Jekins] was an All-American – I think – a year ago, and he’s the preseason No. 1 pick at quarterback in the country. He is their leading rusher, he does a good job passing the ball; the kid is a very, very good athlete. They’ve got good kids around him; they’ve got people they can throw to, they got guys they can hand it off to and their line is physical.” – Moglia
▪ In his first action of the season last week against Florida A&M, Chants redshirt freshman tight end Tyler Wheeler dislocated his ankle near the end of the game and will be sidelined for quite some time.
▪ Coastal Carolina linebacker Shane Johnson is trying to work his way back from an ankle injury suffered in the season-opening win over Lamar two weeks ago. The junior practiced on Tuesday, but the team is unsure if he’ll be ready to go. Should he miss the contest, true freshman Laqavious Paul – who led the team with nine tackles last week – will look to step up. “I’m just trying to do my best while Shane is out,” Paul said. “I’ve been working hard.”
▪ Coastal Carolina and Jacksonville State have been two of the best teams at the FCS level over the last five seasons. CCU (50-18) and JSU (48-18) have a combined record of 98-36 over that span.
Jacksonville State 28, Coastal Carolina 27. With two high-powered teams going head-to-head, expect this one to be a battle. Also a fairly even matchup, it could end up being the closest game either team plays all season. And one of the toughest.
Who: Coastal Carolina (2-0) at Jacksonville State (1-1)
When: 2 p.m. ET
Where: Jacksonville, Ala.
Series history: Inaugural meeting