CCU 38-28 on Sept. 2, 2017
Strength: Offensive efficiency
Weakness: Run defense
Strength: Offensive explosiveness
Weakness: Run defense
Coastal Carolina’s offensive line vs. the UMass defensive front seven: Coastal is 15th in the nation with 247.2 rushing yards per game. UMass is 127th out of 129 FBS teams in run defense, allowing 272.1 yards per game on the ground. Hence, the Minutemen are also 120th in the nation in yards allowed per game at 496.7 and 126th in points allowed per game at 44.9. So there should be running opportunities for the Chants, especially if senior quarterback Kilton Anderson returns and the passing game is more of a threat.
Coastal Carolina’s young offensive line consisting of junior Ethan Howard and sophomores Steven Bedosky, Jack Franklin, Trey Carter and Brock Hoffman has essentially been intact since late last season and is growing together. All but Franklin have started every game this season, and Franklin has started the past three. His backup, redshirt freshman Sean Fitzgerald, started the first three games. Senior Marcus Outlow has 553 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and sophomore Torrance “C.J.” Marable has 368 yards rushing and five TDs, and the spread option offense gets ball carriers the ball in a variety of positions.
Players to watch
Senior running back Marcus Outlow: The 5-10, 205-pound Boston College transfer is coming off his second 100-yard rushing game this season, gaining 104 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown against Louisiana-Monroe.
Senior quarterback Kilton Anderson: He is expected to return after missing two-plus games and has completed 39 of 56 passes (69.6 percent) for 564 yards with six touchdowns and one interception, and has rushed 34 times for 215 yards (6.32 yards per carry) and a TD this season..
Sophomore defensive end Jeffrey Gunter: The 6-4, 255-pounder from Durham, N.C., is third on the team with 25 total tackles and leads the Sun Belt and ranks 30th nationally with 1.4 tackles for loss per game with 8.5 for 42 yards, including three sacks. He also has two pass break-ups, two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and blocked field goal attempt.
Senior running back Marquis Young: The 6-1, 210 pounder has rushed for 399 yards this season, and ranks ninth nationally with 154.3 all-purpose yards per game. He is fourth in the nation with 571 kick return yards and has returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Senior receiver Andy Isabella: The speedy 5-10, 190-pound Ohio native has 839 receiving yards for an average of 119 receiving per game, has accounted for eight of the Minutemen’s 22 plays of 30 yards or more this season, and has scored touchdowns in four straight games.
Senior quarterback Andrew Ford: The fifth-year senior has completed 95 of 143 passes for 1,040 yards this season with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He has thrown for 6,629 yards and 56 touchdowns in 28 career games at UMass.
He said it
“You have to bring it every week, obviously, because you play against a lot of good teams. I mean, there’s talent all over the place. As you can see from the other night, if you don’t bring it one night you’re going to get whooped, and that’s what happened to us.” – CCU sophomore center Trey Carter
“That’s been a real emphasis . . . just talking about making sure our guys get around the ball and tackle the ball carrier. We’ve given up too many big plays on defense. If we stop the big play and hold them to field goals we’ll have a really good chance to get this win.” – UMass coach Mark Whipple
“They’ve gone through some trials and tribulations and they played pretty well when those things happened. They’ve gone through it and I’m sure they got closer. They need a win as much as we do so we’re just glad we’re home, we don’t have to get on a flight this week.” – Whipple
With both teams averaging more than 31 points per game and allowing more than 35 per game, the contest should be a shootout, especially if senior QB Kilton Anderson returns to the CCU starting lineup as expected.
His experience and poise should benefit the offense, and he was having a very productive season before suffering a high ankle sprain in the second half against Louisiana on Sept. 22. Though he’s no longer qualified, he would be ranked third in FBS in Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) if he had enough playing time.
UMass is among the worst defenses statistically in FBS, having allowed at least 55 points on four occasions this season. The Minutemen are coming off consecutive 58-42 losses to Ohio and an undefeated South Florida team that is ranked No. 20/21 in the AP and Coaches national top 25 polls, and had a bye last week to prepare for the Chants.
UMass quarterback Andrew Ford, a fifth-year senior who was once on Virginia Tech’s roster, has been at the helm of the UMass offense for 28 games and has thrown for 6,629 career yards and 56 touchdowns, and his most dangerous weapons are also experienced seniors in running back Marquis Young and receiver Andy Isabella. The Minutemen offense will be among first-year CCU defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders’ biggest challenges this season.
“Coach Mark Whipple is really, really, really a very creative, very smart offensive mind, an NFL quarterback coach for a long time and a head coach before,” CCU coach Joe Moglia said. “I think their offense is one to be reckoned with. They wind up giving you a lot of different things. . . . They’re a very good offensive team. They’re one of the better offensive teams in the country. They’ve struggled on defense.”
▪ The weather in Massachusetts can be dicey in October but the forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s with little wind and little chance of precipitation.
▪ Coastal has trailed in the first quarter in all six of its games this season.
▪ Coastal is looking to go 3-1 in non-conference play, having defeated UAB and Campbell and fallen to South Carolina.
▪ UMass coach Whipple worked with Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb during his years as an offensive coach in the NFL with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
▪ Coastal leads the Sun Belt and ranks fifth nationally in time of possession at 34:32 minutes per game.
▪ CCU’s struggles up front defensively in last week’s 45-20 loss to Louisiana-Monroe were exemplified by three defensive backs in Eriziah Walker, Mallory Claybourne and Derrick Bush all setting career highs in tackles with seven or eight each.
Coastal 45, UMass 42: With Kilton Anderson expected to return, Coastal will need all the points it can muster to keep up with the Minutemen.
Who: Coastal Carolina (3-3, 1-2 Sun Belt) vs Massachusetts (2-5, independent)
When: 3:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Where: McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, Mass.
Occassion: CCU’s final non-conference game
TV: Live on Eleven Sports Network
Radio: WRNN 99.5-FM
Live stats: Through www.goccusports.com GameTracker