Game 6 Preview: Coastal Carolina
After a brief stop at the friendly confines of Georgia State Stadium, the Georgia State Panthers (3-2) head back out on the road to Conway, South Carolina to take on the Sun Belt East division foe Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (3-2). Georgia State comes into this matchup fresh off a record-setting offensive performance last weekend, defeating Arkansas State 52-38 in Atlanta. The Panthers set numerous offensive records – including 722 total yards, 334 rushing yards and scoring the most points since moving to the FBS level – and look to continue their incredibly balanced, high-powered offense against one of the better defenses in the conference.
The Chanticleers had last weekend off, but they return home after a defeat two weeks ago at the hands of undefeated Appalachian State, 56-37. The typically stout Chanticleer defense had trouble defending the App State running backs, allowing a season-high 184 yards on the ground.
Every conference game is important for the Panthers, but this game provides an opportunity for both the Panthers and the Chanticleers to prove their record is indicative of their talent level. In many ways, these two teams are similar. Both teams run the ball well, averaging over 200 yards rushing per game, both offenses are balanced, also averaging just around 30 passing attempts per game, and both offenses do a decent job of not turning over the football. And additionally, both teams can claim a win at a Power 5 program this year, with Georgia State beating Tennessee and Coastal winning at Kansas.
After turning in an improved performance against Arkansas State, the Panthers will have to continue to tighten up their 118th-ranked rushing defense. Junior running back C.J. Marable leads the way for the Chanticleer ground game, and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in three of the five games the Chanticleers have played in – falling just 5 yards short of the century mark against App State. While Marable has seen most of the carries, back-up Jacqez Hairston and quarterback Fred Payton also feature in the Chants’ rushing attack. Coastal use their ground game to control time of possession as well, averaging almost 35 minutes of possession per game. This is a team that likes to run early and often, and it will be important the Panthers continue to work on big play prevention and forcing the ball out of the hands of the Coastal offense.
Georgia State may not be able to replicate the high-octane offensive performance from Saturday’s game, but this is a good test for the Panthers to show they can put up points against whoever they face. Coming into Week 6, quarterback Dan Ellington leads the Sun Belt in total offense at 308 yards per game and has thrown a touchdown in each game of the season so far. App State is the only team to have more than 300 yards of total offense against a very good Chanticleer defense, but how much of that success is due to opponent level remains to be seen. It will be important for the Panthers to not turn the ball over and keep the ball away from a Chanticleer offense who have dominated the time of possession battle against every team they have played this season.