Halfway through the season, No. 14 Coastal Carolina is unscathed.
The next phase has more challenges.
That stretch begins with a trip to perennial Sun Belt Conference power Appalachian State on Wednesday night in Boone, N.C.
“We want to continue to keep going,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. “It’s a big deal (to reach the six-win mark). We’ve been bowl eligible once (before) in our whole life.”
Coastal Carolina (6-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) has been off for nearly two weeks since winning 52-20 at Arkansas State on Oct. 7. That night, the Chanticleers became the first FBS team to become bowl eligible.
Chadwell said the Chanticleers came through the first part of the season mostly healthy, although the time off before this game was valuable to give players time to recover.
Appalachian State (4-2, 1-1) figures to be fired up after suffering an alarming 41-13 loss last week at Louisiana.
“We’re playing a great opponent in Coastal Carolina, so we have our work cut out for us,” Appalachian State coach Shawn Clark said.
Coastal Carolina holds its highest ranking of the season this week when it puts its 11-game winning streak in conference play on the line.
Chadwell said Appalachian State has set the standard in the conference for several years, so it’s clear that this should be a tussle.
“We know how good they are,” Chadwell said. “They’re great on defense. They’ve got everything going for them. We know that’s a challenge.”
The outcome of the Coastal Carolina-Appalachian State game is bound to go a long way toward determining the conference’s East Division champion.
Tight end Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina is coming off a school-record outing when he caught four touchdown passes to go with 232 receiving yards against Arkansas State.
“We don’t treat (any) game bigger than the next,” Likely said of the Appalachian State game.
Yet Likely is another threat for opposing defenses to consider as quarterback Grayson McCall directs the high-scoring attack.
“He’s a weapon for us,” Chadwell said. “When you have a tight end (who is) a weapon like that, it’s a big deal.”
Last year at home, Coastal Carolina topped Appalachian State for the first time in seven all-time meetings.
Both teams claim to be underdogs for Wednesday’s encounter.
“Just be ourselves and be ready for a great challenge,” Clark said. “Our guys are up for the challenge, and it’s going to be exciting. I’m expecting a great crowd here. … It’s going to be a lot of fun. Our guys are loose right now.”
The Chanticleers have rung up at least 49 points in all but one of their games. They’ve won seven straight road dates extending to last season.
In the setback to Louisiana, the Mountaineers received a boost from running back Daetrich Harrington, who played for the first time since sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament last fall and rushed twice for 11 yards.
But correcting issues that resulted in four turnovers and 0-for-11 on third-down conversions has been among the priorities since that game.
Two Mountaineers are approaching school records.
Kicker Chandler Staton, a super senior and the Sun Belt’s career leading scorer, is one field goal away from tying the all-time school record held by former NFL kicker Bjorn Nittmo. Staton has 54 field goals, including a 10-for-10 mark this year.
Appalachian State receiver Thomas Hennigan, a super senior, is one reception shy of matching the school record of 208 catches held by Andrew Peacock.
–Field Level Media