Unbeaten underdogs Coastal Carolina, BYU arrange Saturday game
Undefeated 13th-ranked BYU will travel to play No. 18 Coastal Carolina on Saturday in bowl-worthy matchup arranged on the fly due to COVID-19 issues.
ESPN’s College GameDay announced Thursday morning it would be on site at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C., which had been planned for Saturday’s game with Liberty (9-1).
Liberty, which is unranked in the College Football Playoff ranking but cracked the AP Top 25 this week, is unable to play at Coastal Carolina (9-0) this week due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Coastal Carolina and BYU are sharing their own COVID-19 test results after nearly two days of discussions, per multiple reports, but each school announced the game was on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ESPNU.
The attention is unusual for the South Carolina school, a Sun Belt program that joined the FBS in 2017.
Coastal Carolina continues to make history, moving up two spots to No. 18 this week in the CFP rankings, its highest standing in the poll.
The CFP poll, released Tuesday night, comes two days after the Chanticleers posted the highest AP Top 25 ranking in program history at No. 14, which is also the loftiest rating ever for a Sun Belt Conference team.
“I’m sure we’ll see those media mentions skyrocket this weekend,” Coastal Carolina athletic director Matt Hogue said. “Already, the buzz you have during this week is going to bring enormous attention to our university. What a great time.”
The game helps stand up a statement from BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe who said the Cougars would travel to play “anytime, anywhere.”
“We remain open to exploring to add football games, and have been throughout the season,” Holmoe said in a Nov. 23 statement. “In that exploration process there are a variety of factors that need to be considered, including location, prep time for the game, the chances of the game being played, the testing protocols that are in place and what the game would do for our resume. At this point of the season, having played nine games and being nationally ranked, we are involved in discussions for possible matchups with other teams, on common open dates, for the benefit of both teams.”
Neither team had much time to prepare for its opponent and there is little familiarity to history to lean on in this matchup.
On paper, the matchup that jumps out immediately is BYU’s rushing defense — which allows 89.11 yards per game — against the Coastal Carolina rushing attack. The Chanticleers are powered by quarterback Grayson McCall and a running back tandem contributes to a total of more than 220 yards per game this season (19th in the FBS).
On the other side, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is gaining national acclaim but the Chanticleers are No. 12 in pass defense.
–Field Level Media