Coastal Carolina vs. Appalachian State Week 7 college football prediction and preview

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Week 7 Tuesday games feature Coastal Carolina vs. App State and Liberty vs. Jacksonville State

The college football schedule makers have blessed us with Tuesday action this week, as Sun Belt and Conference USA teams participate in some early-week football. Coastal Carolina vs. Appalachian State is definitely the highlight of the card, but Coastal’s former head coach, Jamey Chadwell, takes his Liberty Flames to Jacksonville State to take on the Gamecocks. Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee are also in action.

 

Let’s spotlight the big game and mention the two others with this look at Tuesday October 10 football.

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Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Appalachian State Mountaineers (-6.5, 61)

Two former powerhouses of the Sun Belt East Division are not looking like the teams that we are used to seeing. Coastal Carolina has actually gone 0-2 to open Sun Belt play and they’ve only scored 45 points in two games. App State’s lone Sun Belt game ended with a 41-40 win over Louisiana Monroe, so that wasn’t the best conference data point either.

The Chanticleers have only beaten FBS newcomer Jacksonville State and FCS Duquesne this season, while losing by double digits to UCLA, Georgia State, and Georgia Southern. App State’s two losses are against North Carolina and Wyoming, but it took a 54-yard field goal to beat the Warhawks at the end of the game. The other wins are Gardner-Webb and East Carolina.

In other words, these two teams aren’t on the same level of past versions. Coastal Carolina has averaged 6.22 yards per play, which ranks 43rd, but they only have 5.61 YPP against FBS opponents. They had over nine yards per play against Duquesne. App State’s offense has averaged 5.89 YPP, including over seven yards per play in the win over ULM. However, both defenses rank similarly with 5.7 YPP allowed for Coastal and 5.71 for App State.

QB Grayson McCall seems to miss the Chadwell offense. The six interceptions he has thrown so far tie his combined total from 2020-21 over 491 pass attempts and are triple the number he threw last season over 297 attempts. McCall came into this season with just eight interceptions in his college career and he’s on pace to more than double that in just this season alone. He’s also already absorbed 10 sacks after maxing out at 19 last season.

App State QB Joey Aguilar has a 12/5 TD/INT ratio and the Mountaineers have only allowed five total sacks this season. Nate Noel has 5.3 yards per pop and four TDs as the feature back and Aguilar is the second-leading rusher, as the Mountaineers don’t have the same RB depth they’ve had in the past with a timeshare at the position.

The two teams have played nearly identical schedules, with App State’s 95th and Coastal’s 93rd per Jeff Sagarin. I don’t have a strong opinion here, but I lean with the Chanticleers, as 6.5 points seems like a lot for two teams that seem to have pretty similar stats and strengths of schedule. Coastal is only 12/24 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, a number that should improve with an experienced QB like McCall.

Lean: Coastal Carolina +6.5

Other Tuesday Games

Liberty (-6, 56) at Jacksonville State: This is the game I like the most of the three, as Liberty lays under a touchdown against Jacksonville State. Both teams have played similar strengths of schedule, but Jacksonville State hasn’t seen an offense like this yet. The Flames use a ton of pre-snap motion to create mismatches in space and JSU has played a lot of limited offensive teams.

I didn’t love Liberty’s run-pass play distribution last week, as they had 257 passing yards on just 11 completions, yet ran the ball 43 times out of 62 offensive plays. I’m not sure why that was the case, but I’d expect more explosive plays again here. 

Jacksonville State ranks 103rd in the nation in yards per play. Liberty is ninth. The Gamecocks have a good defense, but this offense is a big step up in class.

Pick: Liberty -6 (would play to -6.5)

Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee (-3, 54.5): I’m not keen on either one of these teams, as I’ve bet against each one of them more than once. Neither team strikes me as trustworthy and MTSU has played the tougher schedule with Alabama and Missouri in non-conference. It’s crazy to think that the Blue Raiders probably should have beaten Mizzou with where the two teams are at now.

Absolutely nothing but a mention on this game.