Chants must dictate tempo in playoff rematch with B-C

ccufoot-pcrunThe focus on Saturday’s FCS first-round playoff game between No. 11 Coastal Carolina and No. 12 Bethune-Cookman will be on the Chanticleers’ record-breaking offense and the Wildcats’ bone-breaking defense, and rightfully so.

After all, the Coastal offense and B-C defense rank in the top 10 in virtually every statistical category. Both teams are 10-2 but have arrived at those records in vastly different ways. The Chants average almost 50 points per game against FCS competition, while the Wildcats allow only about 10.

But while all eyes are on the strength-vs.-strength matchup, the key to the game could be when the opposite units are on the field. While Coastal has had difficulty stopping the run, the Wildcats have been quietly chewing up yards and clock with an impressive ground game.

“Everyone is aware that they have one of the best defenses in the country,” said Coastal coach Joe Moglia, whose team defeated B-C 24-14 last season on the road in this same round. “From an offensive perspective, they run a zone read and they run it well.”

Coastal’s defense has been prone to the run, particularly against Charleston Southern’s option offense. If the Bulldogs can keep the chains moving and keep the Chants’ balanced attack offensive attack on the sidelines, the roles could be reversed this time.

“If you look at last year I think for three quarters we did a really good job taking away their run,” Moglia recalled. “They had some big plays against us in the fourth quarter because we were playing more conservatively from a defensive perspective. I think this year’s team is better than last year’s team.”

Maybe, but so are the Bulldogs. The only common opponents are South Carolina State (CCU won 27-20; B-C prevailed 14-3) and Savannah State (CCU 50-17; B-C 42-12), so at least on paper it appears to be evenly matched. The key for Coastal will be to be the team that dictates the tempo.

“They’ll come here and be ready to go,” said Coastal standout receiver Lorenzo Taliaferro. “We can’t get in a dog fight with them. We’ll have to take of business early.”

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. at Brooks Stadium and tickets are still available at the CCU ticket office.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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