PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU has officially scheduled another game against a top-25 team.
The 13th-ranked Cougars will play #18 Coastal Carolina Saturday in Conway, South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. mountain time. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
The 9-0 Chanticleers were originally slated to play 9-1 Liberty, but the Flames are dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the team, and had to pull out of the game.
BYU (9-0) was more than happy to fill in, even if it meant traveling across the country on short notice.
“We’re grateful that this game between our two teams could be put together in such a timely fashion,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “It’s good to have a partner like ESPN that can help put together such a meaningful game at this point of the season.”
“We’re just super excited about this game and how it came together on such short notice,” said BYU center James Empey. “When the told the team everybody was stoked and ready to go.”
The Cougars are ranked 13th in the College Football Playoff poll, 8th in the Associated Press poll, and a win over undefeated Coastal Carolina would boost its chances of moving up in the rankings and earn a bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.
The criticism of the Cougars this year has been its strength of schedule, but a win against a top-20 team would certainly improve its resume.
“Each person in this locker room wants to play any team in the country,” said defensive back Troy Warner. “As far as I know we weren’t ducking anybody. We’re not afraid to play anybody. I just saw it as fake news, we all just saw it as fake news because we know that’s not how BYU is ran here.”
Not being in a conference actually worked in BYU’s favor scheduling a game on such short notice.
“One of the things that made it a little easier is we’re not in a conference, so we didn’t have to check with a lot of people to make it happen,” Holmoe said. “It was just the Sun Belt and BYU.”
BYU hasn’t played since November 21st when it trounced North Alabama, 66-14. BYU has played just one game decided by less than 17 points this year.
ESPN College Game Day was already at Brooks Stadium for the Coastal Carolina-Liberty game, bringing more attention to this battle of unbeaten teams.
“We put ourself in a situation where we took the step, now we’ve got to answer,” Holmoe said. “It’s a football game so now we’ve got to go play the game.”
Coastal Carolina will have a home field advantage, as the school has allowed 5,000 fans to attend all five home games this season.
In just its fourth year of FBS football, Coastal Carolina is having one of the best seasons in the history of the Sun Belt Conference.
The Chanticleers best wins have come against #25 Louisiana, Kansas and Appalachian State.
The one common opponent of Coastal Carolina and BYU this season is Texas State. The Cougars blew past the Bobcats, 52-14, while the Chanticleers beat them, 49-14.
Coastal Carolina is led by quarterback Grayson McCall, who has thrown for 1,747 yards, 20 touchdowns and one interception. The Chanticleers have four running backs that have rushed for at least 300 yards this season, led by CJ Marable, who has run for 592 yards and eight touchdowns.
Heisman Trophy candidate Zach Wilson is having a spectacular year for BYU, throwing for 2,724 yards, 26 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Wilson has also rushed for run for eight touchdowns.
Tyler Allgeier leads the Cougars in rushing with 851 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Dax Milne leads BYU in receiving with 49 catches for 906 yards and six touchdowns.
BYU has one more game currently on its schedule, at home against San Diego State on December 12th.