Coastal Caorlina has lost just once in two seasons. UMass hasn’t won since 2019.
But don’t tell coach Jamey Chadwell his 17th-ranked Chanticleers will have their way with the struggling Minutemen this weekend.
“We don’t allow a mindset to creep in that we’re better than people,” Chadwell said. “We always assume we have to go out and play our very best to win the game. That’s our mindset.”
It’s one that’s helped Coastal Carolina (3-0) greatly the past two seasons. The Chants went 11-1 and won the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division a season ago. They’ve kept up their strong play this season and have a Power Five victory — 49-22 over Kansas at home two weeks ago — on their resume.
Chadwell won’t allow his players to believe they can coast on Saturday, even though the Chanticleers are favored by more than five touchdowns, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Coastal Carolina last faced UMass (0-3) in 2019 in a 62-28 victory. He cautioned his team to look more closely at tape of how the Minutemen are playing today rather than their 14-game losing streak.
“It’s a completely different team,” Chadwell said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
That doesn’t always show up in the results. UMass has fallen to a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference teams in Pitt and Boston College before losing to Eastern Michigan, 42-28, last week.
The Minutemen have put up 28 points the past two weeks with freshman Brady Olson playing quarterback. Olson has had his ups and downs with five TD passes and three interceptions. But he’s working to guide UMass to that streak-breaking win the program has looked for since its last victory over Akron, 37-29, on Sept. 28, 2019.
“He is still a young guy, so of course he is going to make mistakes,” UMass running back Ellis Merriweather said of Olson. “He is still trying to get his feet wet, so we pride ourselves in giving him more time to make the right decision.”
Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall has been super sharp this season, leading the FBS in completion percentage, pass efficiency rating and yards per pass attempt. He had three TDs in last week’s 28-25 victory over Buffalo, The most surprising thing may have been the interception he’d thrown, just the fourth of his career in 14 starts.
UMass has struggled getting out of the gate in games this season, getting outscored in the first quarter of their games 41-0 this season. Minutemen coach Walt Bell said he and his staff emphasize breaking quickly all the time.
“Obviously I’m not pushing it well enough, but that’s one of our things that matters is starting fast and execution,” Bell said.
The Chanticleers have been helped by a solid rushing game so far. They’ve had tailbacks reach 100 yards on the ground in all three games. Shermari Jones has done it twice with 100 yards in the season opener against The Citadel and 145 yards last week at Buffalo. Reese White had
UMass is an FBS independent and is playing a schedule that makes it challenging to find success. After opening with ACC opponents in Pitt and Boston College, the Minutemen must head to Florida State. There are also games left for UMass at Liberty, Army and New Mexico State.
The Chanticleers have made it difficult on opponents at home the past few seasons, winning nine straight at Brooks Stadium. T he run includes defeating then-No. 8 BYU last December and stopping Kansas 49-22 here two weeks ago in front of the largest crowd in stadium history. Coastal Carolina is four wins shy of the program’s all-time mark of 13 consecutive home victories.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25