Cure Bowl: Liberty (9-1) vs. No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0) Dec. 26

Christmas Day has come and gone the gifts were opened and it’s almost time to put away that Christmas tree till 2021, laugh out loud.

We all know 2020 brought some crazy things to the table but have you seen anything as crazy as Coastal Carolina who can finish their 2020 undefeated when they take on Liberty in the Cure Bowl?

The Vegas bookmakers opened Coastal Carolina as a 4 pt fav and that line has moved as high as 7 points at Wynnbet and up to -7.5 at William Hill.

What a season Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall (2,170 yards, 23 touchdowns, two interceptions; 473 rushing yards) in 2020.

Tonight’s 7:30 showdown is a ‘rematch’ of an earlier meeting between Liberty and CCU scheduled for December 5 that was canceled due to COVID-
related issues affecting the Flames. On a side not Coastal is in their 1st bowl game since joining the FBS.

Stats and Trends

No. 9 Coastal Carolina (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt)

  • Coastal Carolina is on a 12-game winning streak, dating back to last season, which is tied with No.1 Alabama for the longest current winning streak in the nation.
  • The Chanticleers’ 11-0 season is the first unbeaten season in program history and best-ever in Sun Belt Conference history.
  • Coastal Carolina posted two Top-25 wins on the season, including a Top-10 victory over then-No. 8 BYU, 22-17, on Dec. 5 and at then-No. 21 Louisiana, 30-27, on Oct. 27.
  • This is the first season that the Chanticleers have been ranked nationally in both the AP Top 25 and Amy Coaches Polls.
  • In only its fourth year as a full-time FBS member, Coastal Carolina won the Sun Belt Conference Championship for the first time in program history.
  • The Chanticleer’s offense ranks No. 15 nationally in rushing (223.2 yards per game) led by CJ Marable with 844 yards and 12 touchdown. Six trips to the endzone each have been registered by Grayson McCall and Reese White, along with over 450 yards on the ground.
  • Quarterback Grayson McCall has tallied 2,170 yards through the air and 23 touchdowns.
  • The Chanticleers’ defense is paced by Kelly Silas and Teddy Gallagher with 72 and 71 tackles, respectively. A team-high 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss have been tallied by Tarron Jackson, while five interceptions have been caught by D’Jordon Morris.

No. 23 Liberty Flames (9-1)

  • Liberty won its first eight games, including victories over Syracuse and Virginia Tech, to earn the best start in school history before a tough 15-14 setback at NC State. The potential game-winning field goal for the Flames was blocked with 1:18 left in the game.
  • The Flames are in their second full season at the FBS level and are currently ranked No. 23 in the AP and Amway Coaches Polls. Liberty’s first Top-25 ranking came on Nov. 1 (No. 25 in the AP poll) and rose to No. 21 in the Amway Coaches Poll.
  • Liberty’s offense ranks No. 15 in total offense(483.5 yards per game) and No. 8 in the country in rushing offense (252.1 yards per game).
  • Former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis paces the Flames offense with 2,040 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has found 11 different receivers for touchdowns, including multiple hookups with eight times.
  • Willis was included in the 2020 Davey O’Brien Award Quarterback Class of 2020 listing and ranks No. in the nation in rushing years by a quarterback (807 yards) in 2020.
  • The defense is let by Javon Scruggs with 61 tackles and two forced fumbles. A team-best 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks has been compiled by Durrell Johnson, while a pair of interceptions have been grabbed by Anthony Butler.

From a statistical standpoint, these teams couldn’t be more evenly matched.Liberty’s high-powered offense going up against Coastal Carolina’s swarming defense. With Covid lingering among the Flames, and a possibility QB Willis will not play I’ll lay the points, give me the Black Swarm Chanticleers even with the line move.

In a year that non of us thought we’d be walking around wearing masked and social distancing to the point of “almost no return” we should always be reminded of the phrase “never say never”. The phrase holds well here because here is a team that was picked at the beginning of the season to
finish dead last in the Sun Belt East and they are on the verge of completing an undefeated season this coming Saturday.

Projected Score: Coastal Carolina 40, Liberty 24

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