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South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina: Preview, game notes and more

Game 1 is almost upon us.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Michigan vs South Carolina Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Saturday, September 1, 2018 | noon ET

All-time series: South Carolina leads, 1-0

What to know about Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Probably the first thing you should know about the Chants: They aren’t in FCS anymore. Last year was Coastal’s first in FBS as they joined the Sun Belt Conference and - as you might expect - struggled to a 3-9 finish. Part of it was the fact that they were stepping up in weight class, and part of it was because head coach Joe Moglia (the chairman and former president of TD Ameritrade. Yes, this is true) stepped aside for the season due to health issues; he was spelled by offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell, who led Charleston Southern to back-to-back FCS playoff appearances. (By the way, Coastal’s defensive coordinator, Mickey Matthews, was the former head coach at James Madison, leading them to a national championship in 2004 and a semifinal finish in 2008. So Moglia’s staff has more than a little pull.)

The book on Coastal: they might take a little bit to break through and match what conference mate Appalachian State has done in its short time in the top division. But if Moglia’s track record is any indication, once a few FBS classes get into the mix in Conway, don’t be surprised to see the Chants bowling more times then not.

By the way, Joe Moglia has made over $150 million in his business career.

Names to know on offense

With starting quarterback Tyler Keane graduated, the reins will be passed to fifth-year season Kilton Anderson. The Naples, Fla. native’s story is long and winding: he started out at Fresno State in 2014 (he attended high school near Seattle) where he redshirted his first year before starting five times in 2015. After transferring to New Mexico Military Institute, he eventually ended up in Conway, where he started the final three games of 2017. He’ll have senior and third-team all-SBC wideout Malcolm Williams (43 catches, 793 yards, 7 TDs) and junior Ky’Jon Tyler (23 catches, 313 yards, 2 TDs) among his primary targets.

Running back saw the leading rusher from last season - all-name team member Osharmar Abercrombie (140 carries, 724 yards, 7 TDs) - graduate, so the primary honors will fall to senior Marcus Outlow and sophomore Alex James. Outlow, a former Boston College player, ran for 279 yards and 1 touchdown last year, while James (274 yards and 4 touchdowns) will hope that his first year is foreshadowing of a solid career down on the beach.

Names to know on defense

Some key players to note on defense is senior Fitz Wattley, the team’s returning tackler with 82 and its interceptions leader with 3, and classmate Anthony Chesley (55 tackles, 8 passes defended at corner last year). Coastal also has a very good linebacker in Silas Kelly, who recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss and 75 tackles as a freshman last season. That’s not bad.

One thing the Chants didn’t do a whole lot of in 2017: getting to the quarterback - just 16 sacks, last in the Sun Belt. Only a handful of teams nationally had less than that.

Prognosis: South Carolina should win this game

The last time these two teams met - their first-ever meeting, in fact - was on November 23, 2013, a 70-10 final that saw the Gamecocks blow the Chants right out of the building. While I’m not going to say Carolina by 60 on Saturday, but they’re favored by over four touchdowns, so this should be an easy win for them to extend their opening game streak to four in a row. Right?