Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/Coastal Carolina Game

Dec 5, 2020, 6:59 AM | Updated: 11:04 am
BYU - Coastal Carolina - Zach Wilson - Grayson McCall...
BYU QB Zach Wilson and Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images)
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – No. 13 BYU made the cross country trek to face No. 18 Coastal Carolina on short notice to put together a battle of the unbeatens. Kickoff between BYU and Coastal Carolina is set for Saturday, December 5th, at 3:30 p.m. (MT).

The game will be played at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina, in front of 5,000 attendees.

Both BYU and Coastal Carolina come into the game with undefeated 9-0 records. This is the first game in the College Football Playoff era (since 2014) that features a pair of teams with undefeated records with at least nine wins.

BYU/Coastal Carolina Storylines

This matchup is historic in the fact that it came together this past Thursday morning. We haven’t had to wait long to see this game played out on the field. It highlights the significance of having College GameDay on location. Coastal Carolina did not want to lose that three-hour infomercial of its campus, and BYU desperately wanted another game to improve its resume to have a chance at going to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Here are three storylines going into Saturday’s undefeated matchup between BYU/Coastal Carolina that could determine the winner.

#1 Zach Wilson vs. Grayson McCall

BYU and Coastal Carolina is a fun matchup when you look at how the game came together. Then it gets even more exciting with the quality of quarterbacks that will be leading both teams. BYU junior Zach Wilson is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, and this might be his biggest stage to make a “Heisman moment” to improve his case.

On the other side, Coastal Carolina is led by redshirt freshman Grayson McCall who leads the Chanticleers “spread option” attack.

Both players rarely make mistakes through the air as Wilson has tossed only two interceptions and McCall only one.

Wilson has led one of the most explosive offenses in college football this year. If Wilson and BYU continue that explosive level of play they’ve shown this entire year, it could be a long day for Coastal, and it will put a lot of pressure on McCall to keep up.

McCall appears to be up for the challenge. He wasn’t happy seeing his Chanticleers listed as a double-digit underdog against the Cougars.

Both quarterbacks are Davey O’Brien Award official candidates, and each take on the biggest stage either has experienced in their careers.

#2 Which team plays the cleaner game?

Neither team, as of Wednesday morning, was planning on preparing for one another. The game was put together in short order, so there hasn’t been much time to install game plans for the opponent. Avoiding penalties could be an important component in this game. Which squad will be able to avoid the sloppy play?

Both BYU and Coastal Carolina have done a great job this year in avoiding penalties. Coastal Carolina is No. 2 in the country in penalties per game, and BYU is 11th.

#3 Capitalize on takeaways

The Cougars and Chanticleers are two of the best teams in turnover margin this season. BYU is (+9), while the Chanticleers are (+8). If they force takeaways against teams that rarely cough up the football, the key for either team will be to capitalize on the takeaways and score points.

BYU opponents have only scored once on one of the six turnovers the Cougars have given up this season. Zach Wilson and BYU’s high-powered offense have scored 35 points off turnovers in 2020.

If one of these teams gets a takeaway, they will need to make sure to get points and take advantage of that opportunity, especially for Coastal Carolina, who comes into the game as a double-digit underdog.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/Coastal Carolina Game