The college football bowl season kicks off Friday with two games, including the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers hook up with the Northern Illinois Huskies, champions of the MAC, in a battle between two of the Group of Five’s best programs this season.
Northern Illinois is also one of the year’s biggest surprises. The Huskies went 0-6 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Thomas Hammock’s second year in charge, but rebounded to go 9-4 this season and 6-2 in conference play. They knocked off Kent State in the MAC Championship Game to win their first conference title since 2018 and fifth since 2011. The Huskies rode a prolific rushing attack to their conference title, as they rank fifth nationally in rushing yards per game at 234.2.
Right behind them in sixth? The Chanticleers. Coastal rushed for 231.3 yards per game and finished the regular season with a 10-2 record. Unfortunately for Jamey Chadwell’s program, their 6-2 record in the Sun Belt wasn’t good enough to win the East Division, as one of those two losses was to Appalachian State, which finished 7-1 in conference play.
Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois: Need to know
Grayson McCall is one of the most exciting players in the country: The Chanticleers might be a run-first team, but don’t get confused and think it means they aren’t capable of throwing the ball. Quarterback Grayson McCall helps out in the run game (250 yards, four touchdowns), but his ability as a passer is what makes the Coastal offense so hard to stop. While McCall doesn’t have the overall gaudy passing numbers, his passer efficiency rating of 207.95 was the best in the nation among qualified QBs, and not by a narrow margin. Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud finished second at 182.24. McCall…