The 2022 Birmingham Bowl features the 9-3 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers against the 7-5 East Carolina Pirates. Here is the 2022 Birmingham Bowl preview.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (9-3)
Coastal Carolina won nine games to make their third straight bowl game. They won games against Southern Miss, Appalachian State, Marshall, Georgia Southern and Buffalo, who all made bowl games. The Chanticleers lost one game to a team below .500: Old Dominion. Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell left the job to take the position at Liberty.
The offense scores 29.1 points per game, ranking them 60th in the country. They average 249 passing yards (ranked 51st) and 162.2 rushing yards per game (ranked 58th).
Star quarterback Grayson McCall is in the transfer portal and backup Jarrett Guest is suspended. That leaves Bryce Carpenter as the expected starter. He has passed for 53 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on 66 percent completion. Three receivers have over 450 receiving yards on the season. The leading receiver is Sam Pinckney, who has 67 receptions for 917 yards and three touchdowns.
Two running backs have burdened the load for the Chanticleers this season. CJ Beasley rushed for 704 yards and four touchdowns, while Reese White has 487 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Chanticleers give up 30.1 points per game, which is 101st in the country. They allow 282 passing yards (tied for 124th) and 130.3 rushing yards per game (ranked 38th). Linebacker JT Klein leads the team with 90 total tackles. Adrian Hope has a team-high 6.5 sacks. Lance Boykin has been great in the secondary with seven passes defended and two interceptions.
East Carolina Pirates (7-5)
East Carolina won seven games, which qualified them for their second-straight bowl game. They have three wins over bowl-eligible teams: Memphis, UCF and BYU. Their loss to Navy was the only one to a team that didn’t make a bowl game.
The Pirates score 30.8 points per game, which is tied for 47th in the FBS. They pass for 288.5 yards (ranked 16th) and rush for 170.5 yards per game (ranked 55th).
Holton Ahlers has been a tremendous quarterback for the Pirates over his career. This season, he has 3,408 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions on 67.1 percent completion. Five players have at least 200 receiving yards this season. Isaiah Winstead leads the team in receiving with 82 catches for 1,013 yards and four touchdowns. C.J. Johnson has also played well with 60 receptions for 933 yards and nine touchdowns.
Three players have at least 200 rushing yards this season. Keaton Mitchell has been the workhorse back with 1,325 yards and 13 touchdowns. Marion Gunn Jr. and Rahjai Harris have helped with 344 and 238 rushing yards respectively.
Their defense concedes 27 points per game, tying them for 72nd in the FBS. They allow 298.5 passing yards (ranked last) and 111.4 rushing yards per game (ranked 18th). Safety Julius Wood leads the team with 82 tackles. The team-leader in sacks is Jeremy Lewis with 3.5. Cornerback Malik Flemming has shown ball skills with six passes defended and three interceptions.
With Coastal Carolina being without their coach and a few quarterbacks, it will be hard for them to keep up with East Carolina. The Pirates will score a ton and win by at least a touchdown.
East Carolina Pirates 38 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 21
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