FACTS & STATS: Site: Brooks Stadium (9,214) – Conway, South Carolina.
Surface: Grass. Television: ESPN3.com. Announcers: Brock Bowling, Mickey
Matthews. Home Record: Richmond 5-2; Coastal Carolina 4-1. Road Record:
Richmond 4-2; Coastal Carolina 7-0. Conference: Richmond – Colonial Athletic
Association; Coastal Carolina – Big South. Series Record: Richmond (1-0). Last
meeting: Oct. 2, 2010 (Richmond, 41-19 at Richmond). Nicknames: Richmond
Spiders; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. FCS Playoff Seeds: Richmond – Not
seeded; Coastal Carolina (7th). Head Coaches: Richmond – Danny Rocco (3rd
season, 23-13 at Richmond; 9th season, 80-33 overall); Coastal Carolina – Joe
Moglia (3rd season, 32-8 at Coastal Carolina and overall). Playoff Records:
Richmond (11-7); Coastal Carolina (3-4). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances:
Richmond 8 (1984, 1987, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007-09, 1 National Championship,
2008); Coastal Carolina 4 (2006, 2010, 2012, 2013). Playoff Streak: Richmond
has won six of its last seven FCS playoff games; Coastal Carolina has won three
of its last five FCS playoff games.
GAME NOTES: In a strong season for the Big South, it was a good sign for
Coastal Carolina that Liberty won in the first round at a former national
champion from the CAA, James Madison. The Chanticleers are at home against the
2008 national champion out of the CAA and are anxious to rebound from their
only loss – to Liberty to end the regular season.
Richmond, which beat Liberty in two overtimes back in early October, was in
control of Morgan State at home in the first round, winning, 46-24, as Michael
Strauss threw two of his four touchdown passes to wide receiver Reggie Diggs
and running back Seth Fisher scored three times to push his CAA-high touchdown
total to 16.
The Spiders had a 4-2 advantage in turnover margin against Morgan State.
That’s pivotal. They are plus-4 in their wins, yet a brutal minus-16 in
Richmond has the tendency of starting games well, outscoring opponents,
129-43, in the first quarter. The Spiders are the best in the nation on
converting third down attempts (54 percent) and fourth down attempts (81.8).
The Spiders face a challenge in slowing Coastal’s offense, which averages
468.1 yards and 37.8 points per game. The effectiveness of defensive end
Justin Williamson and defensive tackle Evan Kelly – who have a oombined 13
sacks – often goes a long way in allowing the back end of the defense to be
aggressive and opportunistic.
Coastal is 3-4 all-time against CAA opponents, and each win is at Brooks
Stadium. All quarterback Alex Ross seems to do is win games, especially at
home. He makes good, quick decisions for the Chanticleers’ offense. The
redshirt junior will be helped immensely by De’Angelo Henderson (Big South-
high 1,257 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns) getting into gear behind a strong
offensive line led by left tackle Chad Hamilton.
Earlier this season, Coastal had a stretch of 13 straight quarters without
allowing a touchdown. Linebacker Quinn Backus had led the Big South in tackles
for three straight season and captured the conference’s defensive player of
the year award each time.
The winner will advance to play either South Dakota State or No. 2 seed North
Dakota State in the national quarterfinals.
PREDICTION: Strauss is the best quarterback Coastal has faced all season and
knows how to win games late. It will be surprising if this matchup isn’t tight
in the fourth quarter. Richmond, 28-24.