petey1Liberty (7-4, 3-1) takes on Coastal Carolina (11-0, 4-0) in the de facto Big South Championship Game. The winner gets the conference’s automatic bid to the playoffs. Kickoff is slated for 1pm. Coastal has a narrow edge in the series history, 6-5, and has won the past two meetings.

Why Coastal Carolina can win this game

The Chants are at home. They are 4-1 all-time against Liberty at home. The only time they loss was in 2008 when the Flames had this guy named Rashad Jennings. Coastal is also in the midst of a 13 game home win streak. Their last home loss was October 13, 2012 against Stony Brook. They are 14-2 at home under 3rd year head coach Joe Moglia.

Coastal has been dominant against FCS competition recently. The Chanticleers have won 12 straight regular season FCS games by an average score of 40.5-18.1. They are 29-3 in their last 32 FCS games. Not to mention their #1 national ranking.

With the exception of the CSU game, Liberty’s 3 losses have come at the hands of some of the best passing offenses in the country. North Carolina throws for 289 yards a game. Richmond is the 9th best passing team in FCS with 309 yards per game. Indiana State is 25th best in FCS with 260 yards per game. All 3 had success passing against Liberty’s young secondary. Coastal is the best passing offense in the Big South and 19th best in FCS.

Why Liberty can win this game

Will Masha be called on again?

Josh Woodrum will play. No, that’s not a fact as Gill lists him as “questionable to probable,” but if he plays, Liberty has an excellent chance to win.

The Flames have had this game on their mind all season. Coach Gill admitted as much in his press conference earlier this week. Now Liberty just has to go out and get the job done.

It’s time. Liberty is due. For the better part of the past decade, the Flames have come up 1 game short of the FCS playoffs. Won’t the ball bounce their way this time? Won’t they win when everything is on the line? Won’t they get over the hump this year?

X-Factor for this game

Josh Woodrum.

That’s the biggest storyline this week, right? If he is close to 100% and plays, Liberty has an excellent chance to win. If he’s not, it will be very difficult with redshirt freshman Stephon Masha. Masha has the ability, but to expect him to go on the road and beat the #1 team in the country in just his 2nd start is a bit much.

Score prediction
Coastal Carolina 34 Liberty 30