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22.12.2023

Hawaii Bowl Game Preview and Pick: San Jose State Hangs Crooked Number

For the past few seasons, Coastal Carolina has been one of the bigger stories in college football and has become one of the better G5 teams in the country. Unfortunately for the Chanticleers faithful, the primary people who led the team into the spotlight are no longer members of the team.

The new-look Chanticleers will play in the final bowl game of the night on Saturday when they take on San Jose State in the Hawaii Bowl, and with portal opt-outs stacking up, it’s shaping up to be a big night for the Spartans offense.

Game Preview

Grayson McCall has been the face of the Coastal Carolina program for the past few seasons, and after dealing with an injury-filled 2023, he entered the portal and committed to NC State. Joining him in the portal would be the team’s backup quarterback, which means third-stringer Ethan Vasko will be under center tonight to lead a Chanticleers offense that was 78th in success rate this season.

In seven games of action and 89 pass attempts, Vasko threw for 580 yards and four touchdowns. Vasko will be without the team’s second-leading receiver, Jared Brown, tonight, also due to the transfer portal, so most of the passing game will likely be tailored towards Sam Pinckney, who led the team with 904 yards and seven touchdowns.

Due to a below-average running game that ranked 96th in EPA per play, the Chanticleers will enter tonight averaging 24.5 points per game, but their biggest concern in this matchup will be trying to stop the Spartans' offense. Under Chevan Cordeiro and his 19 passing touchdowns, the Spartans' offense averaged 31 points and 399.2 yards per game, which led to the 34th-best success rate in the country.

Through their offensive abilities, the Spartans managed to win six straight games to end the season. Still, they also took some punches from the transfer portal, losing left tackle Fernando Carmona and tight end Dominick Mazotti. While those losses hurt, the positive is that SJSU still has their stand-out running back, Kairee Robinson, who ran for 1,124 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Much like the Chanticleers, the Spartans' biggest question mark on their team is their defense. By allowing an average of 27.8 points per game, San Jose State was 86th in defensive success rate and ranked 121st or worse in EPA per run and pass plays.

Pick for the Game

San Jose State’s team total is currently set at 29.5 on DraftKings, and I’ll be taking the over for my play at (-125). Due to South Carolina sports betting legislation, in-state Chanticleers fans won’t be able to fade my pick against their team. The Spartans cleared this number in five of their last six games, and now they take on a Coastal Carolina team that struggles mightily to stop the run. Coastal was 101st in defensive success rate and 116th in EPA on run plays.

Not to mention, Coastal will also be without starting linebacker JT Killen, so Kairee Robinson should have a field day against the Chanticleers’ runs defense. San Jose State’s offense, in general, was incredibly efficient this season, ranking 35th in EPA and 21st in third down conversion percentage.

Extending drives will be a significant factor on Saturday night since Coastal ranked 103rd in opponent third down conversion percentage. With Coastal unable to get off the field, Chevan Cordeiro will have more opportunities to attack a Chanticleers secondary that was 83rd in success rate this season. Between the air and the ground, the Spartans look to be in good shape to run up the score Saturday night in Hawaii.

Recap

  • San Jose State Team Total Over 29.5 (-125) on DraftKings *odds subject to change

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