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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas State Coach Blake Anderson said there’s a playoff mentality to today’s game against Coastal Carolina. “We want to do everything we can in case a game drops and we back our way into the championship game,” Anderson said. “We want to make sure we’re bowl eligible and we don’t get left at home. Only way to do that is to win every week.” - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Arkansas State University's seven consecutive bowl appearances are the longest active streak by a Sun Belt Conference team.

A win today at Coastal Carolina would make it eight, but the Red Wolves (5-4, 2-3) must do something they haven't done this season: Win a road conference game.

"It's playoff mentality, win or go home," said Coach Blake Anderson. "We want to be 8-4. We want to do everything we can in case a game drops and we back our way into the championship game. We want to make sure we're bowl eligible and we don't get left at home. Only way to do that is to win every week."

Coastal Carolina (5-4, 2-3) also can earn bowl eligibility with a victory in their first full season as a Football Bowl Subdivision program.

"If the kids and the coaches are talking about it, they're not talking about it in front of me," said Coastal Carolina Coach Joe Moglia on the Sun Belt media teleconference Monday. "It's not something that I've spoken to the team about at any point in time. The media brings it up all the time and fans bring it up and the time. But the reality is, everybody across the entire FBS nation wants to be able to go to a bowl game."

Today will be Coastal Carolina's second leg of a daunting three-game homestand at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C., after a 23-7 loss to Appalachian State and before next week against Georgia Southern.

"Appalachian State is an excellent team," Moglia said. "When you look at Arkansas State, so are they. When you look at Georgia Southern, so are they. They're the ones that beat App. [State]. We recognize we have our work cut out for us."

The Red Wolves are fifth in both scoring offense (30.3 points per game) and scoring defense (30.8 points allowed) through nine games. The Chanticleers are sixth in both categories at 28.8 and 31.3 points.

The Chanticleers run a Spread-Option attack, but there is more to it. ASU senior nickel back Justin Clifton said there is plenty of "eye candy" and pre-snap motion, which can cause confusion.

"Yeah, it's just unique," Anderson said. "They do something that's really different ... They'll try to keep you distracted."

Coastal Carolina -- which was held scoreless last Saturday against Appalachian State and gained 178 yards, both season lows -- is third in rushing offense at 231.7 yards per game behind Georgia Southern's 260.4 and Appalachian State's 252.1.

"We've seen Option teams, like Georgia Southern, but this is its own deal," Anderson said.

Today marks ASU's first of two road games to end the regular season.

After the Red Wolves' trip to South Carolina, they will return home next Saturday to host Louisiana-Monroe in a matchup that could decide a West Division champion. They will then travel to Texas State on Nov. 24.

"You never know what's going to happen week to week," Clifton said. "We've got to win every game."

Sports on 11/10/2018

Print Headline: Bowl status on line for ASU, opponent

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