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Virginia Football Opponent Preview: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

The Chants will be making their first appearance in Charlottesville in 2022 and coming off a series of impressive years.

NCAA Football: Cure Bowl-Northern Illinois at Coastal Carolina Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Belt squad from Coastal Carolina will be making its first appearance in Charlottesville when the Chanticleers take on the Virginia Cavaliers for the first time in program history. They’re coming off an impressive 2021 season and will be looking to run it back with similar success in 2022.

2021 Recap

Record: 11-2, 6-2 in the Sun Belt

Postseason: win 47-41 vs. Northern Illinois in the Cure Bowl

After a 2020 season that saw the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers go 11-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Liberty in the Cure Bowl, the Chants saw similar success in 2021. Though they didn’t go undefeated in the regular season, their only losses came at the hands of the Sun Belt East Division Champion, Appalachian State, and Georgia State.

The Chants would start off the season 7-0 and climbing to a No. 14 ranking before falling to App State 27-30 in Boone. They would roll off two more victories before losing at home to Georgia State to ensure they would not win the Sun Belt East Division.

They were lead in large part by QB Grayson McCall who set an FBS record for a single-season passer rating with a 207.6 rating. He weighed his NFL options, but ultimately decided to return in 2022 as a redshirt Junior.

2022 Preview

Key returners: QB Grayson McCall, DE/OLB Josaiah Stewart, RB Braydon Bennett, OL Willie Lampkin, RB Reese White, DL Jerrold Clark, CB D’Jordan Strong

Key departures: WR Jaivon Heiligh, TE Isaiah Likely, RB Shermari Jones, DT CJ Brewer, PK Massimo Biscardi

Key new faces: WR Sam Pinckney (Georgia State)

As a redshirt Sophomore, QB Grayson McCall surprised many and vaulted to a spot as one of the top QBs in the country. Head Coach Jamey Chadwell has done an impressive job building Coastal into not just a team but a year in and year out program with a lot of help from McCall.

Unfortunately, the offense lost a lot of offensive weapons from their 2021 squad so McCall will be looking at somewhat new faces. They lost more than a few threats to graduation and the NFL, but they should have big play ability thanks to their veteran offensive line. RB Braydon Bennett is the leading returning receiver with 24 receptions last season, but nobody else returning caught more than six. It will truly be up to McCall to gel with these new faces and keep the offense at a high level.

McCall will get most of the headlines, but DE/OLB Josaiah Stewart could be the best player in the program. The sophomore had an amazing freshman season totaling 43 tackles, 13 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 16 tackles for loss. Chadwell’s most impressive recruiting victory could be keeping Stewart out of the transfer portal. Like the offense, the defense also saw a lot of talent leave leaving a somewhat new linebacking corp and corners featuring backup and role players from 2021 who will now see increased responsibilities.

Series History

UVA’s all-time record vs Coastal: 0-0

Obviously not much history here. The 2022 game with the Cavaliers will be Coastal’s first ACC game since 2009 when they were still an FCS team in the Big South and traveled to Clemson. It will be Coastal’s first road game at a Power Five conference opponent since they played Kansas in 2020.