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The game will kick off at 6:45 p.m. ET on Tonight
CONWAY, S.C. – The Sun Belt Conference East Division Champions in Coastal Carolina (9-3, 6-2 Sun Belt) will take on East Carolina (7-5, 4-4 AAC) out of the American Athletic Conference in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Kickoff is set for 6:45 p.m. ET/5:45 p.m. CT from Protective Stadium.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and carried on the radio at WRNN Hot Talk 99.5 FM.
2022 SBC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS• With the Chanticleers’ 26-23 win over Southern Miss (Nov. 12), Coastal won the Sun Belt Conference East Division title.
• The East Division Championship is the second for the Chanticleers in the last three years (2020 and 2022).
CELEBRATING 20 SEASONS OF COASTAL FOOTBALL• Coastal Carolina is celebrating the football program’s 20th season this year, having kicked off the inaugural season in 2003.
• In 1999, football was approved to be added to Coastal in 2003.
• Almost 8,000 fans packed Brooks Stadium on Sept. 6, 2003, for the inaugural game of the Coastal NCAA I-AA football squad, as CCU used a 97-yard drive to score with seven seconds to play to defeat Newberry 21-14.
ELITE COMPANY• Having won 11 games in each of the last two seasons, CCU was one of just six teams in all of FBS to post back-to-back double-digit win seasons in the last two years (2020 and 2021).
• With a win in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27), the Chants will become one of the few teams to notch three-straight double-digit win seasons over the last three years.
SCOUTING THE ECU PIRATES• The East Carolina Pirates are 7-5 this season and went 4-4 in American Athletic Conference play on the year. One of the Pirates’ wins on the year was a 39-21 victory versus Sun Belt Conference foe Old Dominion on Sept. 10.
• Picked to finish sixth in the 2022 American Athletic Conference Preseason Media Poll, the Pirates won their last contest, a 49-46 win at Temple on Nov. 26.
• East Carolina sophomore running back Keaton Mitchell was named to the 2022 All-American Athletic Conference first team for the second-straight season. He was the first Pirate since Justin Hardy (2012-14) to earn first-team honors in multiple seasons.
• Junior cornerback Malik Fleming and junior wide receiver C.J. Johnson were also tabbed to the second team, while graduate wide receiver Isaiah Winstead earned honorable mention accolades.
• The Pirates’ offense enters the bowl game seventh in the AAC and 47th nationally in scoring at 30.8 points per game. They have done it by averaging 459.0 total yards of offense per game, which is fourth in the American and 24th in all of FBS.
• Leading the way for the offense is quarterback Holton Ahlers, as he has completed 67.1 percent of his passes (289-of-431) for 3,408 yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions. ECU’s 288.5 passing yards per game ranks third in the AAC and 16th nationally.
• Behind Ahlers is the American’s top running back in Mitchell. He leads the team and league with 1,325 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 179 carries. He is averaging 7.4 yards per rush on the year, which is second nationally.
• Six different Pirates have totaled 20 receptions are more this season, led by a team-high 82 catches for 1,013 yards and four touchdowns from Winstead. C.J. Johnson has hauled in 60 receptions for 933 yards and a team-high nine scores, while Ryan Jones has totaled 41 catches for 413 yards and four touchdowns.
• ECU’s defense ranks fifth in the AAC in points allowed this season at 27.0 per game. The Pirates are holding opponents to just 111.4 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks second in the AAC and 18th nationally.
• The defense is led by safety Julius Wood with a team-high 82 tackles, while five other Pirates have totaled 50 tackles or more on the year, led by fellow safety Gerard Stringer’s 63 stops.
FIRST-EVER MEETING WITH THE PIRATES• Coastal Carolina and East Carolina meet for the first time on the gridiron at the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27).
THE AMERICAN• Coastal Carolina will not only play East Carolina for the first time ever at the bowl game, but it will also be the Chanticleers’ first-ever game versus an opponent from The American Athletic Conference.
For complete coverage of CCU football, follow the Chants on social media @CoastalFootball (Twitter), facebook.com/CCUChanticleers (Facebook), @goccusports (Instagram), or visit the official home of Coastal Carolina Athletics at www.GoCCUsports.com.
COURTESY COASTAL CAROLINA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS