NCAA Football: Appalachian State at Georgia State

Nov 16, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott shown on the sidelines during the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first quarter at Georgia State Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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Attention is nice for No. 20 Coastal Carolina, but it doesn't make it any easier for the Chanticleers.

Now residing for a second week in the national rankings in college football's top level, Coastal Carolina heads on the road for a Sun Belt Conference matchup against Georgia State on Saturday afternoon at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta.

"When you get ranked, all the eyes are on you," Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell said. "You never want to be that team that gets their one shot (and falters), and you don't want to be a flash in the pan."

Coastal Carolina (5-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) passed its first test as a ranked team behind a backup quarterback and a solid defense to defeat visiting Georgia Southern 28-14 last week.

Fred Payton filled in for injured quarterback Grayson McCall and got things going at the right times. Chadwell said it might be unclear until the end of the week if McCall (upper-body injury) will play against Georgia State.

The coach said it's not worth using McCall if he's operating at only 70 or 80 percent. Chadwell said Wednesday he was "cautiously optimistic" McCall will be available.

"(McCall) has still not been able to practice in a full capacity yet so we're cautiously optimistic that's going to happen but also preparing like it's not," Chadwell said. "Whoever plays will be ready to go this Saturday."

Payton, a junior, holds experience as a starter in six 2019 games before last week's assignment. Payton threw for three touchdowns and two interceptions in the Georgia Southern game.

"Fred has won some games for us," Chadwell said. "When you have a new guy back there (compared to earlier in the season), maybe he does some things a little bit differently. ... Calling plays, I've got to make sure I'm calling plays that make Fred the most comfortable."

The Chanticleers, who already have matched win totals from each of the past two seasons, have their most consecutive victories in the same season in the program's brief Football Bowl Subdivision history. This is the first time they've won more than two league games in their four seasons in the Sun Belt.

Coastal Carolina has picked up road victories this season against Kansas and No. 21 Louisiana.

The visiting team has won all three meetings in the Coastal Carolina-Georgia State series. Georgia State won 31-21 last year at Coastal Carolina.

"We've got a really good Coastal Carolina team coming in here," Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott said. "Coach Chadwell and his staff do a great job. They've got a very creative scheme on the offensive side, and defensively, I think they're one of the best in our league."

Georgia State (2-2, 1-2) is trying to build off last week's 36-34 victory at Troy. The Panthers suffered a 34-31 overtime setback to then-No. 19 Louisiana earlier this season.

"We've come to expect that around here," Elliott said of down-to-the-wire finishes.

The Panthers have scored at least 30 points in every game this season. Quarterback Cornelious Brown IV is second in total offense in the Sun Belt with 275.8 yards per game, trailing only McCall. Brown, a redshirt freshman, has thrown for nine touchdowns, with four interceptions.

Georgia State linebacker Jordan Strachan is the reigning Defensive Player of the Week in the Sun Belt based on 2 1/2 sacks and two fumble recoveries at Troy.

--Field Level Media

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This article originally ran on gwinnettprepsports.com.

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