If No. 24 Coastal Carolina needed something to get its attention, its first loss of the season did the trick.
Next comes a home game Thursday night against Troy, which will be trying to pull off an upset on its visit to Conway, S.C.
Coastal Carolina (6-1, 2-1 Sun Belt Conference) is no longerunbeaten -- a final-play field goal by Appalachian State dealt the Chanticleers a 30-27 loss last week -- but there's still plenty for the Chanticleers to accomplish.
"We've made a lot of strides over the last six weeks," Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. "Our program is making huge strides to where when we get our foundation right, we have a chance to be in a real special place. What we need is to hopefully start putting that thing in place."
They have lost control their own destiny in the conference's East Division, but if they win out and Appalachian State loses another game, Coastal can still reach the league's championship tilt.
With Troy (4-3, 2-1) showing up this week, the Chanticleers will need to refocus quickly, as the teams have played close games in recent years.
Coastal Carolina prevailed 42-38 last year at Troy after a 36-35 home win in 2019.
"A good opportunity for us," Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. "The last couple of years that game has kind of come down to the wire."
Troy has won consecutive games by a combined six points, with three-point wins against Georgia Southern and Texas State.
"We understand the road gets tougher as the season plays out," Lindsey said.
The Chanticleers probably realize that as well. They had won 11 consecutive Sun Belt Conference games until the showdown with Appalachian State.
Coastal Carolina was held to a season-low 346 yards of total offense while allowing a season-high 575 yards. Despite the outcome, there were encouraging components that Chadwell said bode well overall for the team.
"We played for each other," he said. "We stayed involved in the game all four quarters. We gave ourselves a chance to win."
Troy racked up a season-best 205 rushing yards in its most-recent game, which came Oct. 16 at Texas State. That might be a good formula for this week.
"We made a concerted effort to run it," Lindsey said. "I think when you can do that on the road and you've got a good defense, you're going to have a chance to win some games."
The Trojans are 2-2 in road games.
For the season, Troy has scored on its first possession of a half in 10 of 14 such situations this season. The Trojans could use some big-play moments against Coastal Carolina.
"We've got to find some explosive plays," Lindsey said.
Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall has often sparked big-yardage plays, but against Appalachian State he was under extreme pressure, so shoring up the protection rates among the priorities.
That's perhaps particularly relevant against Troy. Richard Jibunor, who began his career with Auburn, has at least one sack in five consecutive games for the Trojans.
--Field Level Media