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2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl Preview

Houston football players holding TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl trophy after winning the 2021 game. College

TicketSmarter is proud to welcome Coastal Carolina University and East Carolina University to the 2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. This year’s game is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. CT on Dec. 27 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. It will be shown live on ESPN. 

This will be the 16th installment of the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, which is one of 17 college football bowl games operated by ESPN Events. Read on for more information about this game or review the full 2022-23 Bowl Season schedule here.

Scouting Coastal Carolina

This will be the Chanticleers’ third straight postseason bowl game appearance. They posted a 9-3 record in the regular season and won the East Division title with a 6-2 mark in the Sun Belt Conference. Coastal Carolina went to the 2022 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Championship Game and faced Troy University, but fell 45-26 to the Trojans. Troy is headed for the Cure Bowl where the Trojans will face the University of Texas San Antonio (USTA). 

Quarterback Grayson McCall led the Chanticleers with 2,633 yards and 24 touchdowns before sustaining a foot injury in early November. He returned for the game against Troy and should be available for the 2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. This season, he connected with eight receivers including Sam Pinckney and Jared Brown, who recorded 917 and 782 yards, respectively. McCall also added five rushing touchdowns. Running backs JC Beasley and Reese White followed with four each.

Coastal Carolina started the season with a six-game win streak before falling to Old Dominion. One of the Chanticleers best games was a 26-23 victory against LendingTree Bowl-bound Southern Miss on Nov. 12. They scored the game’s first 17 points, but allowed Southern Miss to equalize before the half. Trailing by three points, Coastal Carolina scored on a two-yard run by White to push ahead. It was his second touchdown of the game. 

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Scouting ECU

The Pirates are bowl eligible for the second consecutive season with a 7-5 record. Quarterback Holton Ahlers has passed for a career-best 3,408 yards and 23 touchdowns so far this season and first team All-ACC running back Keaton Mitchell has a personal-record 1,325 yards and 13 touchdowns. East Carolina has held opponents to just 27 points and 111.4 yards on the ground, which ranks 18th in the nation. Coach Mike Houston is in his fourth season at the helm. 

One of the highlights from the regular season was ECU’s 47-45 four-overtime victory against Memphis on Oct. 15. The Pirates faced a 17-point deficit, but scored two quick touchdowns before the end of the first half to cut the lead to three. Mitchell scored his first touchdown with 1:45 left in regulation and then added a touchdown in each period of overtime. Ahlers threw for one and ran for another. 

Photo of crowd at the Birmingham Bowl in 2021.

Protective Stadium

Protective Stadium was built to replace Legion Field as home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham football team. The $200 million stadium opened in October 2021 and seats 45,000 spectators. In addition to UAB football, Protective Stadium also serves as home to the USL Championship team Birmingham Legion FC. The United States Football League (USFL) split games between Protective Stadium and Legion field in 2022 as well. 

The 2021 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl was also played at Protective Stadium. No. 21 Houston defeated Auburn 17-13 in the sold-out contest.

2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl Tickets

With a 9 1/2-point line, this is predicted to be a close game. Get your 2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl tickets now so you do not miss a minute of the action at Protective Stadium.