WHO: Coastal Carolina (11-2) at No. 8 Montana (10-2)
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Missoula, Montana
WHO: Furman (8-5) at No. 1 North Dakota State (11-0)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Fargodome, Fargo, N.D.
Chicken soup is good for the soul, they say. It might also be good for the core body temperature of Coastal Carolina football players this weekend.
Serving soup in the locker room during today's FCS playoff game at Montana is just one of the steps Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia is contemplating to combat the cold expected at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
Forecasts for the 2 p.m. (noon Mountain Time) quarterfinal playoff game call for a high of 6 degrees (and a low of -4) with a 10 percent chance of snow.
What's it like to play football in that kind of cold?
Montana running back Jordan Canada explained to reporters this week.
"Your hands and arms get numb, so you have to focus a little bit more on it," said Canada. "You can't feel the ball in your arms if it's really cold. One play, your hand or arm goes numb, and the next play you might not necessarily be aware of the ball."
Moglia, whose Chanticleers departed from Myrtle Beach on a charter flight Thursday - when temperatures on the Grand Strand reached a balmy 77 degrees - is well aware of the challenge.
"We're kidding ourselves if we make believe we're going to acclimate to the cold weather in 48 hours," he said this week. "It takes weeks to do it right. Hopefully, we're going to have a good heating system on the sideline."
The 11-2 Chants are doing what they can to get ready. Moglia will have his strength coach give the players a clinic on preventing heat loss, and the team is using cold footballs in practice. The school has purchased extra cold-weather gear, and the team is leaving early enough to hold a couple of practices in Missoula.
"Any piece of fabric we have in the equipment room, we're bringing it with us," said sports information director Mike Cawood.
Montana will provide two sideline heaters, but Coastal Carolina is bringing some extra firepower. Moglia's even talked about having chicken soup in the locker room at halftime.
"At the end of the day, it's about understanding that you don't want to lose your body heat," he said. "If we're able do that . I mean, it's going to be cold, we know that, but we have to be able to handle it."
The Montana Grizzlies are 10-2 with a proud history in the FCS playoffs - championship game appearances in 2004, 2008 and 2009 and national titles in 1995 and 2001.
And Montana players love the idea that the weather gives them a home-tundra advantage.
"We look forward to it," defensive end Zach Wagenmann told reporters. "I know some of the guys on defense don't mind it when the running backs get a really cold, hard ball and have to run into any one of our three linebackers. Bring on the cold - fine by us."
Montana has won seven straight home playoff games and nine of its last 11. Dating back to 1989, the Grizzlies have won 19 of 20 home playoff games against a team from the South.
But the Chanticleers don't have to look too far to find inspiration. Wofford, from sunny Spartanburg, went to Montana in 2007 and came away with a 23-22 victory.
It was 13 degrees that day.
Coastal Carolina plays Saturday at Montana’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium, where the Grizzlies have won seven straight FCS playoff games. (Montana Sports Information)×
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