CSU Victorious in Homecoming Battle with VMI, 31-21November 1, 2008
By CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Southern defense held VMI (3-5, 1-2) to their third-lowest offensive performance of the day and forced three turnovers, Saturday, propelling CSU to a 31-21 victory on Homecoming. The offense did their part with their best performance of the season, racking up 431 total yards including a season-high 188 on the ground in the victory.
Tribble Reese returned to form as CSU (4-5, 2-2) returned home for the first time since Oct. 4. Reese completed 19-25 pass attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Gerald Stevenson hauled in seven catches for 71 yards to lead all receivers, but it was Tyrese Harris and Antwan Iven who found the endzone. Reese and B.J. Hackworth rushed for the other two CSU scores. Stevenson added 80 yards on seven carries, as he had 174 all purpose yards, the third most this season.
Defensively Darius Gaither and Greg Tompkins each had nine tackles, while the defense got into the backfield for seven tackles for loss, including two sacks—both by Jake Killeen. Josh Mitchell, Matt Bach, C.J. Lee and Justin Witzmann all popped the ball loose from the Keydet offense, with CSU recovering three of the fumbles.
VMI attempted just seven passes all game, with four of them coming in the final drive. Howard Abegesah led all rushers with 102 total yards on 12 carries, while Tim Maypray lined up under center to start the game and recorded 16 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown. Justin Hickman entered the game late and completed three of his six pass attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown on a 53-yard strike to Zack Collins.
In what many had planned to be an offensive shoot out, VMI looked to have an early advantage as they stopped the Bucs’ first drive and responded with a five-play, 60-yard drive to take an early 7-0 lead.
In front of their largest home crowd of the season, CSU responded going 66 yards in six plays to tie it up. With under a minute to go in the first quarter, Reese’s pass was intercepted by Tyler Reedy and returned 50 yards for a touchdown.
John Paglia cut into the lead with a 21-yard field goal after a Keydet defensive stop kept the Bucs out of the endzone after a 39-yard rush by Stevenson made it first-and-goal on the two yardline.
Playing the field possession game paid huge dividends for CSU at the end of the half. Freshman punter Andy Brown boomed a 40-yard kick down to the VMI one yardline with 1:06 to go. On the first play from scrimmage, Maypray surged forward trying to get out of the shadow of their own endzone. Bach put his helmet on the football, knocking it loose and giving it back to CSU on the VMI three.
Reese stretched the ball out on second down, crossing the goal line to give CSU the 17-14 halftime lead. It was a lead that CSU would not relinquish as they added two it midway through the third quarter.
Another fumble, this time by Bobby Epps, was recovered by Josh Warrior to give CSU the ball back at midfield. It took just one play for Reese to find a wide open Ivey for the 50-yard touchdown connection as the Bucs distanced themselves from the Keydets.
VMI did not go quietly, using just two plays, including a 53-yard pass to Collins as they scored on their first drive in the fourth quarter.
Knowing the lead was not safe, Head Coach Jay Mills and Reese put together a 10-play, 56 yard drive that chewed up more than five minutes off the clock. The drive culminated in a Hackworth touchdown from five yards out, the first of his career.
The victory keeps CSU perfect at home on the season (3-0), a record that will be put to the test each of the next two weeks, including a Nov. 8 date with Presbyterian. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Buccaneer Field. Related Item: Box Score