Inconsistency Costs Bucs vs. KeydetsOctober 15, 2011
by CSU Sports Information
LEXINGTON, Va. – A promising comeback was cut short by costly errors as the Charleston Southern Buccaneers’ (0-6, 0-1 BSC) inconsistencies cost them the chance to win their Big South season opener and fell to the VMI Keydets (1-5, 1-1 BSC) 21-17 at Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium in Lexington on Saturday.
A brilliant blocked punt was returned for a touchdown to jump start the Bucs’ comeback, but a costly fumble on their next punt, combined with an improperly executed onside kick spelled trouble for CSU as they return home to Charleston still in search of their first win.
The Bucs racked up 278 offensive yards to VMI’s 315. The Keydets outgained them on the ground 149-49 but it was the Bucs who ruled the air with 229 passing yards to VMI’s 166. Each team had one passing touchdown, with VMI adding two rushing touchdowns and CSU picking up a special teams TD.
Quarterback Malcolm Dixon set a career high with 205 passing yards and added in 44 more on the ground. He was 14-of-38 with no interceptions on the day. Mike Davis was the leading wide receiver of the day with 81 receiving yards and another 24 passing yards. Kirby Broome had a 17-yard carry on the day, while Nathan Perera and Estevan Cintron had 60 and 52 receiving yards, respectively.
Kevin Glears had four kickoff returns for a total of 72 yards, but it was Austin Wald who was the special teams hero of the day as he returned a blocked punt 22 yards for the touchdown. Corvaughn Archie was credited with the block. Andy Brown tied his career long with a 43-yard field goal and punted seven times for a total of 247 yards (35.3 yards per punt).
The defense played on of their strongest games thus far, with Chris Kuzdale and Brandan Davis each picking off VMI quarterback Eric Kordenbrook. Chris Kuzdale and Zac Johnston led the way with 12 tackles apiece, while Mike Chocholosek had eleven stops, including a sack. Demarais Freeman also had 11 tackles on the day.
For the Keydets, Chaz Jones had 96 yards rushing on 28 carries and was followed by TJ Talley’s 13 carries for 43 yards. Kordenbrook was 16-of-28 for 166 yards with two interceptions, and his most-targeted receiver, Tracy Hairston, caught four passes for a total of 44 yards. Johnny Wimbish’s nine stops led the Keydet defense, as eight different Keydets recorded at least 0.5 tackles for loss. Logan Staib was abe to record the lone sack of Dixon on the day for a loss of three yards.
The Bucs, who received the ball to start the game, picked up the first down with a ten yard run by Dixon early on but couldn’t make it past midfield and were forced to punt. The CSU defense stood tall on the first VMI possession, giving up just one first down before forcing the Keydets to punt. The drive marked the first time all season the Bucs were able to stop their opponent from scoring on their first possession.
Going three-and-out on their next possession, the Bucs punted the ball back to the Keydets with 8:29 to go in the first. A short punt gave the Keydets great field position, as they took over on the CSU 29 and moved up to the 25 with a holding penalty on the Bucs. A 13-yard gain by Chaz Jones gave VMI the first down before a ten-yard run by Jones brought up first-and-goal at the CSU 1-yard line. Jones was able to finish off the drive for the touchdown, giving the Keydets a 7-0 lead after a successful PAT by Sexton with 6:22 to go.
Both teams struggled on special teams, with back-to-back punts fumbled to start the second quarter. Neither team picked up a first down on their two possessions, and the Keydets would fumble another punt but recovered it themselves at their own 12-yard line. They made quick work of the 88 yards, picking up four first downs despite a fumble on the CSU 21-yard line. Kordenbrook found Will Lucas in the endzone for a five yard pass to put the Keydets up 14-0 after the extra point with 1:34 to go in the first half.
The Bucs went three-and-out on their next possession, but got the ball pack when Brandan Davis intercepted Kordenbrook and brought it back 11 yards to the CSU 31. However, an illegal block on the Bucs brought the ball back to their own 21 and forced them to run out the clock to end the half down 14-0.
Chocholosek sacked Kordenbrook to start the second half, and things didn’t get any better for the Keydets from there as Kuzdale intercepted the VMI quarterback at the CSU 38 and returned it four yards to the 42 yard line. Completions of 38 yards to Davis and 17 yards to Kevin Glears picked up first downs for the Bucs, who made it down to the VMI 1-yard line. However, they Keydet defense stood their ground and the Bucs gave up the ball on downs.
A 28-yard pass to Perera got the Bucs the first down on their next drive, as they were able to make it to the VMI 27. However, a rush for a loss of nine yards proved to be costly for CSU as they failed to pick up the first down and were forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Brown to make it onto the board down 14-3 with 3:10 to go in the third quarter.
After a three-and-out on their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Bucs made it down to the VMI 20 in their next one. A series of incompletions meant the Keydets took over on downs at their own 20. VMU couldn’t make it out of its own territory and were forced to punt on that possession, with Archie getting a piece of the kick, which found its way to Wald who ran it back for the touchdown to energize the Bucs and bring them within five. Dixon’s pass to Glears meant a successful two-point conversion to bring the Bucs even closer, putting the score at 14-11 with 5:59 to go in the game.
However their stellar special teams play was followed by a costly error. The Keydets picked up just one first down on the drive and punted the ball back to the Bucs. Charles James fumbled the punt, which was recovered by James Fruehan at the CSU 7. Jones was able to run the final seven yards in to the endzone on the next play to give VMI the 21-11 lead with 3:15 to go.
A VMI penalty helped the Bucs out on the ensuing kickoff, giving them the ball at their own 31-yard line. A 10-yard catch by Perera picked up the first down for CSU before a 26-yard completion to Davis brought up 1st-and-10 at the VMI 33. Dixon quickly moved the ball downfield, completing a 14-yard pass to Estevon Cintron before rushing 11 yards for another first down. He then found Glears in the endzone for the score, but a failed PAT left the score at 21-17 in favor of VMI with 2:11 to go in the game.
CSU attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Keydets. To insult to injury, the Bucs were penalized five yards for being offsides to give the Keydets the ball at the CSU 34. VMI then ran out the clock to pick up their first win as the Bucs stretched their skid to six games with a final score of 21-17.
The Buccaneers will return home to Charleston to host the Liberty Flames on Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. match up at Buccaneer Field.
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