Bucs Set to Host Presbyterian on ESPN3October 18, 2012
Charleston Southern (2-4, 1-1) looks to win back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2009 when they host the Presbyterian Blue Hose (2-5, 0-2) in a Big South matchup on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. from Buccaneer Field.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com. To watch the game online, click here.
Game Notes l Live Stats l Live Audio
The Buccaneers are coming fresh-off a 32-14 win over VMI, in which CSU put together its most complete football game of the season. Charleston Southern gained a season-high 446 yards of total offense while holding the Keydets to a season-best 187 yards overall.
It was the fewest yards allowed by CSU since the Bucs held Liberty to 165 yards back in 2009. The Keydets were frustrated through all facets of the game Saturday, as CSU controlled possession for over 34 minutes including over 13 minutes in the fourth quarter.
“We’re learning how to win but now we have to learn how to consistently win,” CSU head coach Jay Mills said earlier in the week. “One of the things we have to learn how to do is learn how to handle prosperity. We did not do that well after beating Shorter.”
Presbyterian looks to get back on track with a win after getting trounced by Liberty 56-7 last Saturday. PC allowed 692 yards of total offense from the Blue Flames as well as seven rushing touchdowns in the loss. With the defeat, the Blue Hose have started 0-2 in conference play for three out of the last four seasons.
“Richard Nichols has done a great job progressing that program. From the day that he arrived until now they have been steadily progressing
Saturday will be the 20th all-time meeting between Charleston Southern and Presbyterian. PC leads the all-time series 13-6 including last year’s win over CSU, 45-14. In last year’s loss, the Bucs allowed 516 yards of total offense while committing four turnovers.
The Bucs look to ride the wave of momentum created in the offensive outburst against VMI last week. On the first drive of the game, Malcom Dixon led the offense to an eight-play, 67-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Zach Frazier. The touchdown marked the first time the Bucs scored on an opening-drive this season. CSU finished last week’s win with four touchdown passes and 307 yards on the ground, which are both season-highs. Dixon showed huge improvements in both reading the option and throwing the football. CSU’s quarterback went 5-of-6 for 88 yards and three touchdowns through the air while also gaining 56 yards on 12 carries. Freshman running back, Gabriel Johnson, led the ground attack picking up 63 yards while Teddy Allen added 13 carries, 50 yards and a touchdown. Larry Jones III played his best game as a Buccaneer making two catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman’s effort earned him Big South Freshman Player of the Week honors.
Charleston Southern has shown they are becoming more comfortable with their run-heavy attack. The Bucs ran the football 66 times against VMI. The 66 rushes are tied for sixth-most in a single-game in Big South history and also tied a school record. The Bucs’ 307 yards rushing were the most yards in a conference game in school history.
Presbyterian will come out with a spread offense. Through the first seven games, PC has more than a two-to-one, pass-to-rush ratio and leads the Big South in pass attempts. At times, PC has been inefficient on offense ranking fifth in points per game (15.9), passing yards per game (178) and rushing yards per game (114). Presbyterian has also struggled mightily in the red-zone scoring only 61% of the time when inside the 20 (last in conference) with four red-zone-turnovers.
Quarterback Kaleb Griffin made his first career start last week against Liberty. Griffin went an impressive 28-of-38 through the air for 194 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. During his climb to become the starting quarterback, Griffin has thrown a touchdown pass in three-consecutive games.
“Our coaching staff was very impressed with the quarterback (Kaleb Griffin) against Liberty; especially because he’s only a redshirt-freshman,” Mills added. “(PC) run a unique style of offense. It’s a spread, so there are multiple formations and shifts which can present challenges."
The ground-game is led by Lance Byrd and Demarcus Rouse. Byrd, a senior out of Jacksonville, is currently ninth in Big South history with 2,374 career rushing yards. While Byrd picks up most of the yards, Rouse is the bruising back that does most of the scoring. At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Rouse has used his size to grab six rushing-touchdowns this season which is second in the Big South, only trailing Miguel Maysonet of Stony Brook.
Charleston Southern will likely show a similar game-plan against PC as they did against VMI. With a Presbyterian defense that has struggled, especially defending the run, look for CSU to continue to pound the football and control both the tempo of the game and the game clock. If CSU jumps out to an early lead, Presbyterian will be forced to lean even more on their passing game which has shown a tendency to turn the ball over (8 interceptions leads the Big South).
The Bucs turned in their best defensive-effort of the season against VMI. Charleston Southern bottled up the VMI run-game (74 rush-yards allowed) while putting all kinds of pressure on Keydet quarterback Erick Kordenbrock (15-of-33 through the air). In the second half, the Bucs held VMI to only 74 yards of total offense. CSU defensive end, Will Hunt, led the defense with a sack, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries. With last week’s stellar performance against VMI, the Bucs have moved into the middle-of-the-pack in the Big South’s defensive team leaders. Charleston Southern ranks fourth in the league in total defense (404.7 yards allowed per game) and third in the league in pass defense (190.2 yards allowed per game).
Presbyterian has struggled defensively and ranks last in the Big South in yards allowed per game (494) and rushing yards allowed per game (282). The inability for the offense to stay on the field has put massive amounts of pressure on the defense that has struggled to get off the field. PC has allowed opponents to convert 45% of the time on third down which is the worst percentage in the conference.
There are a few individual playmakers on the PC defense. Sophomore-linebacker, Donnell Williams, is third in the Big South with 9.6 tackles per game while freshman-defensive end, Bryson Brindle leads the conference with 4.5 sacks. L.J. Perry, a junior cornerback for Presbyterian, is the only player in the Big South to return an interception for a touchdown.
The only blemish in an otherwise outstanding game against VMI last week was the kicking game. CSU missed three PATs and has missed four PATs on the season (most in the Big South). Although the miscues on special teams did not come back to hurt the Bucs, in a close game, extra-points can become difference makers. The Bucs will also look to improve in the punting game. Charleston Southern currently ranks last in the Big South in average yards per punt (30.8).
Presbyterian has shown solid talent on special teams. PC averages 37.1 yards per punt which leads the conference while redshirt-senior, Michael Ruff, is the only player in the Big South to return a kickoff for a touchdown (92 yard return). Place-kicker, Aaron Mayes is a perfect 13-for-13 in extra-points but is only 2-for-8 in field goal tries this season. If PC is in a potential field goal situation, look for the Blue Hose to keep the offense on the field and try to convert on fourth down because of the struggles to execute on field goal tries.