Buccaneers fall just short against The Citadel in season openerSeptember 3, 2005
By CSU Sports Information
|QB Collin Drafts threw for 243 yards|
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Heading into Saturday night's 2005 season opener, many thought the Charleston Southern Buccaneers had come a long ways since they last played their cross-town rivals from The Citadel. Those people were right.
Two years after being humiliated by the Bulldogs, 64-10, in the 2003 season opener, Charleston Southern nearly pulled off the upset on Saturday night before falling, 28-14, before a crowd of 10,316 fans.
The Citadel scored two touchdowns in a three minute span to overcome a 14-7 deficit in the fourth quarter and held the Bucs scoreless over the final nine minutes to preserve the victory.
CSU head coach Jay Mills was disappointed in the loss but pleased with the effort of his players.
"We didn't want to just compete, we were going for the victory tonight," said Mills. "Our guys believed they could win this game and that is a great testament to their desire.
"We competed very well in this football game and I was very pleased. I thought we played very well for the most part. We're still growing up and that was apparent at times tonight."
The game was fairly even throughout with the Bulldogs finishing with 360 total yards and CSU finishing with 314 total yards. The difference came in the ground game where the Bulldogs out-gained CSU, 192-38.
Junior quarterback Collin Drafts opened 2005 where he left off last season, throwing for 243 yards on 21-of-32 passing, including an 16-yard touchdown toss to tight end Bryan Meers to tie the game at seven early in the third quarter.
Sophomore Maurice Price caught seven passes for 112 yards while Dimar Labega caught five passes for 64 yards.
CSU's defensive effort was paced by linebackers Jada Ross (12 tackles), Jonna Lee (nine tackles, two sacks), and Josh Mitchell (seven tackles).
CSU trailed, 7-0, at the half after the Bulldogs posted a touchdown on their second possession of the game. The Buccaneers tied the game on Drafts' pass to Meers, then took a 14-7 lead with 11:06 remaining when Drafts plunged in from two yards out.
The Citadel tied the game with 4:54 remaining in the third and posted two scores early in the fourth to pull away at the end.
"I think this game shows that we are becoming a legitimate 1-AA football team," said Mills. "Now it's just a matter of maturing. If you look where this program was two or three years ago, you can tell we are headed in the right direction. Our best football is still ahead of us this season."
CSU hosts Presbyterian College next Saturday in their 2005 home opener, the first of two straight home games. The Buccaneers have a total of seven home games this season.Related Item: Box Score