BUCS CAPTURE SHARE OF BIG SOUTH TITLE; DEFEAT COASTAL CAROLINA IN DOUBLE OVERTIME, 34-27November 19, 2005
By CSU Sports Information
|CSU head coach Jay Mills guides CSU to 7-4 record|
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – With Eddie Gadson watching from heaven, the Charleston Southern football team completed a miracle comeback and defeated defending Big South conference champion Coastal Carolina, 34-27, in double overtime to capture a share of the 2005 championship.
Gadson, a CSU receiver who died tragically last summer in an automobile accident, would have been proud of his teammates, who completed a 7-4 season by winning their final five games. And the way they won the title game was nothing short of divine intervention.
Charleston Southern trailed, 24-10, with 2:49 remaining in the game after Coastal Carolina’s Aundres Perkins scored on a 46-yard run on a fake punt. The Buccaneers quickly answered when Collin Drafts scored on a three-yard run with 1:39 left in the game, cutting the lead to 24-17. Then things got a little crazy.
Coastal Carolina recovered the onside kick with 1:38 left and with CSU having only one timeout, appeared headed for victory. With :10 remaining in the game, facing fourth-down and 21 from their own 38-yard line, CCU receiver Jerome Simpson took the punt snap and raced towards the endzone for an apparent safety. Simpson, however, stepped out of bounds at the four-yard line with :1.5 seconds left in the game, giving CSU a first-and-goal and time for one play.
Drafts quickly ran the offense on the field and completed a four-yard pass to Markus Murry. Nick Ellis’ extra point tied the game at 24 and sent the game into overtime.
Each team kicked field goals in the first overtime with Ellis nailing a 41-yarder to force the second extra period.
On CSU’s second overtime possession, Andre Copeland scored from two yards out for a 34-27 lead. Coastal Carolina gained four yards on three downs and a fourth-down pass to the 15-yard line fell incomplete, setting off a wild celebration that culminated in the tearing down of the goal posts.
“It’s unbelievable,” said CSU head coach Jay Mills. “God is certainly smiling on us today, as is Eddie Gadson. I could not be more proud of a group of young men who have faced so much adversity but never gave up on the dream.”
Drafts finished the game with 250 yards passing, completing 20-of-37 passes and tossing two scoring passes. Maurice Price caught eight passes for 74 yards and freshman Markus Murry caught seven passes for 76 yards. Running back Andre Copeland finished the season as the Big South’s leading rusher, picking up 98 yards on 20 carries.
On the defensive side, junior linebacker Jada Ross became the CSU single-season tackle leader, racking up 17 hits on the day. Ross finishes the season with 128 total tackles. Safety C.J. Hirschman added eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, while seniors Tavares Shorter and Adam DeGraffenreid each picked up seven tackles in their final game as Buccaneers.
Patrick Hall paced Coastal Carolina’s effort with 127 yards rushing. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen completed eight of 23 passes for 89 yards. CCU finished the game with 222 yards rushing and 311 total yards while the Buccaneers tallied 371 total yards.
Charleston Southern opened the game with their most impressive drive of the game, covering 80 yards on 10 plays and eating up 5:11 of the clock. The drive culminated with a third down 21-yard touchdown pass to Drew Rucks with 9:49 left in the first quarter.
Coastal Carolina answered with a score on their first possession, using 10 plays to cover 35 yards before settling for a 32-yard field goal by Josh Hoke with 6:46 left in the quarter.
Both defenses settled in for most of the rest of the second half as each team punted several times during the half. Late in the second, however, the Chanticleers put together an impressive 12-play, 85-yard drive, ending with Patrick Hall’s 10-yard run with 3:11 left in the second period and pushing Coastal Carolina to a 10-7 lead..
Charleston Southern began the second-half with a pooch kickoff that was recovered by the Buccaneers at the CCU 40-yard line. CSU reached the Coastal Carolina 15-yard line before Nick Ellis missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 12:34 left in the third quarter.
Coastal Carolina responded by going 80 yards on 11 plays and getting a three-yard run by Aundres Perkins with 8:14 remaining in the third, pushing the lead to 17-7.
CSU’s defense came up with a big stop late in the third when Marvin McHellon blocked a 32-yard field goal to end a Chanticleer scoring threat. CSU took possession and moved down inside the CCU 30 as the game reached the fourth period.
Drafts connected with Murry to reach the five-yard line before the Bucs were forced to settle for an Ellis 22-yard field goal with 9:59 left, cutting the CCU lead to 17-10.Related Item: Box Score