CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern plays its first home game in seven weeks and its first game of any kind in three weeks on Saturday against Presbyterian. Homecoming kickoff at Buccaneer Field is set for 6 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.
CSU (3-2, 1-0 Big South) is stepping back into Big South Conference play against a Presbyterian (2-4, 1-1 Big South) club fresh off a 17-13 home win over Monmouth last Thursday night. Bucs' head coach Jamey Chadwell knows his team will be anxious to trade in the practice field for the game field. Following a long layoff, he hopes their level of execution will match their excitement level.
"It's been a challenge," said Chadwell, who has led CSU to ten straight conference wins and eight consecutive home victories. "The challenge as a coach is you have some rhythm – that's what you try to develop throughout the season – and then it comes to an abrupt end. It's hard to get that back just during practice. We tried our best last week to make it more of a fall camp feel or at least similar with our practices. We tried to at least get back to that feeling of what it's like to bang on people."
Below are some notes of interest as CSU prepares to open a three-game homestand.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE...
Charleston Southern will have gone three weeks without playing a game by the time Saturday rolls around. The Bucs were scheduled to play Albany State on Oct. 8 but the game was first moved to Oct. 6 and then cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew's effect on the Lowcountry. That cancellation backed up against an open week, giving CSU an extended layoff. The time "off" is in stark contrast to Jamey Chadwell's first year as head coach in 2013 when the program played 13 straight games without a single bye week. CSU added a game against Colorado in-season.
THRILLER IN CONWAY
Charleston Southern's last game was more than memorable. CSU edged rival Coastal Carolina, 59-58, in double overtime in a contest that featured nine lead changes. The Bucs are now 3-0 in multiple overtime games, posting previously pivotal wins over Coastal Carolina (2005 - secured first Big South title) and The Citadel (2006 - first win over Bulldogs; part of 9-0 start to season).
BUCENELL'S BREAKOUT GAME
Shane Bucenell earned Big South Freshman of the Week honors after throwing for 149 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Coastal. Bucenell was making just his second career start in place of the injured Kyle Copeland, who was lost for the season in the Kentucky State game. Bucenell led the Bucs back from an early 21-7 deficit with 16 unanswered points in the second quarter. After missing much of the second half due to cramping issues, Bucenell returned to throw TD's to Colton Korn and Jared Scotland in overtime, lifting the Bucs to victory.
BACK TO BALL CONTROL
CSU held the football for 42:41 of regulation against Coastal, running 89 plays to the Chanticleers' 56. The Bucs had won the time of possession battle just once in their first four games. CSU led the country in time of possession in 2013 and 2014, establishing an identity with a unique spread option offense. Two of CSU's five 40+ minute T.O.P performances have been against Coastal, with the other coming in its 2013 upset win.
HOLLOWAY BECOMES CSU CAREER RUSHING LEADER
Mike Holloway became CSU's all-time leading rusher on a seven-yard run midway through the fourth quarter against Coastal. Holloway now has 2,227 yards and required 146 carries less than Christian Reyes (previous record holder) to go over the 2,200 yard mark. He had 141 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 22 carries. It was his third 100-yard rushing effort in four games this season and the sixth of his career.
BIG PLAY HOLLOWAY
Holloway leads the nation in yards per carry and it's not close. With an average of 10.54 yards per touch, Holloway is nearly two yards ahead of second-place Chase Edmonds of Fordham (8.66 YPC). Holloway led the Big South in yards per carry last season and averages a gaudy 7.9 YPC for his career.
TRENDING WELL AT HOME
CSU is 16-2 at home under Chadwell and has won eight straight games at Buccaneer Field dating to November of 2014. The Bucs were a perfect 6-0 in 2015, capped off by a playoff win over The Citadel in front of nearly 8,500 fans, a Buccaneer Field record. CSU is 4-0 in home openers, posting a hard-fought win over Shorter and blowout victories over Point, North Greenville and Kentucky State.
BLUE SWARM CREATING PRESSURE
CSU's defense leads the Big South and ranks eighth nationally with 16 sacks (3.2 per game). The Bucs remain among national leaders despite recording just two sacks and two tackles for loss against Coastal. Anthony Ellis (4th), Solomon Brown (8th) and Mike Taylor are all among the Big South's top ten in sacks per game.