CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern has refocused following its loss to Gardner-Webb this past Saturday. The Bucs returned to the practice field Monday, reset mentally and remain in control of their own destiny for a share of the Big South Conference title and an FCS Playoff bid.
Senior safety Corbin Jackson is CSU's leading tackler and one of four team captains. Jackson and the Bucs' other leaders are confident they can attack the regular season's last two games with the tenacity that's become the program's trademark.
"I feel the setback kind of refocused us," Jackson said. "Monday, we came in and had a meeting and then the players had a meeting just ourselves. It just hit me when we lost that there's two weeks left and if we don't take care of business, then it will be over. Like Coach Chadwell said, everything's still in front of us. We've just gotta go play."
CSU will play against a Liberty team riding a five-game winning streak since a 1-3 start. A Flames' victory would secure the outright league title and playoff berth. Liberty leads the Big South in scoring defense and shut out Presbyterian, 16-0, on the road its last time out. Freshman quarterback Stephen Calvert is unbeaten as the starter and has tossed 11 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
"When it's looked like our backs are against the wall, we've found a way to tear it down," said CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell. "I expect nothing less of our team right now. I like how they've responded to the loss. They've not dwelled on it. They've moved forward which has been good and we need to to have a chance to be a really good football team on the road."
THE PLAYOFFS START NOW
Charleston Southern must defeat Liberty and Kennesaw State to secure a share of the Big South title and its second straight playoff berth. The Bucs downed the Flames and Owls, in reverse order, to cap their undefeated run through conference play in 2015.
LOOKING FOR MORE OF SAME OFFENSIVELY VS. FLAMES
CSU has totaled 1,036 yards in its back-to-back wins over Liberty. The Bucs rolled up 359 rushing yards and 576 total yards - both program records against Division I competition - in a 38-36 win in Lynchburg in 2014. Last season, CSU tallied 460 yards to rally for a 31-24 victory. Ball control factored heavily in both decisions. CSU held possession for 37:01 and 38:07 in those two games.
THE ROAD IS NO DETERRENT
CSU is 15-8 on the road under Chadwell and an even more impressive 15-4 against FCS competition. The Bucs set a single-season Big South record with six road wins in 2013, stringing together five victories away from home during an unexpected 7-0 start to the campaign. To start this season, CSU nearly ended NDSU's then 42-game nonconference home winning streak, a stretch that spans 13 years. That effort looks even more impressive after the Bison beat Iowa (FBS - No. 13) on Sept. 17.
ELITE RUSHING ATTACK
CSU ranks sixth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 268.1 yards per game. The Bucs have a featured a Top-20 rushing offense each of the past three years. This year, CSU has also showed greater quick strike ability. CSU led the country in time of possession in 2013 and 2014, and finished 19th last year. The Bucs sit 34th in that stat as of now.
BIG PLAY HOLLOWAY
Mike Holloway leads the nation in yards per carry and it's not close. With an average of 8.92 yards per touch, Holloway is over a yard ahead of second-place Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T (7.45 YPC). Holloway led the Big South in yards per carry last season and averages a gaudy 7.8 YPC for his career.
Holloway became CSU's all-time leading rusher on a seven-yard run midway through the fourth quarter against Coastal. Holloway now has 2,429 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 in the 2 OT win over Coastal. It was his third 100-yard rushing effort in four games this season and the sixth of his career.