ELON, N.C. – Charleston Southern was unable to complete the second half comeback against host Elon on Saturday night at Rhodes Stadium as the Buccaneers fell to the Phoenix, 19-17.
Tyler Tekac's 51-yard field goal attempt fell short as time expired as the Bucs were unable to take advantage of three second-half Elon turnovers to complete the comeback. Shane Bucenell helmed the drive that started at the CSU 36 as the Bucs moved deep into Elon territory before a pair of penalties forced the long field goal attempt.
The Buccaneers (0-2) struggled to stop the Elon (2-1) rushing game in the first half as Malcolm Summers picked up 128 yards on the ground in the first half. Quarterback Davis Cheek finished with 145 yards through the air as the Phoenix held the 371-322 overall advantage in yards.
CSU senior running back Noah Shuler found the end zone for the Bucs first two touchdowns of the 2017 season and Saire Davis added a season-long 37-yard reception to help pace the CSU offense in the game. The Bucs offense bounced back from a tough opening contest on the road against Mississippi State to eclipse the 200-yard rushing mark for the first time in 2017.
Shane Bucenell went 10-of-17 through the air for 108 yards, while Shuler paced the rushing attack with 69 yards on 12 carries, including both CSU scores.
Demetri Royer led the Bucs' defensive efforts with a team-high 12 tackles. Anthony Ellis and Sekwan Jenkins added interceptions, while Ramel Hambrick-Crawford and Johnny Robinson both picked up sacks in the contest.
How They Scored
- Elon capped off an 11-play, 93-yard drive with Davis Cheek finding Kortez Weeks with a 28-yard touchdown pass to give the Phoenix the 6-0 lead with 3:27 left in the first quarter. Anthony Ellis broke through the middle to block the PAT to keep the Phoenix lead at six.
- Noah Shuler put the Bucs on the board with a strong 10-yard run to end a 15-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 7:21. Shuler picked up 33 yards on the drive, including a 16-yard pickup to move CSU into the red zone.
- Malcolm Summers broke several tackles on his way to carrying the ball in from 30-yards out to cap Elon's second touchdown drive of the game. The score ended a 6-play, 60-yard drive that spanned 1:45.
- Cheek took Elon's first drive of the third quarter into the end zone with an eight-yard pickup on the quarterback keeper to cap a 14-play, 90-yard drive that spanned 5:50. The PAT went wide left to give Elon the 19-7 lead.
- The Bucs took advantage of an Anthony Ellis interception on the first play of the fourth quarter as Noah Shuler battered the ball into the end zone from one yard out to cap a 6-play, 40-yard drive to cut the Phoenix lead down to 19-14.
- Tyler Tekac connected on his first field goal of the 2017 season with 5:46 left in the fourth quarter as the junior hit from 37 yards out to end a 4-play drive started on a muffed punt return by the Elon special teams.
Inside the Numbers
- Elon tailback Malcolm Summers eclipsed 100 yards rushing in the first half on his way to finishing with178 yards on 30 carries. It was the first 100-yard rushing game by a running back against the CSU defense since October 1, 2016, when Coastal Carolina's DeAngelo Henderson picked up 164 yards on the ground in the Bucs' double-overtime win.
- Ramel Hambrick-Crawford came through with the Bucs' first sack of the 2017 season as the junior defensive lineman took down the quarterback near midfield late in the second quarter. It was the Atlanta, Ga. native's first career sack with the Bucs.
- Sekwan Jenkins recorded the first interception of his collegiate career on an Elon trick play as the freshman played centerfield on a ball thrown at the CSU 10 yard line with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
- Anthony Ellis recorded his second career inception on the first play of the fourth quarter as the senior defensive end snatched a deflected pass out of the air at the Elon 40-yard line.
- London Johnson helped spark the Bucs offense in the second half with eight carries and 49 yards in extended time. Bucenell added 47 yards rushing on 14 carries.
- Saire Davis led the Bucs with three catches and 53 yards.
- Kortez Weeks was the Phoenix leading pass catcher with 71 yards on three catches.
- Elon's defense was led by Warren Messer's 12 tackles.
News and Notes
- Charleston Southern fell to 0-5 in the series against the Phoenix following the loss.
- It was 15 years between contests for the Bucs and Elon with the last matchup coming back on November 16, 2002. The Phoenix took the game 21-13 in Elon, N.C.
- Anthony Ellis' blocked PAT was CSU's first blocked kick of the season and the Bucs' first since Solomon Brown knocked away the game-winning PAT against Coastal Carolina last season in the Bucs' 59-58 double-overtime win over the Chanticleers on October 1.
- The Saturday night game at Elon closed out the Buccaneers' scheduled season-opening three-game road trip. It was just the third time in program history that CSU was scheduled to start the season with three consecutive road games.
Charleston Southern makes its home debut at Buccaneer Field next weekend as the Bucs host Point University. The game will be streamed live via the Big South Network with kickoff set for 6 p.m.