Weekend Preview: Buccaneers in Big Ten country this weekend as CSU travels to Indiana

Weekend Preview: Buccaneers in Big Ten country this weekend as CSU travels to Indiana

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Buccaneers make the trek to Bloomington, Ind. this weekend for CSU's second FBS game of the season. The Bucs take on host Indiana University on the Big Ten Network with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Gates and ticket offices open at 2 p.m. with all game day information available on the Game Day Central page.

CSU Notes | Indiana Notes | Big South Notes

SECOND BIG TEN MATCHUP
Saturday marks the second time the Bucs face off against a Big Ten opponent in program history. In CSU's lone contest against the conference, the Bucs fell to Illinois in 2012 behind strong quarterback play that included 365 passing yards and five touchdown passes.
 
SEARCHING FOR FIRST FBS WIN
Charleston Southern is still seeking its first win against a full FBS opponent, having beaten both Appalachian State (2013) and Coastal Carolina (2016) during their transitional years from FCS to FBS. The Bucs are 0-19 all-time against FBS opponents since CSU first lined up against South Florida back in the 2002 season.
 
PREPARING FOR BIG SOUTH PLAY
The Buccaneers prepare for Big South Conference play next weekend as CSU continues its road trip in Clinton, S.C. against Presbyterian. CSU has won at least a share of the conference title in each of the last two seasons, earning the league's automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs in 2015 and 2016.
 
BUCS AGAINST THE FBS ALL-TIME
Charleston Southern is still seeking its first win against a full FBS opponent, having beaten both Appalachian State (2013) and Coastal Carolina (2016) during their transitional years from FCS to FBS. The Bucs are 0-19 all-time against FBS opponents since CSU first lined up against South Florida back in the 2002 season. CSU fell in the opener at Mississippi State on September 2 in Starkville, 49-0.
 
The Bucs will face another program making the transition to FBS this season as Liberty enters its final season as FCS members. The Flames will be making the transition to FBS as an independent member in the 2018 season.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS BATTLES
Moreso than any other team the Buccaneers have faced in the 2017 season, the Hoosiers possess talent and depth on both sides of the special teams this season. The Hoosiers have already returned two punts for touchdowns this season and currently sit sixth in the FBS rankings in averaging 20.78 yards per return. Indiana also blocked their first field goal of the season as a team this past weekend against Penn State with Jonathan Crawford tipping away a Nittany Lion attempt.
 
The Bucs' special teams have been solid for CSU this season led by redshirt sophomore punter Kyle Reighard and junior placekicker Tyler Tekac. Reighard helms a unit that is currently fifth in the NCAA in net punting at 41.23 yards per attempt on the season with the CSU coverage team allowing just 3.57 yards per return. Tekac has already connected on two of the longest field goals in CSU history (49 vs. Point, 48 vs. MVSU), and connected on 43 consecutive PATs before the streak ended this past weekend. Both kickers will need to be on their game against a talented Indiana front on Saturday.
 
BUCS AGAINST THE BIG TEN
Saturday marks just the second time the Bucs have lined up against a Big Ten opponent in program history with CSU previously taking on Illinois in the third game of the 2012 season. The Bucs fell on the road to the Fighting Illini, 44-0, with CSU being held to just 125 total yards in the contest.
 
Among the Bucs' struggles in the contest came offensively as CSU managed only six first downs. The Illini also recorded seven tackles for loss and held CSU to 0-of-14 on third-down conversions.
 
OPPONENT OUTLOOK
Indiana was selected fifth in the Big Ten East preseason poll after receiving 114 total points. The Hoosiers senior linebacker Tegray Scales was selected to the Big Ten Preseason List, joining Ohio State's J.T. Barrett and Tyquan Lewis, as well as Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley.
 
The Hoosiers enter the weekend 0-2 in Big Ten play over their first two conference games of the season. IU fell in the season opener at home against Ohio State and then dropped a road conference contest at Penn State on Saturday afternoon.
 
Charleston Southern is one of three non-conference games for Indiana this season. The Hoosiers are 2-0 this season against non-Big Ten teams with wins at Virginia (34-17) and at home against Georgia Southern (52-17).
 
Indiana won its last matchup against an FCS opponent in the 2015 season as the Hoosiers topped Southern Illinois in a tight contest at Memorial Stadium. IU rallied back to capture the 48-47 win over the Salukis, outscoring SIU 27-15 in the second half to secure the win.
 
Redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey was elevated to the starting quarterback position this week after pacing the Hoosiers in relief appearances in each of the last four games. Ramsey has played in every game through IU's 2-2 start, completing 29-of-48 passes (.604) for 316 yards and four TDs with just one interception. Ramsey also ranks as IU's second-leading rusher with 117 net yards and 34 carries (3.4), while the less mobile Lagow has a net minus-30 rushing primarily due to absorbing sacks.
 
The Hoosiers limited PSU to 39 net rushing yards (1.1 per carry) despite the presence of All-American back Saquon Barkley. They recorded 11 tackles for loss and, officially, five sacks. Penn State came in averaging 497 yards per game of total offense but managed just 370 against IU.
 
While IU's coaches cited no offensive "Player of the Game" for the Penn State contest, the Special Teams Player of the Game honor went to Jonathan Crawford (who blocked a PSU field goal attempt) and the defensive nod went to All-American linebacker Tegray Scales, who supplied a team-high 11 tackles (including eight solos) and three sacks.
 
Since the start of his junior season, Scales has 11 double-digit tackling games, is tied for the top spot nationally in solo stops with 117 and is second nationally in tackles for loss with 29.

TOUCHDOWN MACHINE
Senior running back Noah Shuler found the end zone for the third consecutive game on Saturday evening as the Goose Creek, S.C. native scored from one yard out against Mississippi Valley State to cap the Bucs' 35-0 run in the third quarter. Shuler toted the ball a team-high 16 times for 57 yards and added his fourth touchdown of the season to cap a seven-play, 26-yard drive. Through four games Shuler is pacing all Buccaneers with 44 carries for 204 yards and four touchdowns. Shuler recorded a season-high 79 yards on September 23 against Point and added two touchdowns on the road against Elon.

100 YARDS TWO WEEKS IN A ROW
For the second consecutive game redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kameron Brown and quarterback Shane Bucenell had the connection through the air as the duo combined for 101 yards on two completions. The Beech Island, S.C. native hauled in a career-high six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs' win against Point two weeks ago. He followed up this past weekend with both receptions in the CSU win over MVSU including hauling in an 87-yard touchdown pass. The connection was the third-longest in program history. The last time a Buccaneer posted back-to-back 100-yard receiving efforts came in the 2010 season when Gerald Stevenson topped 100 yards against VMI (129) and Stony Brook (104).

BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Freshman tailback Terrence Wilson led Charleston Southern's rushing efforts on Saturday as the freshman tailback from Leesville, S.C. found the end zone on both of his touches against Mississippi Valley State. With CSU holding a narrow 10-7 lead at halftime, Wilson sparked a 35-point third quarter for the Bucs to help put the game away. Wilson weaved his way through traffic before breaking free for a CSU season-high 62-yard touchdown run on the Bucs' opening drive. His second touch came in the fourth quarter as Wilson out-ran the defense to the right pylon from 44 yards to push the Bucs to the 50-point mark for the second time in 2017. Wilson's 106 rushing yards was the first 100-yard rushing effort by a CSU player in the 2017 season.

JOHNSON EXPRESS
­London Johnson continues to make his impact felt in limited time this season as the redshirt sophomore quarterback sits third overall on the team in rushing through the first four games of the season with 161 yards on 16 carries. Johnson's average of 10.4 yards per carry is currently third on the team and the Clio, S.C. native has broken highlight-reel touchdown carries in each of the past two games. Johnson broke free for a season-long 54-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Point, and then followed up with a 45-yard carry to cap the scoring against Mississippi Valley State this past weekend.

BUCS RUNNING BACK AMONG THE FCS BEST
Charleston Southern is back among the nation's best in rushing this season as the Buccaneers entered the top 20 in the category following their 359-yard output against Mississippi Valley State. It marked the second consecutive game the Bucs eclipsed the 300-yard rushing mark and third straight game CSU was over the 200-yard rushing mark since the opener against Mississippi State. Eight different ball carriers combined for 42 carries and 8.5 yards per carry average this past weekend against the Delta Devils. The Bucs are averaging 227.0 yards per game on the ground with a 5.1 yards per carry average in the 2017 season.

LOOKING BACK AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Bucs struggled to get the ground game going in their first contest against an FBS foe in 2017. CSU was limited to 18 rushing yards on 39 carries, averaging 0.5 yards per carry in the contest against the Bulldogs. Ronnie Harris paced the Bucs with seven carries for 18 yards, while Robert Mitchell added three carries for 11 yards to lead CSU's efforts. Altogether, 10 different Buccaneers carried the ball in the contest.

CHASING BIG SOUTH MARKS
With 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss over the first four games of the 2017 season, Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Ellis is well on his way to becoming just the third player in conference history to eclipse the 40-tackle for loss, 20-sack mark. Ellis enters the weekend with 39.0 career tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks following his first four games with a majority coming in the Bucs' home opener against Point. Ellis had a career-high 2.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss in the contest and then brought the quarterback down again this past Saturday against Mississippi Valley State. Ellis has exceeded seven sacks in each of the last two seasons and is the reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year.

ROBINSON PRESSURING THE LANE
While Anthony Ellis draws most of the offense's attention on the line, and deservedly so, his cousin and fellow defensive lineman Johnny Robinson has come into his own in 2017. Robinson is currently second on the team and fourth in the Big South Conference with three sacks. The Apopka, Fla. native is also sixth in the conference with 4.5 tackles for loss on the season. Both marks are career-highs for Robinson after accumulating a combined 3.0 tackles for loss over his first two years with the Bucs. The added pressure in Defensive Coordinator Zane Vance's scheme has opened up avenues for both Robinson and fellow defensive tackle Noah Oliver on the season as the talented duo will continue to help the Bucs control the line up front.

HOPKINS ENTERS TOP 10
Junior cornerback Shadarius Hopkins entered the top 10 all-time in the CSU record books in passes defended over the weekend as the Winnsboro, S.C. native recorded his third career interception and a pass breakup in the Bucs' win over Mississippi Valley State. Hopkins, a preseason Big South All-Conference selection, finished among the conference leaders with 12 passes defended over 11 games last year and is currently back among the conference leaders with three passes defended this season. Hopkins' first interception the season jumped him into a tie for eighth all-time in the passes defended category in the CSU record books.

JENKINS THE INTERCEPTION MACHINE
Freshman safety Sekwan Jenkins has made the most of his playing time in the 2017 season with a team-leading two interceptions and two pass breakups over the first four games of the 2017 season. Jenkins picked off his first pass in the second half of the game against Elon on September 16 as the Columbia, S.C. native snagged the errant throw on a double reverse. This past weekend, Jenkins was again in the right place as the Blythewood product stepped in front of a throw over the middle and took it to the house, returning the ball 70 yards for CSU's second defensive touchdown of the season. Jenkins leads the Bucs with two interceptions and is fifth in the conference with four passes defended.

LAST MATCHUP VS. BIG TEN
Charleston Southern was stingy defensively in their last matchup against a Big Ten institution as the Buccaneers limited Illinois to 132 rushing yards on 30 carries. However, due to offensive woes, CSU was unable to come off the field and the Illini passing attack took advantage as quarterback Reilly O'Toole threw three second-half touchdown passes and finished 26-of-31 through the air for 333 yards and five touchdowns against the Bucs' defense.

SOSEBEE LEADING THE WAY
J.D. Sosebee has been the playmaker in the middle for the Buccaneers defense through the first four games of the season with the redshirt sophomore linebacker sitting tied for first on the team with 24 tackles, while added a sack, 2.0 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery on the 2017 season. One of the bright spots for the Bucs on the opening weekend, Sosebee finished the opener with 11 tackles against Mississippi State proving the stage was not too big for the Gainesville, Ga. native. Since then, Sosebee added five tackles apiece against Elon and Point and then recorded his first sack of the season this past weekend against MVSU. Sosebee also recorded the Bucs' first defensive touchdown of the year with a 60-yard scoop and score in the Bucs' win over Point.

RUFF'S EMOTION
Senior linebacker Bobby Ruff has been the emotional leader for the defense this season and the Charleston, S.C. native took over the contest against Mississippi Valley State. Ruff connected made back-to-back big plays to spark the Bucs' defense in the second quarter with his first sack of the season on the opening play and then combining for a hard tackle for a one-yard gain. Ruff finished the contest with six tackles (four solo), and the defense keyed off their senior captain the rest of the way in recording 15.0 tackles for loss in the game against the Delta Devils.

 

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