CHARLESTON, S.C. - Monmouth held off a late Charleston Southern second half comeback as the Buccaneers fell for the first time at Buccaneer Field in 2017, 23-20.
The Buccaneer (4-4, 1-1) scored 20 unanswered points behind a pair of Shane Bucenell-to-Kenny Dinkins touchdown passes and Noah Shuler scored from two yards out to narrow the game to within three points with 4:21 remaining. However, Devell Jones helped the Hawks (7-1, 2-0) keep the CSU offense off the field over the final drive with 35 rushing yards on six carries to run out the clock and seal the Monmouth win.
CSU limited Monmouth to 64 yards in the second half to give the Bucs the opportunity for the comeback. The Bucs limited Big South rushing leader Pete Guerriero to 29 yards on 15 carries and limited fellow MU standout Eric Zokouri to 29 yards on six carries on their way to holding Monmouth to 87 rushing yards in the game.
Bucenell entered the game midway through the third quarter and provided a spark for the CSU offense in finishing 7-of-17 for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kameron Brown eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark with five catches for 123 yards, while Kenny Dinkins had 53 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
MU quarterback Kenji Bahar did the majority of his damage through the air to spark Monmouth to the 16-0 halftime lead. Bahar was 20-of-34 for 221 yards and a touchdown, 196 yards coming in the first half to pace the Hawks to the early lead. Reggie White Jr. led the receiving efforts with seven catches for 86 yards.
How They Scored
- Monmouth put the opening points on the board as Erik Zokouri took an eight-yard pass in the right flat and broke through three tackles to find the end zone. The touchdown capped a 10-play, 91-yard scoring drive, but the extra point missed wide to give the Hawks the 6-0 lead.
- Matt Mosquera redeemed himself with a 35-yard field goal attempt with 5:43 left in the second quarter to give the Hawks the 9-0 lead. The attempt completed a 13-play, 52-yard drive.
- Devell Jones gave MU the 16-0 lead heading into the half with a one-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left in the half to end an eight-play, 86-yard drive.
- Gerron Pendarvis returned a CSU interception on the second play of the second half for a 21-yard touchdown to give the Hawks the 23-0 lead.
- Shane Bucenell and Kenny Dinkins put the Bucs on the board with a 15-yard connection near the left side of the end zone to end a 13-play, 89-yard drive. The Bucs held onto the ball 7:01 on the scoring drive.
- Following a Taz Lindsey 17-yard punt return to the Monmouth 38, Bucenell found Dinkins over the middle on the first play of the drive with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter for the touchdown pass. The Bucs two-point conversion attempt failed.
- Lindsey's 11-yard punt return and a MU personal foul on the next possession gave CSU the ball on the Hawks' 27. Five plays later, Noah Shuler bounced in from two yards out to pull the Bucs within three points with 4:21 to play.
Inside the Numbers
- Noah Shuler carried the ball a career-high 19 times for 77 yards and a touchdown to pace the CSU rushing efforts. It was the fourth time this season the redshirt junior running back has led the Bucs rushing attach in 2017.
- Kameron Brown eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the third time this season as the redshirt sophomore wide receiver hauled in five passes for a career-high 123 yards. It eclipsed his previous high of 113 set back on September 23 against Point.
- Kenny Dinkins' two-touchdown game was the third of his career and second of the 2017 season. Dinkins last caught two touchdowns in the Bucs 66-0 win over Point.
- Kyle Reighard pinned three punts inside the 20 yard line, two inside the Monmouth five, to pace CSU's special teams' efforts. The Big South punting average leader averaged 41.6 yards per attempt in the contest.
- Taz Lindsey eclipsed 100 combined return yards in the contest. The junior return ace finished with 53 punt return yards on five attempts and had two kickoff returns for 47 yards.
- Kickoff ace David Kennedy tied a career-high with three touchbacks in tonight's game. He averaged a career-best 65.0 yards per attempt in the game.
- J.D. Sosebee and Demetri Royer both recorded double-digit tackle nights with the CSU duo both recording 10 tackles in the loss.
- Johnny Robinson picked up his fourth sack and added three tackles for loss to go with a season-high eight tackles.
- CSU limited the Monmouth to 87 rushing yards in the contest. It was the third straight game CSU has held an opponent under 100 rushing yards in a game and fifth on the season.
- Saturday was only the third time this season an opponent eclipsed 200 passing yards against the CSU defense on the season. MU quarterback Kenji Bahar threw for 221, 196 of which came in the first half.
News and Notes
- Charleston Southern fell to Monmouth for the first time in series history with the loss to the Hawks on Saturday night. The Bucs were 3-0 entering the game dating back to first time the teams met in the 2014 season.
- CSU's loss ended a two-year conference home opener winning streak. The Bucs last loss in its conference home opener came in the 2014 season, a 7-3 loss to Presbyterian. The loss also occurred in CSU's home ESPN3 game.
- CSU has lost two of its last three conference home games dating back to last season. The Bucs' lone win during the stretch, a 28-7 win over Kennesaw State in the 2016 regular season finale, has been sandwiched by losses to Gardner-Webb (20-17) and Monmouth (23-20).
- Noah Shuler scored his team-leading sixth touchdown of the season in the loss. Shuler is one touchdown run away from cracking into the CSU top 10 in a single season, trailing Collin Drafts (7, 2006), Andre Copeland (7, 2005), and Malcolm Dixon (7, 2012).
- CSU has turned the ball over multiple times in four consecutive games following Monmouth's two interceptions in the game.
- The Bucs pass rush struggled to get after the quarterback on Saturday with Johnny Robinson's sack the lone sack in the evening. It was just the third time this season CSU has recorded one or fewer sacks in a game.
- Matthew Martin made his first career start and caught a pass on the bubble screen on the first play from scrimmage for CSU.
- The two-touchdown game from Bucenell was the fifth of his collegiate career and second in the 2017 season. He is currently one passing touchdown away from tying A.J. Toscano (22, 2008-10) and Malcolm Dixon (22, 2010-13) for third all-time in CSU history.
Tweet of the Game
Danielle Wraps It Up
Charleston Southern continues Big South play on the road next weekend as the Bucs travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. to take on Gardner-Webb. Kickoff at Ernest W. Spangler Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m. on the Big South Network.