Tekac delivers game-winner as Bucs close out 2017 season with 20-19 win over Liberty

Tekac delivers game-winner as Bucs close out 2017 season with 20-19 win over Liberty

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Tyler Tekac connected on the game-winning field goal for the second time this season as the junior placekicker drilled a 42-yard attempt through the uprights with one second remaining to cap the Charleston Southern 20-19 win over Liberty on Saturday afternoon.

The Bucs (6-5, 3-2) went 50 yards on 10 plays over the final 1:10 of the ball game with London Johnson connecting on a 25-yard completion to Saire Davis and an 18-yard pass to Kenny Dinkins over the middle to set up the game-winning attempt. After a Liberty timeout with six seconds remaining, Tekac sized up and connected on the game-winning field goal to set off a celebration on the CSU sideline.

Liberty (6-5, 2-3) attempted to set up a multi-lateral play on the ensuing kickoff, but Craig Johnson chased down Frankie Hickson at the LU 22-yard line to end the game.

The Flames were led by Antonio Gandy-Golden's big receiving day as the sophomore receiver hauled in 10 catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Stephen Calvert was 25-of-44 through the air for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception in the second quarter to CSU's Shadarius Hopkins, snapping a streak of 179 consecutive attempts without a pick dating back to Liberty's October 14 game against Kennesaw State.

Quarterback London Johnson finished with 263 combined yards (186 passing, 77 rushing) to lead the CSU offense, while Noah Shuler picked up a game-high 84 rushing yards and his team-leading eighth rushing touchdown of the season. Kameron Brown added his fourth 100-yard receiving effort of the season, finishing with four catches for 106 yards.

Anthony Ellis, Johnny Robinson, and Solomon Brown all recorded sacks for the CSU defense as the Buccaneers established a new Big South standard for team sacks in a season. The Bucs finished the year with 34 sacks and limited the Flames to 306 total offensive yards in their fourth consecutive win over the Flames.

Key Drive
The Buccaneers took the field for the final time of the game, trailing 19-17 following Alex Probert's 49-yard field goal with 1:11 remaining. Facing 3rd-and-21 following a Juwan Wells' sack, Johnson spun around in the pocket, rolled to his right and found Saire Davis by himself in front of the CSU bench for a 25-yard reception.

The drive continued as CSU faced 3rd-and-10 after back-to-back incompletions. Johnson scrambled to his left for a nine-yard pickup to set up 4th-and-1. A short pass into the flat to Geoffrey Wall turned into a nine-yard gain to move the chains to the Liberty 43 with 28 seconds remaining.

With one timeout left, Johnson dropped back and targeted Kenny Dinkins over the middle of the field for an 18-yard gain on first down to move the ball to the Liberty 25. The clock ran down to six seconds left before CSU clocked the ball and called a timeout, sending Tekac onto the field. A Liberty timeout in attempt to ice the kicker extended the contest, before Tekac lined up and connected on the game-winning 42-yard attempt into the wind to secure the CSU victory. 

How They Scored

  • Noah Shuler put the Bucs on the board early in the second quarter as the senior running back went over the right tackle from one-yard out with 14:06 remaining in the half. The touchdown capped a 12-play, 49-yard drive that spanned 5:15.
  • Calvert connected with Gandy-Golden for the Flames' response with 5:32 remaining in the contest as the Liberty duo connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to even the game and cap a nine-play, 56-yard drive.
  • Probert connected on a 27-yard field goal with 9:28 remaining in the third quarter to put the Flames ahead 10-7.
  • The Flames added to their lead on Gandy-Golden's second touchdown of the game as the duo connected on a 10-yard slant pattern over the middle with 2:42 left in the quarter. Brandon Rowland blocked the extra point to keep the margin at 16-7.
  • London Johnson started the comeback with an eight-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to narrow the Liberty lead. The nine-play, 73-yard drive was highlighted by Johnson's 24-yard scramble on 4th-and-4 from the Liberty 41 to keep the chains moving.
  • Tekac put the Bucs ahead with his first field goal of the day as the junior placekicker connected on a 24-yard attempt with 6:56 remaining in the contest.
  • Facing a short field with 2:56 remaining, the Flames moved the ball into field goal range for Probert and he delivered. Probert's 49-yard attempt cleared the uprights to give Liberty the 19-17 lead with 1:11 left.
  • Johnson hit passes to Davis, Wall, and Dinkins on the final drive to set up Tekac's game-winning 42-yard field goal with one second remaining. The drive went 10 plays on 50 yards and covered 1:11.

Inside the Numbers

  • Noah Shuler led the Buccaneers' rushing attack for the sixth game this season and recorded his team-leading sixth double-digit carry effort to pace CSU with 84 yards on 13 carries.
  • Johnson went 13-of-27 through the air for 186 yards and added 77 yards and a rushing score on the ground to help pace the CSU offense.
  • The Bucs picked up 229 rushing yards and 186 passing yards in the game, both highs in conference play for the Buccaneers in 2017.
  • Kameron Brown recorded his team-leading fourth 100-yard receiving game and second in conference play this season as the redshirt sophomore recorded four catches for 106 yards.
  • Geoffrey Wall followed up his five catch effort last weekend at Kennesaw State with four more receptions for 23 yards this weekend against the Flames.
  • Shuler tripled his career receiving output in the contest with his two catches for 12 yards in the game. He entered the contest with one catch for nine yards.
  • Shadarius Hopkins recorded his second interception of the season to tie for the overall team lead in 2017 when the junior cornerback picked off a pass in the second quarter. It was his fourth career interception. He finished the game with a career-high five pass breakups.
  • Tekac's 42-yard field goal was his fifth 40-plus yard connection on the season.
  • Kyle Reighard finished the contest with seven punts for 304 yards (43.4 ypa) and put three inside the 20.
  • Charleston Southern finished the contest with three sacks, giving the Buccaneers 23 sacks on their home turf in 2017.
  • Craig Johnson, J.D. Sosebee, and Zane Cruz all led the Buccaneers tackling efforts with nine tackles apiece. Johnson and Sosebee added a half-tackle for loss apiece in the game.
  • Johnny Robinson picked up his 6.5th sack of the season with a quarterback takedown in the fourth quarter.
  • Anthony Ellis picked up his ninth sack of the season on Liberty's first drive of the second half.
  • Solomon Brown picked up his 3.5th sack of the season and CSU's Big South record-breaking 32nd sack of the season in the second quarter.

News & Notes

  • Charleston Southern finished the 2017 season with a Big South record 34.0 team sacks. The record breaks the mark of 31.0 set in the 2002 season by the Buccaneers. CSU is the only team in conference history to record a 30-plus sack season.
  • Anthony Ellis ensured his place in Big South history with another big game this afternoon against Liberty. With his sack and 2.0 tackles for loss, Ellis finishes his career at CSU with 24.5 sacks and 52.5 tackles for loss, finishing just shy of Big South record holders Chima Uzowihe (25.0 sacks) and Brian Johnston (53.5 tackles for loss).
  • Ellis led the Big South in tackles for loss for the third consecutive season with 16.0 on the year. He topped Gardner-Webb's Kenyatta Dunbar (13.5) and Johnny Robinson (12.0) to take the title.
  • Ellis finished second in the Big South in total sacks with 9.0, trailing only Kennesaw State's Bryson Armstrong (10.0).
  • Noah Shuler's eight rushing touchdowns in 2017 moved him into a tie for sixth all-time in a single season. Shuler tied DeMarcus Moon (2010) and Christian Reyes (2014) with his one-yard carry in the second quarter. There is a five-way tie for first all-time with nine touchdowns.
  • Shadarius Hopkins finished the season with two interceptions and 12 breakups, giving him 14 passes defensed in 2017. The total ties him for third all-time with Troy McGowens (2014) in a single season.
  • Tyler Tekac connected on his fifth 40-plus yard field goal of the season in the win. It was his second game-winning kick of the season, with his first coming two weeks ago against Gardner-Webb as the junior hit a 43-yard attempt as time expired in the 10-9 win.
  • Charleston Southern finished 6-5 on the season, 3-2 in conference play to finish above .500 for the fifth consecutive season.
  • The CSU senior class finished with a combined record of 31-16 and included back-to-back Big South titles and FCS Playoff berths in 2015 and 2016.
  • Jackson Williamson started his 51st collegiate game at CSU in the contest, establishing a new program record for both starts and games played along the way.
  • CSU picked up its fourth consecutive win in the series over Liberty to improve to 6-19 overall against the Flames.
  • Kameron Brown eclipsed the 1,000 yard career receiving mark on Saturday afternoon. He finished his redshirt sophomore season with 25 catches for 552 yards, averaging 22.1 yards per catch on the season.

Play of the Game

Postgame with Zane Cruz, Tyler Tekac, and Head Coach Mark Tucker

Danielle Says It Best

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