CHARLESTON, S.C. - Homecoming is here for Charleston Southern as the Buccaneers welcome Presbyterian College to Buccaneer Field on Saturday night. Kickoff for Big South matchup is set for 6 p.m. The game will be carried live on ESPN+.
All game day information is available on the Game Day Central page.
OPENING CONFERENCE PLAY
Charleston Southern opens Big South Conference play this weekend against the Presbyterian Blue Hose. It marks the second consecutive season the Bucs have opened the year with PC after topping the Blue Hose, 7-0, last season. CSU is 7-9 all-time in Big South openers dating back to the 2002 season.
Three of the last four times the Bucs and the Blue Hose have kicked off against each other has resulted in one-possession games. The lone blowout over the last four seasons came back in 2016 at Buccaneer Field when CSU topped the Blue Hose, 38-3. The Bucs allowed just 102 yards in the contest and picked up 343 rushing yards in the win.
PASS DEFENSES RULE
Saturday's matchup features the top two pass defenses in FCS this season. The Bucs (127.6) pace the nation in pass yards allowed per game behind the strong play from the senior defensive backs. Presbyterian is second in FCS allowing 146.0 yards per game through the air.
Presbyterian was picked sixth overall in the Big South preseason coaches and media poll as announced at the Conference's Media Day back in July. The Blue Hose received 26 points in the poll heading into Head Coach Tommy Spangler's eighth season.
The Blue Hose were represented by redshirt senior tight end Riley Hilton on the conference's preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention team.
PC boasts a 2-3 record in 2018 with its pair of wins coming at home against Bluefield and Lindsey Wilson. The Blue Hose dropped their conference opener back on October 6 to preseason favorite Kennesaw State, 56-0.
It's the 26th meeting all-time between the Bucs and the Blue Hose. Presbyterian won 12 games in a row from the 1994-2005 seasons and hold the 14-11 all-time advantage over CSU.
Presbyterian has been the least penalized team in the Big South Conference this season. The Blue Hose have been flagged 30 times and surrendered a conference-low 257 penalty yards on the season.
Presbyterian also leads the Big South with a conference-low six turnovers on the season. The Blue Hose are currently ranked 15th in FCS overall in turnovers lost in 2018.
The Blue Hose boast the second-best pass defense in FCS allowing 146.0 passing yards per game on the season. PC trails only CSU in the category on the season.
Quarterback John Walker leads the Big South in completion percentage on the year at 63.9%. Walker is fourth in the conference in passing yards (759) and third in passing touchdowns (6).
Linebacker Jarrett Nagy leads the team with 51 tackles on the season. Gyasi Yeldell is the conference leader in sacks per game at 0.70.
Running Game – Reestablished
Charleston Southern's run game had their biggest outing of the season this past weekend against Virginia Lynchburg. The Buccaneers eclipsed the 300-yard rushing mark for the first time this season with 334 yards against the Dragons. CSU improved to 9-0 when achieving the rushing mark dating back to the 2015 season. Jack Chambers became the third CSU player to record 100-plus rushing yards in a game this season with 112 yards on a career-high 17 carries. He joined London Johnson (119 vs. Elon) and Terrence Wilson (103 at Hampton) in reaching the mark. It was also the first time this season CSU had three players reach 70-plus rushing yards in a game with Kendrick Bell (75) and Terrence Wilson (74) also posting big games for the Bucs.
Fighting a Tough PC Defense
Presbyterian has had CSU's number offensively of late. The Bucs were held to 195 yards of total offense and 36 passing yards last season in the 7-0 win over the Blue Hose. Two years ago, the Bucs were held to 275 yards of total offense including 70 yards passing in the 10-7 loss. The defensive battles between the Bucs and Blue Hose have turned into affairs when PC has limited CSU's offense into becoming one-dimensional. The Bucs will have to get the passing game on track and make strides from this past weekend's performance against Virginia Lynchburg.
Hitting through the Air
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Chambers breathed new life into the CSU passing game this past weekend against Virginia Lynchburg. Making his first collegiate start, Chambers connected with Garris Schwarting on a 72-yard touchdown pass before halftime to put the Bucs ahead 23-0. The play accounted for nearly 20% of CSU's season total of passing for the season and was the Bucs' longest play from scrimmage for the night. He added a 35-yard strike to Kenny Dinkins in the third quarter. The Bucs finished with 169 passing yards on 8-of-13 through the air after accumulating 190 total passing yards over the first four games. PC's pass defense ranks second in FCS allowing just 146.0 passing yards per game and will put the Bucs' receiving corps to the test.
Hold On To The Ball
Charleston Southern's offensive efforts have continued to be hampered by turnovers this season. The Buccaneers have coughed the ball up 11 times over the first five games on the year. Opponents have been able to recover five fumbles and have taken advantage of six interceptions on the season and have turned CSU's miscues into points the other way. Overall, opponents have turned CSU turnovers into 48 points this season and have swung the tide in the Bucs' games against Elon and Savannah State. The Bucs are currently 83rd overall in turnover margin on the season at -0.40 per game.
Three Bucs Breaking Loose
CSU's rushing attack had three players with at least 70 rushing yards in the same game this season this past weekend against Virginia Lynchburg. Jack Chambers (112) and Terrence Wilson (74) had the Buccaneers' run game moving early in the contest, while Kendrick Bell (75) scored a pair of touchdowns late in the contest. Overall, CSU's rushing attack has been spearheaded with the trio of Wilson, London Johnson, and Ronnie Harris. Wilson leads all CSU backs with 287 yards and 6.2 yards per carry to go with three touchdowns. Johnson, expected back this week against PC, is averaging 57.2 yards per game on the ground, while Harris broke out with the big run in the season-opener at Florida.
Jack Chambers First Start
Jack Chambers made the most of his first collegiate start on Saturday evening as the Lilburn, Ga. native recorded 267 total yards and three touchdowns in leading Charleston Southern to the 58-6 win over Virginia Lynchburg. Chambers finished 7-of-12 through the air with a pair of touchdowns and added 112 yards on the ground on 17 carries to lead CSU's rushing efforts. Chambers connected with Garris Schwarting on the 72-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to essentially secure the game, and then added a 35-yard strike to Kenny Dinkins for his second touchdown pass in the third quarter for his first career multi-touchdown passing effort. He added a 13-yard option keeper for the rushing score on CSU's first drive of the fourth quarter. Chambers paced the offense to season-highs in total offense (503), rushing (334), and passing (169) in the game.
Defensive Back Turnover Party
Jonathan Slaton joined the turnover party on Saturday afternoon as the redshirt senior cornerback recorded his first collegiate interception in the second half against Virginia Lynchburg. Slaton joined Brandon Rowland (Savannah State) and James Allen (Hampton) in the interception category as the Buccaneers forced two turnovers in the game against the Dragons. Slaton opened the year strong with a trio of pass breakups in the opener against Florida. He has continued to provide steady play on the defensive backline helping the Bucs achieve the No. 1 pass defense in FCS for the second consecutive week. He is currently second on the team with three breakups on the year.
When the Buccaneers' defense has been on the field, James Allen has found a way to be around the ball. The senior cornerback leads the Big South Conference with eight pass breakups and has knocked away at least one ball in four of the five games CSU has lined up for in 2018. Allen recorded a trio of pass breakups in back-to-back games against both Hampton and Savannah State and added breakups against both Virginia Lynchburg and Florida. Allen added his first defensive touchdown with the Buccaneers with a pick-six against Hampton in the Bucs' 48-14 win over the Pirates. Allen is currently third in FCS in the category with 1.8 per game. He and the Bucs will look to slow down a Presbyterian passing game that features the top passer in terms of completion percentage in the Big South in Blue Hose quarterback John Walker (63.9%).
Get The Quarterback
Charleston Southern's defense has been unable to generate a pass rush this year compared to its record-setting pace last season. The Buccaneers set a CSU single-season mark last season with 34.0 quarterback takedowns. This season through five games, CSU has posted five sacks with a season-high 2.0 coming in the loss to Savannah State. Senior defensive tackle Johnny Robinson and senior defensive end Jonathan Glover both have 1.5 sacks apiece in 2018 to lead the Bucs' defensively, while J.D. Sosebee (0.5) and Edward King (0.5) combined for the other sack on the year. The Bucs are currently tied for fourth in the team category this season.
Sosebee – The Definition of Tackling Machine
Similar to how James Allen has been around the ball after it leaves the opposing quarterback's hands, J.D. Sosebee has been around the ball carrier this season. The redshirt junior linebacker has led the Buccaneers in tackles in four of the five games this season, including a trio of double-digit tackling efforts against Elon (10), Hampton (10), and Savannah State (13). Sosebee is fifth in the conference with 8.8 tackles per game to pace the Bucs for the second consecutive season. The Gainesville, Ga. native has also been adept at picking up the loose ball this year recording a conference-leading three fumbles in 2018.
Glover Quietly Leading
New to the Buccaneer defensive line this season, Jonathan Glover has quietly asserted himself as one of the top defensive linemen in CSU's rotation. Starting opposite of Solomon Brown, Glover has turned in a solid season sitting sixth on the team in tackles (20), second in tackles for loss (4.5), and tied for the team lead with 1.5 sacks. Glover has been consistent this season with six tackles in each of the last three games. He has also posted 3.5 tackles for loss over the last two games including a team-high 1.5 against Virginia Lynchburg this past Saturday. Glover's stepping up has helped a defensive front that has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks this season.
Brown/Robinson Step Up
CSU's defensive front has been looking toward seniors Solomon Brown and Johnny Robinson to help provide the pressure up front this season. Brown had a breakout game against Savannah State with a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss, while Robinson posted a sack against Elon. The preseason All-Conference duo has provided excitement over the last four years, but CSU will need to continue to get production from the pair as the Bucs head into conference play.
ROWLAND BREAKING OUT
Senior safety Brandon Rowland has utilized his athleticism over the last few weeks to become a mainstay at the top of CSU's defensive unit. The Irmo, S.C. native boasted a top game against Savannah State where he posted five tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and his first blocked kick of the season. Rowland currently is fourth on the team with 6.0 tackles per game this season and has recorded a tackle for loss in each of the last two games. He added a fumble recovery in the win over Hampton, while his interception against Savannah State stalled a Tiger drive deep in CSU territory. His blocked field goal was CSU's first of the season and kept the game within striking distance in the fourth quarter.
Tekac Chasing Records
Charleston Southern senior placekicker Tyler Tekac continues to move up the all-time rankings in both the CSU and the Big South record books. Coming off a career-high 16 point effort that included a personal-best three field goals, Tekac inched his way closer moving to the tops in the record books. Tekac is currently trailing former CSU kicker Clint Kelly (24) by one field goal for third all-time in the category. He is also seven points behind Mike Holloway (188) for second all-time in career points scored with the Bucs. Tekac is also climbing in the extra point rankings with 112 career conversions, sitting 15 behind Nick Ellis (127) for CSU's all-time lead. Tekac is 10th all-time in Big South history in PATs made.
Reighard Kicking It Away
Redshirt junior punter Kyle Reighard continues his leadership on one of the best punt units in the country as the Buccaneers enter the weekend ranked third overall in net punting on the season. The Bucs have posted a 41.83 net average per punt attempt behind the leg of the preseason All-Conference selection. Reighard has posted two punts of at least 50 yards this season and has once again excelled in pinning opponents deep within their own territory. Reighard has posted nine punts inside the 20 this season and forced 10 fair catches on the season. He has averaged at least 40.2 yards per punt in each of the five games this year and increased his punting average nearly two full yards from last season (43.1-41.4).