Bucs Set to Kick Off Home Schedule against JacksonvilleSeptember 7, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern looks to christen the new Athletic Center with a win on its first football gameday as the Bucs host Jacksonville in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff at Buccaneer Field. Here’s a phase-by-phase look at some of the factors that will decide the matchup.
CSU leads the all-time series with the Dolphins 5-2, but fell, 37-30, at Jacksonville last season. Both squads will be looking to rebound from lopsided opening day defeats, as CSU dropped a 49-14 final at The Citadel, while Jacksonville was blanked, 58-0, by No. 3 Georgia Southern.
LIVE STATS | LIVE VIDEO | LIVE AUDIO
CSU had little trouble moving the football against JU last September 17, as the Bucs racked up a season-high 327 yards rushing en route to 30 points. Malcolm Dixon led the way with 163 yards on 27 carries, and earned Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. Dixon did most of his damage out of the read option, while Teddy Allen also eclipsed the century mark with 125 yards on 13 carries. Dixon also had success through the air when the Bucs did go away from the ground attack, going 9-for-14 for 84 yards and a touchdown – a 25-yarder to tight end Carson Leshin on a misdirection play.
JU returns eight starters from a defense which ranked as the Pioneer League’s 2nd best against the pass in 2011. One reason for that is the ability to generate a pass rush, as the Dolphins tallied 34 sacks last year. Four of those came against CSU, with two by defensive end Ludji Michel, a Phil Steele 2nd Team All-PFL selection. Colby Walden returns as the veteran member of the secondary, and had three tackles and the game-sealing interception with 34 seconds left against the Bucs last year.
The Bucs figure to attack JU on the ground again in this meeting, as they attempt to build off the second quarter success that produced 14 points in last week’s opener at The Citadel. CSU put touchdown drives of 98 and 26 yards together back-to-back, twice turning Citadel turnovers into points. Dixon (55 yards on 17 carries) and Allen (56 yards on 11 carries) did a bulk of the Bucs’ damage out of the triple option look, while CSU was also able to hit several big passes out of the formation, including a 15-yard touchdown to Chase Jones.
The Charleston Southern defense will look to turn the page after a tough 2012 debut which saw it yield 479 yards rushing and 527 yards of total offense to a veteran Citadel team in its third year of running the triple option. In its home opener, CSU will oppose a Jacksonville offense which lost nine starters from a year ago. At the head of the list of key contributors lost for the Dolphins is four-year starting quarterback Josh McGregor, who threw for over 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns as the Dolphins went 10-1 and 7-4 the last two seasons. Another key loss is wide receiver Josh Philpart, McGregor’s top target who enjoyed a stellar rookie season in the Arena Football League and spent time in training camp with the Minnesota Vikings.
One of the starters JU does return is senior tight end Quintin Davis, a College Football Performance Awards Watch List nominee who caught four passes for 117 yards, including the game-winning 42 yard touchdown, against CSU last year.
Although it was shut out and gained only 178 yards of offense against Georgia Southern last week, the Dolphins moved the football several times before turning it over. Starting quarterback Kade Bell (son of Head Coach Kerwin Bell) threw two interceptions, while back-up Trevius Folston was picked once.
CSU will also have to do a better job of containing the JU running game than it did last year, as the Dolphins recorded 180 yards rushing out of their spread offense, with returning starting running back Keith Dawson tallying 41 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
CSU Head Coach Jay Mills, special teams coordinator Matthew Smiley and the rest of the Bucs were pleased with the debuts of two new kickers against The Citadel. Cameron Mitchell boomed three punts a total of 121 yards, while Mark Deboy had a touchback and connected on each of his extra points.
A focus for CSU on Saturday will be limited JU’s Colby Walden, a dangerous returner who could be the best the Bucs will face all season. Walden had a touchdown return called back due to penalty last week at Georgia Southern, and took the opening kickoff back for a 93-yard touchdown to open up last year’s game against the Bucs. Walden also sprung a 43-yard return to set up another JU touchdown in last year’s matchup, so containing him will be crucial in the battle for field position.