CHARLESTON, S.C. – After a perfect 3-0 home stand, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (4-4, 2-1) head back on the road in search of a fourth-consecutive win as CSU takes on the Liberty Flames (3-5, 2-1) this Saturday in Lynchburg, Virginia . Kickoff is at 3:3 7 p.m. at Williams Stadium .
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Historically, the Flames have had plenty of success against
CSU head coach Jay Mills knows the Bucs will have their hands full with the Flames, especially on the road , “
After a slow start to the season, the Bucs’ offense has begun to catch its stride. During the three-game winning streak, CSU is averaging over 450 yards of total offense (329 rushing yards per game) , while scoring 35 points per game. With the recent offensive-surge, the Bucs have moved up to the second in the league in rushing (207 ypg ).
The offense never looked better than during the 42-7 win over Edward Waters last week. The Bucs rushed for 409 yards, which was eight yards shy of the school record (417 –
Senior quarterback Malcom Dixon has had one of the best three-game stretches of his career. In addition to leading the offense to three-consecutive wins, Dixon has been an impressive 16-of-20 for 307 yards, four touchdowns and maybe most importantly, no interceptions. During the winning streak ,
The Flames’ offense is steered by a redshirt-freshman quarterback, Josh Woodrum. The young quarterback is second in the Big South in pass efficiency. He has completed over 70% of his passes while throwing for 1,538 yards and nine touchdowns with eight interceptions. In the backfield behind Woodrum are a couple of veteran running backs in senior, Sirchauncey Holloway and junior, Aldreakis Allen. Allen has led the way on the ground with 705 yards rushing (second in the Big South behind Miguel Maysonet of Stony Brook) and five rushing touchdowns. Holloway is close behind his senior teammate with 569 yards rushing and also five touchdowns. Each of the backs has a receiving touchdown as well.
The Flamers wideouts are led by Pat Kelly, one of the top wide outs in the Big South. The senior from
Mills talked about his team’s approach in defending
The Bucs’ defense has also started to shine heading into the final three games of the season. One of the most important aspects of this defense is the unit’s ability to make adjustments in the locker room at halftime under first-year defensive coordinator Shawn Quinn. In the second halves of the last three games, CSU has allowed one touchdown. Edward Waters scored a late touchdown against
Charleston Southern has had the luxury of having consistent players at each level of their defense. Safety, Elijah Lee, is second on the team with 38 tackles while leading the team in passes defended with seven. Senior-cornerback, Charles James, also has seven passes defended despite missing one game with a hand injury. Linebacker, Zack Johnson leads the team with 49 tackles and a forced fumble. On the defensive line, Will Hunt has given opposing offensive linemen fits with his athleticism, leading the team in quarterback hurries. Isaac McKenzie is first on the team with three sacks.
Liberty brings out a bend-but-don’t-break defense that is one of the top units in the Big South. The Flames are holding opponents to 25.5 points per game (second in conference) while leading the conference in yards allowed per game (311). The run defense of the Flames has been the stingiest in the league, holding opponents to 131 yards per game.
The Bucs have shown extensive improvement on both sides of the ball but especially defensively. CSU has had the luxury to be close enough in games that the halftime adjustments allowed the Bucs to come out on top. This Saturday, CSU may not have that kind of time. The Bucs will need to come out clicking on all cylinders, especially defensively, so they do not have to play catch-up with the Flames.
Special teams for CSU has slowly been showing signs of improvement. Extra points have been a struggle at times for the Bucs, but last week Tyson Pryor showed consistency in the kicking game, knocking through six PATs in the win over Edward Waters. Punter, Cameron Mitchell has also been improving. The freshman is averaging slightly under 37 yards per punt.
Liberty had a legitimate threat in the return game with Senior return-man Kevin Fogg. Fogg is the only player in the Big South this season to return a punt for a touchdown, but he suffered a season-ending foot injury three weeks ago.
Mills likes the direction his team is headed , “We’re moving in the right direction. We just need to keep getting better. Our theme has been, we’re not going to change things. We just want to do what we do, and do it a little bit better this week than we did last week and we’ll be pleased.”