CLINTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern running back Christian Reyes became the program's first 1,000-yard rusher and the Buccaneer defense shutout Presbyterian in the fourth quarter of tight game as CSU beat PC, 27-16, on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
The Buccaneers pick up their ninth win of the season to match the school record and move to 2-0 in Big South play. CSU is now 9-1 on the year and equals the 2006 squad, which went 9-2, for wins in a season. PC falls to 3-5 and 1-1 in the Big South on the year.
The win sets up one of the biggest matchups in Big South Conference history as the Bucs host rival Coastal Carolina next Saturday at 1 p.m. CCU is ranked No. 3 in a number of national polls, while the Bucs entered Saturday at No. 18 in the FCS Coaches' Poll.
"I'm sure it will be an exciting week," CSU Head Coach Jamey Chadwell said following the Bucs' win. "Every game is important and kids aren't naïve. They can look at the rankings and schedules and they know what's at stake. We're going to tell them it's no bigger than the next one. "
Reyes rushed for 114 yards on 20 carries and added his seventh touchdown of the year to move to 1,067 yards on the season, the most in CSU history. Freshman Mike Holloway added 63 yards on seven carries to go with Zach Frazier's 26 yards and 1-yard TD run as the Buccaneers piled up 288 yards rushing in the win.
"Sometimes, its not pretty, but when you want to win and you're 2-0 and 9-1, you love them all," Chadwell said. "The first half was a slugfest. We were fortunate to get that turnover and go up 14-3. They came out and were really firing in the second half. We were able to answer and get the two turnovers there in the fourth quarter and put things out of reach."
CSU, again, held the ball for 37:16, almost twice its opponent, to control the clock and the game. The Bucs held Presbyterian to 47 yards on the ground. The Buccaneers also won the turnover battle, 3-0, intercepting PC quarterback Heys McMath twice and forcing one Blue Hose fumble. It has been a part of the Bucs' recipe for wins all season long.
"That's our plan (ball control and turnovers)," Chadwell added. "Try to let the defense play as fast as we can and rest them when we've got the ball. It wasn't pretty at times, I felt like we left some things out there, but our guys believe in what we do and we find a way."
CSU got timely throws and a solid contribution running the football from quarterback Danny Croghan III, who finished 7-of-19 for 108 yards and a TD. He also had 46 yards rushing on six carries.
Reyes, again, carried the load, ripping off a 37-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give CSU a 21-10 lead at the time. The Bucs ground PC down over the final 20 minutes to seal the win.
The Buccaneers held a 288-47 advantage on the ground, but PC stayed in the game with an 18-of-36 effort from McMath for 298 yards and two TDs.
The two teams traded punts on their opening possessions as the Bucs' Tre Deloach sacked McMath near midfield to end the Blue Hose opening drive.
PC would score first to take a 3-0 lead as Doar knocked home a 34-yard field goal to cap a 6-play, 39-yard drive and give the Blue Hose a 3-0 lead. McMath found Antigha for 35 yards for the majority of the yardage on the drive.
The Bucs needed just three plays to take their first lead of the game. Croghan found Larry Jones III on a post for a 51-yard touchdown. Jones tipped the ball in to himself to beat the man-to-man coverage and give CSU a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.
CSU's defense controlled the second quarter, holding PC to 39 yards of offense and a pair of punts as the Bucs built on their lead.
PC's Cannon Jordan fumbled a Truett Burns punt just before the half to set the Bucs up with a short field following the Christian Reyes recovery.
Four carries – including a 1-yard TD plunge – from Zach Frazier and the Bucs grabbed a 14-3 lead just before the half.
The Buccaneers held PC to 88 yards in the opening half and only five first downs.
PC would open the second half with its best drive of the game. McMath found McKie for 47 yards and Williams for another 17 yards to move the ball inside the five. McMath would connect with Roberts dragging back across the field for a 5-yard touchdown to cut the CSU lead to 14-10.
CSU would build its lead right back to double digits as Reyes capped a 7-play, 68-yard drive with a 37-yard TD run, his longest TD run of the season, to give the Bucs a 21-10 lead. Reyes had 53 yards rushing on the drive on three carries and the touchdown.
PC would waste little time coming right back at the Bucs. McMath found McKie for a 32-yard TD pass just in between two Buc defenders at the goal line for a 32-yard touchdown to cut the CSU lead to 21-16 at the time.
The Buccaneers would go to work with their ground game, putting together two drives of over four minutes in the final quarter to extend their lead to two possessions at 27-16. Kicker Mark Deboy connected on field goals of 35 and 23 yards to ice it for the Buccaneers.
Kickoff with Coastal Carolina next Saturday is at 1 p.m. at Buccaneer Field.