Johnson's career day leads Charleston Southern past Savannah State, 52-27

Johnson's career day leads Charleston Southern past Savannah State, 52-27

CHARLESTON, S.C. - London Johnson eclipsed career highs in both passing and rushing yards to pace Charleston Southern to its 15th consecutive non-conference home win on Saturday night with the 52-27 win over Savannah State.

Johnson finished with a career-high 117 rushing yards on 16 carries and then added 219 yards passing and four touchdowns to pace a CSU (4-3) effort that eclipsed 50 points at home for the third time this season. The Buccaneers have outscored the opposition 176-34 this season at Buccaneer Field with wins over Point, Mississippi Valley State, and Savannah State.

Johnson connected with Saire Davis for two first-half touchdown passes and then added second-half scores to Qua-Vonn Scott and Taz Lindsey as the Bucs' balanced attack racked up 527 yards' total offense.

CSU's defense held an opponent under 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season as the Bucs allowed just 24 yards on 24 carries. The Tigers completed 14 of 32 passes through the air for 190 yards.

Solomon Brown led a resurgent defensive effort with a career-high 2.5 sacks and an interception as CSU handed Savannah State its 40th consecutive road loss. Zane Cruz added six tackles, while Mike Taylor picked up his first sack of the season in the CSU win.

How They Scored

  • Ronnie Harris put the Bucs on the board early with a 16-yard touchdown run on CSU's first offensive possession. The carry capped a six-play, 61-yard drive that spanned 2:54 in the first quarter.
  • Giovanni Lugo connected on a 20-yard field goal to put Savannah State on the board. The short try came after the Bucs stopped the Tigers three times inside the CSU 5-yard line to end the 13-play drive.
  • The Bucs made short work on their next scoring drive as Johnson connected with Saire Davis on a 45-yard post route over the middle to cap a four-play, 75-yard drive.
  • D'Vonn Gibbons found Uriah Oliver in the left flat for a 20-yard touchdown pass with one minute remaining in the first quarter to pull the Tigers back at 14-10 to end a six-play, 69-yard drive.
  • Jaylen McCloud put the Tigers on top early in the second quarter as Savannah State took advantage of a fumble on the punt attempt to take the 17-14 lead. The SSU running back plowed in from two yards out for the go-ahead score.
  • CSU tied the game up on the following drive as Tyler Tekac connected on a 42-yard field goal attempt, his fourth field goal of the season.
  • Taz Lindsey found the end zone with a six yard run on the Bucs' next possession to end a four-play, 48-yard drive and give CSU the 24-17 lead.
  • Johnson connected with Davis for the second time just before the half as the duo found each other on an 11-yard pitch-and-catch with 47 seconds remaining in the first half to give CSU the 31-17 lead.
  • An early CSU fumble in the second half was again converted to Savannah State points as Lugo connected on a 32-yard field goal with 13:54 to play in the quarter.
  • Johnson added a third touchdown pass with a 17-yard toss to Lindsey in the right front corner of the end zone. Johnson's approach of the line of scrimmage allowed Lindsey to shake the defender and free up the space for the catch to give CSU the 38-20 lead.
  • Qua-Vonn Scott was the recipient of Johnson's fourth touchdown pass of the contest as the sophomore tight end hauled in the 29-yard reception with 3:38 left in the third quarter to extend the Bucs' lead to 45-20.
  • Chanin Hamilton recorded his first touchdown run of the season in the fourth quarter with a nine-yard score to cap a nine-play, 81-yard drive that spanned 5:16 to cap CSU's scoring on the evening.
  • Derek Kirkland hauled in Gibbons' nine-yard pass with 12 seconds left to end the scoring in the contest.

Inside the Numbers

  • Charleston Southern eclipsed 300 yards' rushing for the third time in the 207 season as the Bucs gained 308 yards on the ground on 54 carries. All three of CSU's 300-yard games have come at home this season.
  • London Johnson's previous career highs in both passing and rushing came in the 2016 season against Bucknell with the quarterback accumulating 82 passing yards and 80 rushing yards in CSU's win over the Bison.
  • The Bucs accumulated 200-yards passing for the second time this season as Johnson connected on 13-of-19 passes through the air for 219 yards. CSU's quarterbacks combined for 300 passing yards in CSU's win over Point on September 23.
  • Ronnie Harris established a new career-high with 78 rushing yards on eight carries in the win. Harris added his second touchdown run of the season.
  • Taz Lindsey and Chanin Hamilton both picked up their first rushing touchdowns of the season against the Tigers.
  • Saire Davis' two touchdown receptions were his first two touchdowns of the season. It was Davis' second multi-touchdown game; his first came against Bucknell last season.
  • Kameron Brown paced CSU's receiving efforts with three catches for 74 yards.
  • Qua-Vonn Scott had a career-high three catches for 39 yards to go with his first collegiate receiving touchdown.
  • Solomon Brown established a new career-high following his 2.5 sack game against the Tigers. Brown entered the contest without a sack this season after recording 10.5 over his first two years.
  • Brown's interception was the second of his career. His first was returned for 28 yards for a touchdown in 2015 against Gardner-Webb.
  • The Bucs' defense forced multiple turnovers for the fourth consecutive game. CSU is plus-6 in turnover margin in the 2017 season.
  • Tyler Tekac connected on his fourth field goal of the season, marking the second straight season he has achieved the mark. Tekac has made 15 field goals in his career.

News and Notes

  • London Johnson became the first CSU quarterback since the 2013 season to reach 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in the same game. Johnson's 219 passing yards and 117 rushing yards made him the first quarterback to reach the mark since CSU alum and current running backs coach Malcolm Dixon reached the mark in back-to-back games in the 2013 season. Dixon recorded 102 yards rushing and 123 yards passing against Shorter (Sept. 7) and 135 yards rushing and 140 yards passing against Campbell (Sept. 14).
  • CSU extended its home non-conference winning streak to 16 games and ensured the streak would stay alive for another year as the Bucs topped Savannah State on Saturday. The streak dates back to the 2012 season when CSU started the stretch with a 42-7 win over Edward Waters on October 27.
  • The Bucs have won eight contests against FCS foes during the stretch with the win on Saturday against Savannah State.
  • CSU added four more sacks to its total on Saturday evening against Savannah State. The Bucs have a conference-leading 25.0 on the season with 19.0 coming in three games this year.
  • CSU held onto the ball a season-best 38:28 in Saturday's win over the Tigers.
  • Nick Sands made his first start of the 2017 season on the defensive line in the game for the Buccaneers.
  • Johnson's four touchdown passes on Saturday made him just the 15th quarterback in program history to achieve the mark in a single game. Shane Bucenell achieved the mark last season in CSU's win over Coastal Carolina. Only CSU and Big South Hall of Famer Collin Drafts has thrown for more touchdowns in a game at CSU with the former great tossing five touchdowns twice in his career.
  • Eight CSU players have recorded rushing touchdowns this season with Chanin Hamilton and Taz Lindsey both scoring on the ground against Savannah State.
  • Lindsey and Qua-Vonn Scott both recorded their first collegiate receiving touchdowns.
  • The Bucs improved to 7-0 all-time against Savannah State with the win over the Tigers.
  • CSU improves to 8-13 all-time against the MEAC with the win.

Tweet of the Game

They Said It
Coach Mark Tucker, London Johnson, and Solomon Brown caught up with the CSU Sports Information staff following the win.

Danielle Says It Best

Up Next
The Bucs remain at home next weekend as CSU hosts its annual Homecoming game against Monmouth at Buccaneer Field on Saturday, October 28. The game will also double as CSU's Hall of Fame Game as the Bucs will inducted the 2017 Class on Saturday morning prior to the contest. Kickoff between the Bucs and the Hawks is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN3.

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