SAVANNAH, Ga. - Savannah State took advantage of a pair of Charleston Southern first half turnovers and the Tigers limited the Buccaneers in the second half as CSU fell on the road at Wright Stadium on Saturday night, 23-3.
CSU (1-3) struggled in the second half recording one first down and 12 yards over the final 30 minutes as the Buccaneers were unable to keep Savannah State (1-4) off the field. The Tigers held onto the ball for over 21 minutes in the second half and picked up a late Jaylen McCloud touchdown to seal the victory over the Bucs.
SSU (1-4) picked up its first win of the series against Charleston Southern behind 213 rushing yards and McCloud's pair of touchdowns. Quarterback D'vonn Gibbons paced the Savannah State rushing attack with 68 yards and a score of his own.
The Bucs were led by Ronnie Harris' 18 rushing yards as the Bucs finished the game with 33 team rushing yards on 34 carries. CSU's quarterbacks were a combined 10-of-19 through the air for 90 yards and an interception.
Savannah State posted 6.0 sacks with Aaron Robinson and Stefen Banks both recording a pair of sacks apiece in the win. Donald Rutledge added a 75-yard interception return in the first half to go with two tackles.
Following an Adam Allen fumble, Savannah State drove six plays for 32 yards and the 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. The second touchdown widened the gap between the teams and built a lead that would prove to be unsurmountable in the Bucs' loss.
James Kicklighter carried the ball 21 yards down to the CSU 11 on the first play of the drive. McCloud went the rest of the way with the two-yard plunge on second and goal doubling the Savannah State lead and propelling the Tigers to the 14-3 lead at the half.
How They Scored
- Savannah State took advantage of a long interception return to score the first points of the game on D'vonn Gibbons' three-yard option touchdown run between the tackles with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter. Donald Rutledge's 75-yard interception return and a CSU penalty on the return put SSU in good field position.
- CSU's second turnover of the game set up another short field for Savannah State and the Tigers capitalized on their second touchdown of the game. Jaylen McCloud took it in from two yards out to cap the 6-play, 32-yard scoring drive with 5:07 to play in the half.
- London Johnson targeted Kenny Dinkins for the 32-yard pass to set up Tyler Tekac's 35-yard field goal prior to halftime to put the Buccaneers on the scoreboard.
- Savannah State added a safety in the fourth quarter on a CSU intentional grounding penalty in the end zone with 6:11 to play in the game.
- Jaylen McCloud added a late five-yard touchdown run following CSU's turnover on downs with 1:23 to play in the contest.
Inside the Numbers
- Charleston Southern was held to 33 total rushing yards in the contest after recording at least 220 in each of its first three games on the season.
- The Buccaneers turned the ball over twice in the contest with Savannah State converting both into first half touchdowns.
- CSU was held to one first down over the final 30 minutes of the contest in the loss to the Tigers.
- The Bucs were outgained 224-123 overall in total yardage.
- Savannah State recorded 213 rushing yards in the game, a season-high for the Tigers.
- The Tigers won the time of possession battle 33:16–26:44.
News & Notes of Interest
- Savannah State picked up its first win in the all-time series against Charleston Southern. The Bucs had won the first seven matchups, including last season's 52-27 win at Buccaneer Field.
- Solomon Brown recorded a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss in the game and now has 42.0 career tackles for loss with the Bucs.
- James Allen recorded his team-leading fifth pass breakup in the fourth quarter preventing the touchdown pass.
- Brandon Rowland recorded his first interception of the season and added CSU's first blocked kick since Jonathan Slaton knocked the attempt down against Point last season.
- Savannah State was the first team to record a safety against the Bucs since Mississippi State did in the 2017 season opener.
Charleston Southern starts a three-game homestand next weekend as the Buccaneers host Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday night at Buccaneer Field. Kickoff between CSU and VUL is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN+.