CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern closes out the season on the road at Johnson Hagood Stadium as the Buccaneers head to The Citadel for a Lowcountry showdown on Thursday, November 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.
All game day information is available on the Game Day Central page.
Charleston Southern has finished above .500 in each of the last five seasons and will look to make it six in a row with a win Thursday night against The Citadel. The Bucs have posted a 46-24 cumulative record over the six-year span including four wins over the Bulldogs during the stretch dating back to 2013.
The series has swung in favor of the Buccaneers over the last four meetings as CSU moved the all-time series to 5-5 all-time following the two teams' last matchup in the FCS Second Round back in 2015. The Bucs have won the last four meetings and five of the last seven dating back to 2006. CSU and The Citadel will continue their rivalry through the 2021 season with the current contract between the teams.
Thursday's game is a makeup from CSU and The Citadel's scheduled contest on September 15. The game was postponed due to Hurricane Florence and rescheduled for November 29 contingent on neither team making the FCS postseason. It is the first of a four-game series between the rivals.
Scouting the Opposition
The Citadel looks to snap its four-game losing streak against Charleston Southern on Thursday night at Johnson Hagood Stadium. After dominating the series early against the Buccaneers with wins in five of the first six contests, CSU has swung the momentum in its favor with wins in each of the last four matchups.
The Citadel finished tied for fifth in the Southern Conference standings following the conclusion of conference play. The Bulldogs picked up wins over Mercer, VMI, Western Carolina, and Samford to finish in a three-way tie with a 4-4 record in conference competition.
Nine Bulldogs received postseason SoCon All-Conference recognition led by unanimous First Team selections Tyler Davis (OL) and Matthew Campbell (P). Davis was the anchor on the offensive line that helped the unit rush for 290.2 yards per game. Campbell has averaged 44.1 yards per punt and led the SoCon with 15 punts over 50 yards on the season.
Citadel running back Dante Smith had a day to remember in the Bulldogs last game leading up to Thursday's matchup. Smith rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries scoring on runs of 44 and 45 yards against Alabama in Tuscaloosa on November 17.
The Bulldogs run the traditional triple-option offense lining up under center. The Citadel is seventh in FCS averaging 290.2 rushing yards per game on the season paced by Lorenzo Ward's 76.4 yards per game. Overall, four different players have posted at least 80 carries on the season paced by Ward's 170 attempts.
Defensively, The Citadel has owned the line of scrimmage against its opponents this season. The Bulldogs finished second in the SoCon in tackles for loss at 6.9 per game and third in sacks (2.70). Noah Dawkins leads the way with 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, while Joseph Randolph is close behind at 13.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks on the season.
Charleston Southern placed 10 players on the Big South All-Conference teams as voted on by the conference's head coaches and media panel, the conference office announced. Cornerback James Allen, linebacker J.D. Sosebee, and defensive linemen Solomon Brown and Johnny Robinson all earned First Team All-Conference recognition. Safeties Brandon Rowland and Shadarius Hopkins, offensive linemen Joe Gold and Brackin Smith, long snapper Ethan Ray, and punter Kyle Reighard were all recognized on the Second Team. Allen doubled up to earn Big South All-Academic honors.
Terrence Wilson Setting Himself Apart
Sophomore Terrence Wilson has established himself as the go-to running back in the CSU backfield this season and is coming off back-to-back games where he led the team in rushing yards. Wilson boasts a pair of 100-yard rushing performances this season eclipsing the century mark against both Hampton (103) and Gardner-Webb (137). The game against the Runnin' Bulldogs established a new career-high for the Leesville, S.C. native as he averaged 7.2 yards per carry over his 19 attempts in the Bucs' win over GWU. He added six carries for 67 yards at Campbell before leading the game due to injury. If he is in on the field on Thursday, Wilson will be one to watch as the Buccaneers running backs have seen success against the Bulldogs' defensive front in the past.
All-Conference Offensive Line
Paced by Second Team All-Conference selections Joe Gold and Brackin Smith II, the Buccaneers offensive line has continued to pave the way up front for CSU this season. Gold and Smith both received the postseason accolades for the first time in their CSU careers and are joined by an experienced crew including redshirt juniors Stephen Haralambis and Zack Evans, as well as redshirt senior Gage Bostwick. The Bucs have bulldozed their way to six 200-yard rushing performances including each of their last two contests. CSU will look to the experienced front to keep the backfield clean against a Citadel unit averaging 2.7 sacks and 6.9 tackles per loss per game.
Kenny Dinkins Moving On Up
Kenny Dinkins heads into his final game with the Buccaneers looking to enhance his already strong career at CSU. The senior wide receiver leads the Bucs with 17 receptions for 277 yards and a touchdown this year and has been CSU's leading receiver in four games in 2018. Dinkins has taken over the reins as the Bucs' primary receiver due to an early injury to Kameron Brown and has come up with a number of key catches this season. The Lawtey, Fla. native is currently eighth all-time in CSU history with 1,042 career receiving yards and seventh all-time with 11 touchdowns.
London Johnson In The Shotgun
Quarterback London Johnson is expected back in the backfield for CSU's season finale against the Bulldogs. The redshirt junior quarterback has been banged up at times this year but has battled his way through injuries to lead CSU's passing efforts while sitting second in rushing in 2018. Johnson posted an early 119 yard, three touchdown game on the ground this season against Elon. He added 117 passing yards and 96 rushing yards on the ground at Monmouth. The Clio, S.C. native has the ability to extend drives with his feet. He will look to stretch the field and keep the Bulldog defense honest. The Citadel is allowing an average of 270.9 passing yards per game in 2018 and has struggled to stop the ball in the air on the year.
Charleston Southern has gone from one of the nation's worst at holding onto the ball to one of the best. The Buccaneers enter Saturday's contest ranked eighth overall in FCS with a +1.00 turnover margin and will look to widen the mark. After surrendering 11 turnovers over the first four games of the year, the Buccaneers have protected the football since entering conference play. CSU has given up three turnovers in their last six games and posted a +14 margin over the last five games forcing 17 turnovers in games against Virginia Lynchburg, Presbyterian, Kennesaw State, Monmouth, Gardner-Webb, and Campbell. In each of CSU's Big South wins this season, the Bucs have held onto the football.
Converting Third Downs
One area Charleston Southern's offense has struggled this season is converting third downs. The Buccaneers posted a season-high six third-down conversions two weeks ago against Gardner-Webb but were 4-of-14 in their last game against Campbell. The Bucs have converted just 36-of-123 third-down attempts on the season, which has limited CSU's offense to holding onto the ball an average of 28:01 per game in the time of possession battle. CSU will need to find a way to convert and keep the ground-and-pound rushing attack of the Bulldogs off the field.
Four-Time All-Conference Selection
Redshirt senior BUC Solomon Brown has put together a storied career on the CSU defense. Brown earned All-Conference First Team recognition for the fourth consecutive season after pacing the conference with 11.5 tackles for loss. Brown finished runner-up for the Big South Defensive Player of the Year and led the Big South's defensive linemen with 7.0 tackles per game. He posted a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss against Savannah State and added three more tackles behind the line of scrimmage at Campbell. He became just the 13th player in Big South history to achieve All-Conference distinction in each of his four seasons and paced the defensive front for the year. Brown posted multiple tackles for loss in three games in 2018 and added a forced fumble at Monmouth and a fumble recovery against Presbyterian.
All-Conference Tackle Up The Middle
Joining Solomon Brown on the All-Conference team on the defensive line for the second consecutive season was senior defensive tackle Johnny Robinson. Robinson was back on the First Team after finishing among the conference's sack and forced fumble leaders. Robinson finished sixth in the Big South with 3.0 sacks on the year and added two forced fumbles. Among his 2018 highlights included eight tackles against Kennesaw State. He added two tackles for loss and a sack against Elon at Buccaneer Field. Robinson dominated the middle in a key game against Gardner-Webb this season with seven tackles and two behind the line of scrimmage. He added a sack and forced fumble in the season finale against Campbell. He will be one of the keys at the point of attack for the Buccaneers against The Citadel.
J.D. Sosebee Can Make Plays
J.D. Sosebee continues to be all over the field this season. The redshirt junior linebacker earned First Team All-Conference recognition after finishing fifth in the Big South with 7.1 tackles per game. The Gainesville, Ga. native also led the Big South with three fumble recoveries. Among his season highlights included four double-digit tackling efforts including a career-high 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against Savannah State. He added 11 tackles and two more behind the line of scrimmage against Campbell. The Gainesville, Ga. native earned All-Conference Second Team recognition in 2017 and boosted his career into becoming one of the top playmakers in the Big South this season.
James Allen – Have a Career Day
Senior cornerback James Allen has been one of the top ballhawks in the country this season. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native showcased his skills on the field in the last game against Campbell setting several CSU and Big South records along the way. Allen tied a CSU single-game record with three interceptions and added a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Bucs' score just before the half that put CSU ahead 9-0 in the eventual 12-7 win. Allen posted an interception at the goal line early in the second quarter to end the Campbell drive. His six interceptions this season are tied for the most in a single season in Bucs' history. His three interception returns for scores established new CSU and Big South single-season and career marks. His 208 interception return yards are also a Big South and CSU single-season mark. Against a team that does not throw the ball often, Allen's chances may be limited to add to his totals against The Citadel.
Three members of CSU's defensive back quartet affectionately known as "F4" earned All-Conference recognition this season. James Allen (First), Shadarius Hopkins and Brandon Rowland (Second) all earned conference recognition for their prowess on the field. Allen led the Big South in interceptions, while Hopkins and Rowland were both among the Big South's tackling leaders among defensive backs. Jonathan Slaton narrowly missed out on being the fourth Buccaneer to earn All-Conference recognition and has been another top playmaker for CSU's defensive backs opening the season with three pass breakups against Florida, while adding a pick-six in conference play against Presbyterian. The Bucs will rely on all four to keep the ball in front of them against an option-heavy team in the Bulldogs.
Forcing the Turnover
After struggling to get a turnover early in the year, the Buccaneers are plus-14 in the category over the last six games to sit eighth overall in FCS at +1.00 per game in 2018. Allen (six interceptions) headlines the Bucs' efforts as six different players picked off passes for CSU this season. Most impressive are CSU's 12 fumble recoveries on the year – a number good enough for seventh in the country heading into the season finale. The Citadel is +0.20 in turnover margin on the season and has lost nine fumbles heading into Thursday night's matchup.
Punting For Distance
Kyle Reighard earned All-Conference recognition for the second consecutive season after finishing second in the Big South in punt average (41.0) and net punting (38.2). The redshirt junior from Salem, Va. dropped 20 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line to lead the Big South and provided a viable weapon in both the punt and kickoff games for CSU in 2018. Reighard also doubled up as CSU's holder in 2018 and will look to again impact the competition on Thursday night in Johnson Hagood.
Snapper Making a Difference
Ethan Ray lived up to his preseason All-Conference recognition in earning Second Team All-Conference honors as the long snapper. The redshirt sophomore averaged a 0.72 snap time and helped the Bucs' unit post snap-to-kick averages of 2.06. He was responsible for six fair catch calls in special teams coverage and downed the ball inside the opponents' 10-yard line four times in 2018.
Tyler Tekac heads into the final game of his CSU playing career sitting five points shy of tying CSU's all-time points mark. Tekac has already put together a season for the books connecting on a career-high 50-yard attempt against Gardner-Webb and added a pair of 49-yard field goals, including one this past game against Campbell. It's a return to where his playing career started back at Johnson Hagood where Tekac connected from both 37 and 32 yards in CSU's 33-20 win over the Bulldogs on September 26, 2015.
Player of the Week
Justin McIntire became the fourth Buccaneer to earn Special Teams Player of the Week recognition after leading CSU's efforts against Campbell. The sophomore linebacker broke through the middle and blocked a Campbell punt that moved out-of-bounds at the CU 5 yards line and set up Tekac's first field goal of the day. He joins Reighard (twice) and James Allen as the Bucs to receive the conference's weekly award in 2018.