Crushing conclusion for CSU

  • Thursday, November 28, 2013

Charleston Southern’s record-setting football season came to a crushing conclusion on Saturday with a 56-14 home loss to Liberty at Buccaneer Field.

The Flames built a 21-0 lead and rode the momentum of four interceptions to hand the Buccaneers their second loss in as many weeks. It cost CSU the Big South title and bid to the FCS Playoffs.

CSU’s season ended at 10-3 and 3-2 in Big South play. Liberty finished 8-4 and tied Coastal Carolina at 4-1 for the Big South title. Coastal advanced to the FCS Playoffs.

Just three weeks ago CSU defeated the Chanticleers and appeared to have the inside track on the Big South title.

But it all came crashing down the last two weeks.

Last week, the Bucs were defeated by Gardner-Webb.

“There are a lot of great things to take away from this season,” first-year coach Jamey Chadwell said. “It was a special year. I wish it could have ended on a more positive note. We had a special senior class and the way we were able to get this program turned around this season makes it a special year.”

The season saw the Bucs win a school record 10 games and reach No. 12 in the FCS Polls, the highest spot in school history.

But the final loss dashed the Bucs hopes of their first Big South title in eight years and kept CSU from making the first FCS Playoff appearance in program history.

The Bucs’ senior class, although small and decimated by injuries, wanted to leave its mark.

“It was a tough loss just because of the last few seasons,” Bucs linebacker Calvin Bryant said. “We went 0-11 (in 2011). It has been a struggle and to be so close like we were this year to the playoffs, it stings. We had chances and we didn’t take it. We didn’t come out with the fire we needed to have.”

Liberty quarterback Josh Woodrum ran for a touchdown and threw for two more – he had three on the day - in building a 21-0 lead at the half.

The Bucs offense sputtered, with three first half interceptions and 112 total yards in the opening two quarters.

The Bucs were also their own worst enemy with 14 penalties for 87 yards, almost all before halftime.

Liberty went on to pull away over the final two quarters.

Running back Christian Reyes’ record-setting season came to an end with 38 yards on 10 carries as he finished with almost 1,300 career yards, the most ever for a Buccaneer player.

Senior Eli Lee had 10 tackles and two tackles for loss to lead the Bucs defense. Matt Hardy added nine stops in his final game at Buccaneer Field.

Former Goose Creek High School standout Kevin Glears finished the season with a team-high 31 receptions for 456 yards and six touchdowns for the CSU offense.

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