CSU gets to Point quickly

  • Friday, August 29, 2014

CSU's fan club members could often -- but not always -- be recognized by their "Blue Crew" shirts at the Buccaneers first night game at home -- on Thursday. WADE SPEES/POST AND COURIER

Charleston Southern made the first night game in school history a memorable one. The Bucs scored touchdowns on their first nine possessions, rolled up 502 yards of offense and pitched a shutout on defense to rout Point, 61-9, at Buccaneer Field on Thursday night.

“This was a great night for this school, for this campus,” CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell said. “We had so many students come out tonight they had to have them sit in the visitor's section- that's never happened before.”

Junior Austin Brown directed seven touchdown drives in an excellent debut as CSU starting quarterback. Brown completed 9-of-12 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 41 yards and two more scores. Senior Christian Reyes led a 336-yard rushing effort with 81 yards on 10 carries, all in the first half. Sophomore Ben Robinson turned in some highlight reel plays in the first half and added 32 yards and a touchdown on three carries. He also caught three passes for 68 yards, highlighted by a 45-yard grab on a wheel route down the right sideline.

Defensively, the Bucs held Point to 152 yards of offense and forced three-and-outs on two of the Skyhawks' first three drives. Senior safety Demaris Freeman led the charge with seven tackles, and classmate Gabe Middlebrook returned a second quarter fumble 85 yards for a touchdown. Middlebrook's return was the fourth longest in Big South history.

CSU wasted no time in setting the tone after forcing a three-and-out on Point's opening possession. Robinson ripped off a 19-yard run to highlight a four-play, 45-yard drive that Brown capped with a one-yard touchdown keeper.

Mike Holloway added a touchdown on his first carry of the game, taking an option pitch from Danny Croghan III around the right end to put CSU up 14-0 with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter.

The onslaught continued after a short yardage third down stuff by Zac Johnston and Isaac Lowrance, as Brown added his second touchdown of the quarter on a nine-yard punishing run up the middle to put the Bucs ahead 21-0 with 4:02 left in the first quarter.

Point then put together its first extended drive of the game, moving to the CSU 15-yard line with Fortis finding three different receivers. Facing 2nd-and-7, Rufus Mason III took the handoff and was met at the line of scrimmage by Caleb Batchelor, with the CSU sophomore defensive tackle jarring the ball loose. Middlebrook caught the fumble in the air and went untouched down the right sideline for 85 yards to put the Bucs ahead 28-0 with 13:10 remaining in the half.

Robinson capped the Bucs first extended drive of the game midway through the second quarter, carrying the ball in from five yards out to cap an 11-play, 78-yard drive to put CSU ahead 35-0 with 5:16 remaining in the half. Reyes set up the score with five carries for 46 yards on the drive, before turning it over to Robinson inside the red zone.

CSU then executed a two-minute drill right before intermission, traveling 76 yards on five plays, with Brown targeting four different receivers before finding Kenny Dinkins just inside the goal line with 33 seconds remaining to put CSU ahead 42-0 at the break. Brown hit Alex Cruz for 35 yards down the right sideline and connected with Jared Scotland for 22 yards on back-to-back plays during the drive to set up the score.

The Buccaneers remain at home next weekend, hosting Newberry College on Saturday, September 6th. Kickoff at Buccaneer Field is set for 6 p.m.

“They've got unbelievable athletes, coaches who have done a good job there,” said Chadwell of Newberry. “They are going to come in here and give us a challenge. They've had three or four weeks now to prepare for us. We'll be their Division I game for the season. They want to put themselves on the map, so they are going to come down here and play well. We are going to have to play well and be more focused than what we were tonight.”

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