Charleston Southern’s Solomon Brown (34) celebrates after his fumble recovery Saturday night.
One could forgive Charleston Southern for not being completely focused going into Saturday’s game against winless Mississippi Valley State.
After all, the visiting team had allowed an average of 55 points and 502 yards per game in its three losses prior to arriving at CSU Stadium. But Charleston Southern found itself in a tough battle Saturday night before breaking the game open in the second half on its way to a 58-7 victory.
Leading 10-7 at the half, the Bucs scored 35 points in the third quarter after head coach Mark Tucker delivered strong words in the locker room at halftime.
“I told our players I am tired of this talking,” said Tucker, referring to an attitude of accomplishment after winning back-to-back Big South Conference titles. “Winners that have done the things that we have done here are doers. I am tired of the talk. Let’s go do. That’s the gist of what I told them.
“We came out and we made assumptions. We looked at the scores and said all we have to do is be us. That’s fine if you are mentally into it. We made a lot of mental errors (in the first half).”
CSU finished the game with 460 total yards — 230 in each half. The Buccaneers rushed for 359 yards, led by freshman running back Terrence Wilson, who gained 106 yards on only two carries while scoring on runs of 62 and 44 yards in the second half.
“I’m just waiting on my opportunities, being patient,” said Wilson, who rushed for nearly 5,000 yards at Batesburg-Leesville High School. “I know my number is going to be called and I’m always ready to get in and help my team out.”
The defense and special teams had plenty to do with CSU’s explosive third quarter. Junior Taz Lindsay followed Wilson’s first touchdown run with a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The CSU defense forced a fumble and linebacker Solomon Brown returned it to the Mississippi Valley State 6-yard line. Sophomore Ronnie Harris scored a play later for a 31-7 lead.
A possession later, freshman safety Sekwan Jenkins returned an interception 70 yards for a score, pushing the lead to 38-7. Noah Shuler closed out the third period with a 1-yard run and finished the night with 57 yards rushing.
Wilson added a 44-yard run in the fourth and backup quarterback London Johnson scampered 45 yards for the final touchdown of the night.
CSU’s defense recorded nine sacks, tying a school record that was established in 1998. Freshman defensive back Ty’reik Faulks, a Stratford High grad, was credited with two sacks and a tackle for loss. Hanahan product Jacob Garibay also had a sack and defensive tackle Johnny Robinson dropped the quarterback twice.
Mississippi Valley State (0-4) threw for 318 total yards but finished with minus-24 yards rushing. Starting quarterback Christopher Fowler completed 22 of 30 passes for 163 yards but was sacked four times.
Redshirt sophomore receiver Kameron Brown, who missed the first seven quarters of the season due to suspension, caught two passes for 101 yards, including an 87-yard catch-and-run for CSU’s first score of the night, which came in the second quarter.
“It was one-on-one coverage with no safety over the top so I had a feeling they would be coming to me,” Brown said. “I just tried to make a play and it worked out well.”
CSU (2-2) plays at Indiana on Saturday in a game added to both team’s schedule due to cancellations from Hurricane Irma.
CSU opened the season at Mississippi State and lost 49-0. Tucker is hoping for a better showing next week.
“Every day is a learning experience,” the coach said. “It’s knowing what it takes to execute on a consistent level. I am very proud of our kids. They work hard. We just need to grow up and be that type of football team that we were in the third quarter from the very first snap.”