CLINTON, S.C. (Presbyterian College) – The Presbyterian College football team came up short to the No. 18 Charleston Southern Buccaneers in Big South Conference action on Saturday afternoon, falling in a 27-16 nail-biter at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
PC moves to 3-5 on the year and 1-1 in the Big South. The Blue Hose hit the road next weekend to take on Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday at 3:30. Charleston Southern improves to 9-1 overall, 2-0 in league play and will host Coastal Carolina on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Charleston Southern scored nine points off of three PC turnovers while committing none of its own despite three fumbles. PC nearly matched the Buccaneers in total yards, 396 to 345, thanks in part to 298 passing yards from freshman Heys McMath (Savannah, Ga.) and a career-high 121 receiving yards from Jeremiah McKie (Mauldin, S.C.)
The Buccaneers held on to a 14-3 lead at halftime en route to the win. The visitors also enjoyed a 37:16 time of possession to PC’s 22:44, though the Blue Hose slightly outgained Charleston Southern on yards per play, 5.8 to 5.5.
Buccaneer running back Christian Reyes ran for 114 yards with a touchdown on 20 attempts to lead the Charleston Southern offense.
Defensively for PC, Joshua Polk (Lithonia, Ga.) turned in a career-high with nine total tackles—six solo—while DaRon Dickey (Greenville, S.C.) added eight tackles that included five solo efforts.
The Blue Hose struck first with 4:08 left in the first quarter after Ed Britt (Greensboro, N.C.) blew up a third down on the Buccaneers’ opening drive. The day’s first big play—a 35-yard McMath throw down the middle to Tobi Antigha (Tampa, Fla.)—put the Blue Hose inside the red zone. Stephen Doar (Landrum, S.C.) converted three plays later for a 34-yard field goal to give PC a 3-0 advantage.
Charleston Southern wasted little time responding. The Buccaneers needed three plays on its next drive to score a touchdown when Larry Jones III made a one-handed grab and ran the rest of the way for a 49-yard touchdown score. Quarterback Daniel Crogan III threw for 108 yards on the day with seven completions and his touchdown gave the visitors a 7-3 lead with 2:53 left in the opening quarter.
Both defenses held strong throughout the first half before a miscue handed the Buccaneers another scoring opportunity. The PC defense forced a three-and-out deep in CSU territory, but a muffed punt and Buccaneer recovery breathed new life into the drive on the PC 21. The visitors took advantage in the final minute of the second quarter, eventually scoring on a Zac Frasier punch-in from the one-yard line to extend their lead at the break, 14-3.
PC received the ball to start the second half and made the most of its possession, taking the ball 70 yards down the field for a touchdown. The squad used a long pass from McMath to McKie to pick up 47 yards of the drive before Blake Roberts (Cumming, Ga.) eventually hauled in a five-yard pass from McMath to make it 14-10 early in the second quarter.
The Buccaneers answered on their next drive. The visitors assembled a seven play, 68-yard series that ended in a Christian Reyes scamper through the middle for a 37-yard touchdown rush. The score put Charleston Southern back ahead by 11 points, 21-10, midway through the third quarter.
McMath and Jeremiah McKie handled the next drive, hooking up on four plays of a five-play drive—with a short McMath rush as well—to score another touchdown. The freshman quarterback found McKie in double coverage and the junior receiver outfought the Bucs defenders on the goal line to haul in a 32-yard touchdown pass. After a missed extra point, Charleston Southern’s lead stood at five points with 6:08 left in the third, 21-16.
A 35-yard field goal put the Buccaneers back up by eight points, 24-16. The Blue Hose used another big play on the next drive but could not turn the series into points on the board. Demarcus Rouse (North Augusta, S.C.) grabbed a short pass and burst down the sideline for a 58-yard play before the Buccaneers picked off a pass in the end zone to take back possession.
The defenses stiffened again as each side played the field position game until Charleston Southern reached the red zone but settled for a 27-yard field goal after a goal-line stand from PC. An overturned pass call helped Charleston Southern reach the three yard-line and could not convert for a touchdown, leading 27-16 with 4:20 to go in the game. The score would stand as the final tally.
Defensively for Charleston Southern, Demaris Freeman and Adam Witzmann each registered five tackles. The Buccaneers held PC to 47 yards rushing as a team.
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