Kyle Essington threw for 276 yards and five touchdowns as host Stony Brook topped visiting Charleston Southern on Saturday evening at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, 49-7, in Big South Conference play.
Malcolm Dixon led the CSU (1-4, 0-1 BSC) offensive efforts on the day with 104 passing yards and 29 rushing yards on the day, connecting with Will Hunt for a 28 yard touchdown pass as the Bucs fell to #13-ranked Seawolves (5-1, 1-0 BSC) in the conference opener for both teams.
After a CSU three-and-out to open up the game, Stony Brook got on the board first, marching 57 yards on six plays before Essington found Kevin Norrell from 29 yards out for the first touchdown of the game with 10:45 to play in the first quarter.
The defenses held as the teams traded punts the remainder of the first quarter as Stony Brook collected the ball at their own 41 yard line following a Derek Hatcher punt with 2:32 on the clock. The Seawolves advanced the ball to the CSU 30 yard line as the quarter expired on a Marcus Coker carry. Miguel Maysonet punched it across the goal line from one yard out two plays later for the 14-0 lead.
Charleston Southern battled back on their next possession as the Buccaneers ground game found traction against the Seawolves defense. Five different ball-carriers helped CSU move the ball from their own 24 yard line down to the Stony Brook 28 with Dixon converting a third-and-11 with an 11 yard carry to extend the drive. Dixon dropped back on first-and-10 at the Seawolves 28 yard line and converted his only pass attempt on the possession, finding Hunt and the Greenville, S.C. native bulled his way into the end zone with 9:42 on the clock to put the score at 14-7.
Stony Brook extended the lead on each of their next possessions.
Essington capped off an eight play, 74 yard drive with a one yard touchdown pass to Jordan Gush with 4:55 on the clock. Following a CSU punt, the Stony Brook quarterback moved the offense again through the air, connecting on a 51 yard strike to Norrell on the first play from scrimmage. He found Norrell again through the air three plays later, connecting on an eight yard scoring toss from eight yards out with 29 seconds remaining in the opening half to give the Seawolves the 28-7 halftime lead.
Essington added a pair of touchdown passes to Gush and Coker plowed in from one yard out to wrap up the scoring in the contest with 1:43 to play in the third quarter to put Stony Brook ahead 49-7.
The Buccaneers moved the ball into scoring position three times in the second, threatening to cut into the Seawolves' lead, but turnovers plagued CSU as Dixon was picked off twice in the red zone, while Stony Brook recovered a CSU fumble as the Buccaneers' comeback attempt fell short.
Essington was 13-of-19 through the air for 263 yards to go with his five touchdown passes. Norrell was the recipient of a majority of the passes with eight catches for 214 yards and two scores, while Gush added three touchdown catches of his own.
For the Buccaneers, Dixon was 6-of-18 through the air for 108 yards, while Trey Dorseyled the way with 54 yards on the ground. Larry Jones III led the CSU aerial attack with two catches for 61 yards, hauling in a 49 yard pass from Dixon in the third quarter.
Charleston Southern returns home for their Big South home opener next Saturday as the Bucs welcome VMI to Buccaneer Field. Kickoff on October 13th between the Buccaneers and the Keydets is set for 1:30 p.m.