Charleston Southern held visiting Presbyterian to 45 total yards in the second half and Bucs' running back Teddy Allen rushed for a career high 153 yards and four touchdowns, which tied a school record, as the Bucs rallied to beat the Blue Hose, 31-21 on Saturday afternoon at Buccaneer Field.
With the win, the Bucs move to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in Big South play. Presbyterian fall to 2-6 and 0-3 in conference play.
CSU bounced back from a sloppy first half to shut out PC, allowing only two first downs, in the second half to win its second straight Big South game. Allen carried the offensive workload for the Bucs, scoring a rushing TD in each quarter.
"Sometimes you win by dominating start to finish like we did last week, and sometimes you win sloppy like we did today," CSU head coach Jay Mills said. "We came out in the second half and really played within ourselves. We didn't do things differently in the second half, we just did them better. Our defense came out and did a great job and we relaxed and played within ourselves."
The defense smothered PC's spread attack, holding the Blue Hose to 4-of-14 passing in the second half for 27 yards.
"Our guys played hard and made adjustments in the second half," commented defensive coordinator Shawn Quinn. "This was one of the ugly games that played pretty in the second half and our guys just willed our team to the win. Our defensive line got off the blocks and stopped the run and when we forced them to go one-dimensional on offense, Elijah Lee went over the top with a big-time play on the interception to seal the win."
Quarterback Malcolm Dixon ran the Bucs' option attack efficiently, running for 66 yards on nine carries and completing 6-of-8 passes for 104 yards, but it was Allen's relentless pounding that wore down PC.
Allen's record-setting day tied Andre Copeland's school record for touchdowns in a game with four. His 153 yards rushing was CSU's six-highest total for a single game.
"Teddy's a force and gives us some options as he's an I-back playing the quarterback position," said Mills. "The key to the game was not making assignment errors and ball security and we did both of those wrong in the first half, but we settled down and showed our maturity and poise as the game went on."
After PC built a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter, the Bucs seemed to raise their intensity level and control the game the rest of the way.
CSU quickly answered back to cut into the PC lead as the option found a rhythm for the first time on the afternoon. Dixon opened the scoring drive with a 30-yard catch and run to Larry Jones III. Jones II came back to the Dixon throw and broke a tackle to move the Bucs into PC territory for the first time in the game.
Dixon would do the rest with his legs. The junior put together back-to-back carries of 10 and 29 yards to move the ball inside the PC 5-yard line. Running back Teddy Allen plunged in from two yards out to cut the lead to 14-7.
CSU cut the PC lead to one at the midway point of the second quarter as Allen broke loose again. The sophomore ripped off a 63-yard run, lumbering over the right side and outlasting defensive backs to the goal line to cut the lead to 14-13. The run was Allen's longest of his career and CSU's longest of the season.
PC would answered right back as Demarcus Rouse ripped off a 50-yard run to key a to fuel a 6-play, 79-yard touchdown drive. Rouse would score on a 5-yard run to make it 21-13 game, but the Bucs would control from there.
The Bucs opened the second half with a 9-play, 71-yard drive to cut into the Blue Hose lead. Jones III came up with the key play on the drive, a 31-yard reception on the drive to set up first-and-goal at the PC nine, but the Bucs couldn't punch it into the end zone. Deboy converted a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-16. Mike Davis added a 26-yard run to open the drive.
Bucs' safety Elijah Lee intercepted PC's Kaleb Griffinn on the following possession to give Dixon a short field. Lee stepped in front of a crossing route intended for PC's Anderico Bailey to set the Bucs up at the Blue Hose' 47-yard line.
CSU would take the lead on the ensuing possession as Dixon found Chase Jones on a crossing route to pick up 18 yards on third-and-six. Allen punched it in two plays later from six yards to give CSU its first lead, 24-21, late in the third.
PC couldn't solve the Bucs' defense in the second half, trying a fake punt and struggling to 1-of-6 on third down conversions.
Allen would add his final score trying to run out the clock. He capped a 6-minute, 75-yard drive by popping out of the pile from 18 yards out to run into the CSU record books.
The Bucs also held the ball for 20:42 of the second half.
Presbyterian raced to a 14-0 lead due in large part to a sloppy start from the Bucs. CSU's Chase Jones muffed a punt following the opening drive by the Blue Hose to set up a short field. Rouse capped the 13-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to give PC a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Hose added to their lead with a 5-play, 65-yard drive late in the first quarter. Rouse and Lance Byrd combined for 36 yards on the drive to build thee PC lead to 14-0 at the time.
Jones III had three catches for 73 yards to lead all receivers. Davis added 34 yards rushing for PC.
Lee led an active CSU defense with seven tackles, an interception, and a pass break up. Freshman Malcolm Jackson added six stops.
Griffin finished 14-of-32 for 90 yards and an interception. Rouse had 109 yards and three TDs on 12 carries for the Blue Hose.
PC linebacker Donelle Williams led all players with 16 tackles.
Charleston Southern wraps up a three-game home stand against Edward Waters College next Saturday. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. at Buccaneer Field.