Charleston Southern quarterback Malcolm Dixon and running back Christian Reyeseach rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucs improved to 3-0 with a 30-10 win over Campbell on Saturday night at Barker-Lane Stadium.
The Buccaneers improve to 3-0 on the year, while Campbell falls to 1-2. CSU continues its perfect start under first-year head coach Jamey Chadwell and is 3-0 for only the second time in school history.
The Bucs wore down Campbell, running for a season-high 327 yards and opening the second half with three-straight touchdown drives in to grow their lead. Things didn't start out that way for the Bucs' option attack, but the defense held Camels to 91 yards of offense in the first half to set the tone.
"I think in the first half, we had some drives but we just shot ourselves in the foot with the fumble and some penalties," Chadwell said. "We were able to come out in the second half and just really establish what we needed to do. We came out and I thought we really executed well so I was real pleased with how we played on offense. I thought our defense played pretty well. They got us there a few times to make it a little closer than it needed to be but we'll take the win and move on."
The 1-2 punch of Reyes and Dixon wore down the Camels.
Reyes carried 20 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He capped the Bucs' first scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run as CSU took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Campbell cut into the Bucs' lead with a field goal early in the second quarter to make it 7-3. CSU took a 10-3 advantage into the locker room at the half following a 27-yard field from T.J. Higgins. Dixon found Kevin Glears open behind the Camels' defense for 41 yards to key the scoring drive.
Campbell would piece together a solid drive to open the second half, but was turned away on downs as the Bucs' defense stiffened just outside of the red zone. Cornerback Eli Lee also had an interception to end a second half drive for Campbell.
"They drove and drove but when our defense needed to make a play, they made it," Chadwell said. "The interception and the fourth down stop and we were able to answer both those stops and get some points which I thought was big because when we get turnovers like that, it's really important for our offense to get points and really take momentum away from the other defense and the other team."
Dixon and Reyes – along with a promising, you offensive line – went to work following the defense's fourth down stop. A pass interference penalty on fourth-and-4 kept the Bucs' opening drive of the half alive and Reyes pounded his way into the end zone from four yards out to extend the lead to 17-3.
Sophomore Zach Frazier had a 24-yard run and Dixon followed by knifing though the Camels' secondary for 29 yards for a touchdown to follow the Lee's interception with a score. The Bucs misses the PAT to take a 23-3 lead.
Dixon would add an 8-yard TD run as CSU answered a Campbell touchdown with one of its own in a matter of seconds. Freshman Troy McGowens' picked his way for 39 yards on an impressive kickoff return to give the Bucs good field position near midfield. Dixon found tight end Kirby Broome all alone on the CSU sideline for 45 yards and a first down inside the 10 to set up Dixon's second touchdown run.
Dixon finished with 135 yards rushing on 16 carries. He was 7-of-14 passing for 140 yards. Reyes rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries and was quick to give his offensive line all of the credit they were due.
"Our line stepped up big today," Reyes said following the win. "We've made a lot of improvements the last two weeks and they were definitely moving the line up front and giving all of our backs room to wiggle through and make some big plays. We've got a good combo going(in the backfield). It is kind of dynamic. We can run it up the middle and Malcolm and Ben (Robinson) can run also so we're a threat from anywhere."
The Buccaneers harassed Campbell quarterback Brian Hudson throughout, sacking him five times and hurrying him four more. Senior defensive end Will Hunt finished with eight tackles and a sack, while Dylan Black added a sack and a half. Safety DeMaris Freeman led the Bucs with 11 tackles.
CSU held Hudson to 15-of-26 passing for only 110 yards with an interception.
The road toughens ahead for the Buccaneers, but if Saturday's second-half response was any indication, they're up for the challenge.
"We keep finding a way to win and it builds confidence," Chadwell said. "Our competition level is stepping up tremendously next week as we travel up to Norfolk State, but when you're confident, guys believe we're going to find a way to win just like we did today."
CSU travels to Norfolk State in Norfolk, Va. on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.