Tyler Tekac connected on the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired to propel Charleston Southern to the 10-9 win over host Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon at Spangler Stadium.
Robert Mitchell connected on a 49-yard pass to Kenny Dinkins down the right sideline with one second remaining. Following an official timeout to confirm the catch, long snapper Ethan Ray snapped the ball as the official blew the whistle to start the clock. David Kennedy's snap was solid and Tekac's kick sailed through the uprights to secure the Buccaneers' ninth consecutive Big South road conference win.
Tekac's last-second field goal offset a three field goal effort by Gardner-Webb's Paul Schumacher. The GWU (1-8, 0-3) placekicker connected on field goals from 36, 41, and 37 yards to provide all the scoring for the Runnin' Bulldogs in the game.
Anthony Ellis led a strong CSU (5-4, 2-1) defensive effort with 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a career-high 5.5 tackles for loss. Johnny Robinson added 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, while J.D. Sosebee added a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Overall, the Bucs recorded five sacks and 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the contest.
Noah Shuler scored CSU's lone touchdown on the opening possession with a six-yard carry to put the Bucs on the board. Schumacher provided GWU's lone points of the game with a trio of field goals from 36, 41, and 37 yards to lead the Runnin' Bulldogs to the win.
Gardner-Webb (1-8, 0-3) quarterback Tyrell Maxwell led the Runnin' Bulldogs' efforts with 82 passing yards and 59 rushing yards. GWU held the 32:40-27:20 advantage in time of possession.
How They Scored
Gardner-Webb took the early 3-0 lead on a 36-yard field goal by Paul Schumacher to cap a 12-play, 56-yard drive. Tyrell Maxwell carried the Runnin' Bulldogs with a key 17-yard run on 3rd-and-long to finish with 43 rushing yards on the opening possession.
Noah Shuler put the Bucs on the board with his team-leading seventh rushing touchdown of the season as the redshirt junior took the ball in from six yards out on CSU's opening possession. The Bucs converted all three third down opportunities on the drive with Shane Bucenell hitting Saire Davis for 32 yards on 3rd-and-8 to move the ball into the red zone.
Schumacher again put the Runnin' Bulldogs on the board with a 41-yard field goal attempt with 4:02 left in the second quarter. The drive started following GWU's second interception of the game with Maxwell's 11-yard pass to James Ellis II putting the Runnin' Bulldogs in scoring position.
Schumacher came through in the clutch on a 37-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining to cap a 13-play, 41-yard drive to give the Runnin' Bulldogs the 9-7 lead.
Tyler Tekac hit the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired to put the Bucs back on top and secure the win. The play was set up by a 49-yard strike from Robert Mitchell to Kenny Dinkins to put the Bucs in field goal position with one second left in the contest.
Inside the Numbers
Noah Shuler led the Bucs' rushing efforts in the contest with 12 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Shane Bucenell topped 100 passing yards on 8-of-17 and added 50 rushing yards in the contest.
Kenny Dinkins (two catches, 64 yards) and Saire Davis (two catches, 55 yards) were the only Buccaneers with multiple receptions in the contest.
The Bucs defense kept 2017 Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Tyrell Maxwell in check throughout the contest. CSU limited Maxwell to 82 passing yards and 59 rushing yards in the contest.
Ellis tied his career-high with 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks in the contest. He added a season-high four quarterback hurries in the game.
Solomon Brown recorded his first double-digit tackle performance of the season with 10 tackles to go with a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries.
J.D. Sosebee, CSU's leading tackler entering the game, finished with nine tackles, his second sack of the season, and a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss.
Johnny Robinson added 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss among his five tackles in the ball game.
News & Notes
Charleston Southern's Big South road winning streak was extended thanks to Tekac's clutch field goal as the Bucs won their ninth consecutive conference road game. The streak dates back to the Bucs' 27-0 win at Monmouth on November 1, 2014.
Gardner-Webb's field goal on the opening possession was just the third time this season the Buccaneers defense has allowed an opponent to score on the opening drive. Mississippi State scored a touchdown, while Indiana connected on a field goal on their respective opening possessions.
Following CSU's touchdown on its opening possession, the Bucs turned the ball over on three consecutive drives with GWU picking off two passes and recovering a fumble. It marked the fourth consecutive game CSU has turned the ball over multiple times in a game.
Anthony Ellis became the second player in Big South Conference history to post three 7.0 sack seasons after finishing the contest with 8.0 sacks for the season. Ellis posted 7.5 sacks in 2015 and 7.0 sacks last season to lead the Bucs and earn Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. Ellis joins Liberty's Chima Uzowihe as the only players in conference history to post three 7.0 sack seasons.
Ellis also reached double-digit tackles for loss for the season following the contest against Gardner-Webb. Ellis has achieved double-digits in each of the past two seasons with 18.0 in 2015 and 16.0 in 2016. He now has 12.5 tackles for loss with two games still to play in the regular season.
The Bucs allowed 106 rushing yards against the Runnin' Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. It ended a three-game stretch where CSU allowed less than 100 rushing yards by an opponent.
Ellis' 5.5 tackles for loss established a new single-game standard for the Buccaneers. His total eclipsed the 5.0 mark set three times by Will Hunt (5.0 vs. Jacksonville, 2011), Gary Hamby (5.0 vs. South Florida, 1998), and Reggie Carr (5.0 vs. Presbyterian, 1996).
Shuler broke into CSU's top 10 rushing seasons with his seventh rushing touchdown in the first quarter. He is currently tied for seventh all-time in the single-season rankings and is two away from tying the school's single-season mark.
Charleston Southern remains on the road next weekend as the Buccaneers travel to Fifth Third Stadium and Kennesaw, Ga. for a matchup against fellow preseason favorite Kennesaw State. Kickoff on ESPN3 is set for 3:30 p.m.