The Charleston Southern Buccaneers (9-1, 6-0) will get the misfortune, more than likely, to travel to face the Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1), ranked #2 in the CFP rankings, in a FCS vs. FBS matchup Saturday. This will mark the first meeting between the two schools in their history.
Charleston Southern has won eight straight games and will be in the FCS playoffs; they defeated Liberty 31-24 at home last Saturday. Alabama has won seven games in a row after rolling over #17 Mississippi State 31-6 on the road last Saturday. Kickoff from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is scheduled for 4:00 pm ET and will be televised on the SEC Network. Alabama is currently a 38.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 50 points.
Charleston Southern continued their recent run of success with a tough win over Liberty; they broke a 24-24 tie on a nine yard touchdown pass from Austin Brown to Nathan Perara with 5:16 to go and held on for the win. The Buccaneers outgained the Flames 460-274, finished with 29 first downs while allowing 14 and dominated the time of possession as they held the ball for 38:07 to Liberty’s 21:53 in the contest. Charleston Southern came up a -1 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio as they committed a pair of turnovers while forcing only one.
The Buccaneers are putting up 395.7 yards a game offensively as they throw for 165.7 yards a game while rushing for an average of 230 yards per contest. Charleston Southern is outscoring their opponents by more than two touchdowns per game as they put up 31 points per contest while allowing 16.2 points per game. Brown has completed 103 of 183 passes for 1,356 yards with 11 touchdowns and five picks while adding 141 yards and a score on the ground. Kyle Copeland (20 of 35, 296 yards, 3 TD, 177 rushing yards) is the backup quarterback. Darius Hammond leads the Buccaneers on the ground with 120 carries for 734 yards and six scores while Mike Holloway contributes 515 yards and nine scores on 89 carries; Ben Robinson chips in 398 yards and four scores on 55 carries on the year. Perera is the team’s leading receiver with 37 grabs for 560 yards and four scores; Colton Korn (19 receptions, 205 yards, TD), Kenny Dinkins (15 catches, 270 yards, 3 TD) and Holloway (12 catches out of the backfield) are the only other players with double digit receptions. Tyler Tekac is 21 of 24 on extra points and 7 of 11 on field goals with a long of 40 yards; Bryan Jordan has hit 12 of 14 extra points but missed both his field goal attempts.
Alabama jumped to a 21-3 halftime edge and never let Mississippi State back into the game last week. The Crimson Tide opened the scoring on a punt return; Derrick Henry added touchdown runs of 74 and 65 yards while Jake Coker hit Calvin Ridley on a 60 yard scoring pass. Alabama was outgained 393-379, lost the first down battle 20-13 and the time of possession battle by a 33:30 to 26:30 margin in the contest. Alabama did force a pair of Mississippi State turnovers while committing only one turnover of their own.
The Crimson Tide enters this contest 74th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 219.5 yards per game while they are 35th in rushing with 199.3 yards a contest. Alabama is tied for 47th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 33.9 points per game while they are 7th in scoring defense by allowing 15.3 points a game. Coker is 176 of 273 for 1,951 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 57 rushing yards and two scores. Cooper Bateman (30 of 40, 244 yards, TD, 2 INT, 10 rushing yards) is the backup to Coker. Henry is a beast in the backfield as he’s rung up 240 carries for 1,458 yards and 19 scores while Kenyan Drake (68 carries, 333 yards, TD) is a solid secondary back. Ridley leads the Crimson Tide with 57 receptions for 652 yards and four scores while ArDarius Stewart (38 grabs, 410 yards, 2 TD), O.J. Howard (29 catches, 323 yards) and Richard Mullaney (28 grabs, 261 yards, 3 TD) are other good targets for Coker to look for in the aerial game. Adam Griffith has hit all 39 extra point attempts and 14 of 21 field goal attempts on the year with a long of 55 yards.
The Buccaneers have been extremely good this season but there’s a major difference between playing at the FCS level and facing a SEC powerhouse that has won multiple national titles in the past decade. Charleston Southern is good and may make some noise in the FCS playoffs but they are in way over their heads against the Crimson Tide here; Alabama should cruise to the victory in this one to tune up for the Iron Bowl.