Boulder, Colo. — Charleston Southern suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, falling to Colorado, 43-10, in a college football game between a rising FCS team from the Big South Conference and a struggling FBS team from the powerful Pac-12.
“I thought we competed very well and played with good effort, but they (Colorado) were obviously better than we were,” said CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell, whose team is now 7-1. “We had a plan to control the football in the first half and we were able to do that and keep it close. In the second half, we just got worn down. Colorado’s defense stepped up and we weren’t able to sustain anything offensively.”
The bigger, stronger Buffaloes (3-3) broke open a relatively close game in the second half, outscoring CSU, 21-0, over the final two quarters. Colorado’s Michael Adkins rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 198 yards in his first career start.
For Charleston Southern, freshman quarterback Kyle Copeland made his first start, subbing for injured starter Danny Croghan. Croghan, a redshirt freshman from Bishop England High School who became the starting quarterback when senior Malcolm Dixon suffered a knee injury Sept. 28 against Appalachian State, has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms, Chadwell said. His status is listed as day-to-day.
Copeland, who spent last season at the Air Force Academy prep school in Colorado Springs, gained 50 yards on the ground and threw for 48 yards. He was sacked four times and threw one interception.
“I thought Kyle did a lot of good things for us, but we just could not get anything going in the second half,” said Chadwell. “We made some errors and had some turnovers, which is something we had been able to avoid in our first seven games. Obviously Colorado had something to do with that, but I thought we could have executed a few things better.”
CSU freshman Mike Holloway rushed for 44 yards, while junior Christian Reyes added 43 yards. Reyes is one yard short of CSU’s single- season rushing record.
Colorado made it look easy early on, taking the game’s opening possession 65 yards on six plays with Adkins scoring on a 23-yard run. A two-point run made it 8-0.
After an exchange of punts, CSU was able to mount a 16-play drive, converting twice on third down and once on fourth down to reach the Colorado 11-yard line. Reyes appeared to toss a halfback pass for a touchdown to tight end Nathan Prater, but the play was reversed after a replay review. CSU settled for Mark Deboy’s 33-yard field goal with 14:50 left in the second quarter.
Defense set up Colorado’s second score as the Buffaloes sacked Copeland, forcing a fumble and recovering the ball on the CSU 12-yard line. Two plays later, Adkins scored on a 5-yard run for a 15-3 lead with 11:41 to play in the second.
Colorado’s offense hit the big play on its next possession as Liufau connected with Paul Richardson on a 60-yard touchdown pass, upping the lead to 22-3.
The Buccaneers, however, continued to have success offensively. CSU put together a 15-play, 87-yard drive late in the half with Copeland hitting Colton Korn on an 8-yard pass with 8 seconds remaining in the half to go into halftime trailing, 22-10.
Colorado seized control of the game early in the third quarter. After forcing a CSU punt, Colorado put together a 13-play, 64-yard drive, capped off by Christian Powell’s 2-yard run with 7:11 left in the third.
After totaling 150 yards and nine first downs in the first half, CSU struggled in the third quarter, finishing with a net of 20 yards and one first down in the period.
Adkins added a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter, upping the lead to 36-10, and capped his four-touchdown day with a 34-yard scoring jaunt with 6:09 remaining in the game.
Charleston managed only 44 total yards in the second half and gained two first downs. Colorado outgained CSU, 416-196, in total yards for the game.