Charleston Southern's version of "Thursday Night Lights" was a big hit as the Buccaneers football program held its annual Blue-White spring game, marking the first night game in the program's history.
Second-year head coach Jamey Chadwell put his squad through a two quarter controlled scrimmage before one of the largest spring game crowds in school history.
The school installed lights at Buccaneer Field over the winter and will open the 2014 season with four consecutive night games.
"We're trying to become a program that is consistently good every year and getting lights here is going to allow us to recruit the type of athletes that we want here," said Chadwell. "I think this will allow us create an environment here that will be attractive to the community as well. We had a lot of things going on tonight and we had a great crowd. And, I was really glad the lights turned on."
As for the football action, the offense managed three touchdowns against the defense in the 69-play scrimmage. CSU's offense accounted for 340 total yards, managing 93 net yards rushing and 247 yards through the air.
"The main thing is you are praying nobody gets hurt and you want to see the players execute at a high level," said Chadwell. "We did some good things. I felt like the defense sort of handled the offense last Saturday and it was good to see the offense score some points tonight. It was a good night overall.
"The expectations this spring were different. There were probably more disappointments during the spring just because of our expectations. As far as things we were able to implement, I thought we were able to do a lot of things that will help us in the fall. Now, we know where the parts go and we have to make sure those parts are working well in the fall."
With last year's starting quarterback Danny Croghan out of action with an injury, most of the reps under center were shared by returning redshirt sophomore Kyle Copeland and UAB transfer Austin Brown. Each contributed scoring passes through the air. Copeland connected with Donte Sumpter on a 37-yard scoring play while Brown hit Kevin Glears on a 70-yard touchdown pass.
Brown completed four of 10 passes for 104 yards while Copeland completed six of eight passes for 135 yards and also scored on a four-yard run.
"It's still an open competition," said Chadwell. "Austin has made huge strides since he got here in January. He has made a great push and he has pushed Kyle, and Kyle has responded with a solid spring. It'll be open when we get here in fall camp and I am pleased with the direction we're headed at that position."
CSU returns all-conference running back Christian Reyes, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, but sophomore Michael Holloway had a huge spring, according to Chadwell. Holloway rushed for 53 yards on 11 carries in the spring game.
"He has really raised his game this spring," said Chadwell. "He got tons of reps and he really made strides. When everyone gets healthy, we will have a lot of options in the backfield."
Top performers defensively included defensive back Lorenzo Mathis (six tackles) and defensive lineman Tanner Rogers (2.5 tackles for loss, sack).
Following the scrimmage, members of CSU's student body participated in competitions on the field to win tickets to Charleston Southern's Nov. 22 game at Georgia.
CSU Spring Practice Most Improved Awards
Mike Holloway, running backs; Kevin Glears, receivers; Austin Brown, quarterbacks; Erik Austell, offensive line; Nathan Prater, tight ends; Lorenzo Mathis, defensive backs; Tre DeLoach, bandits; Raysean Ray, defensive line; Seth Harrelson, spurs; Markeith Bailey, linebackers.