Charleston Southern's football team played for the second time in less than a week, hosting Campbell on Thursday night. And it showed - for a half.
After trailing early in a less-than-stellar first-half performance, the Buccaneers managed a 34-10 victory, improving to 3-0 on the season heading into next Saturday night's home game with crosstown rival The Citadel.
Campbell, which opened the season with losses to Charlotte and Appalachian State, dropped to 0-3.
Junior quarterback Austin Brown passed for 154 yards and two scores while leading CSU in rushing with 85 yards as the Buccaneers pulled away with a dominant second half.
CSU finished the night with 405 total yards, with 261 yards coming after halftime. The Bucs rushed for 243 yards with Christian Reyes adding 56 yards and Ben Robinson 40 yards.
"In the first half, it looked like we were on a short week," said CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell. "We looked like a little league team to be honest. Too many penalties and mistakes, and Campbell really played hard. We had a come-to-Jesus meeting at halftime and came out and played pretty well in the second half. We really started clicking in a lot of areas."
For the third consecutive game, the Buccaneers scored on its first offensive possession of the game, driving 84 yards on only five plays, highlighted by a 50-yard run from Brown. Brown capped the drive with a 17-yard pass connection to tight end Nathan Prater and the Bucs led, 7-0, with 9:57 left in the first quarter.
Campbell punted on its first two possessions but found pay dirt on the third, driving 64 yards on eight plays to tie the game on Dakota Wolf's five-yard pass to Jabri Ridenhour with 12:25 remaining in the second quarter.
Wolf completed seven of 11 pass attempts for 100 yards in the opening half but missed the second half with an injury.
The Camels came into the game averaging only 218 yards in offense per game in their first two games of this season. Campbell nearly reached that total in the first half with 174 yards, and its 10 points in the first half was one more point than the Camels scored in their first eight quarters this season.
Aided by a pass interference call, the Camels added a 44-yard field goal from Mitchell Brown to take a 10-7 lead with 6:08 left in the half. The score marked the first time this season that CSU has trailed in a game.
The Buccaneers tallied 143 yards in the opening half and Campbell held a nearly seven-minute advantage in time of possession.
"I felt like Campbell brought more intensity into the game than we did and that should never happen at our place," said Chadwell. "We're not the type of team that can just show up and win games. We were just sloppy in everything that we did. I think our guys got the message."
CSU opened the third quarter the same way they did the first, with a touchdown. The Bucs went 71 yards on six plays with Reyes scoring from a yard out with 11:38 to play in the third. The Bucs failed to handle the extra-point snap and led, 13-10.
With the lead, CSU's inspired defense gained control. On Campbell's third offensive snap, CSU cornerback Troy McGowens picked off David Salmon's pass at the Campbell 41-yard line.
Six running plays later, quarterback Danny Croghan III scored on a two-yard run, upping the lead to 20-10 with 7:40 left in the third.
CSU outgained Campbell, 163-24, in the decisive third. Campbell had one first down in the final two quarters and finished with 223 total yards.
"We came out a little lax and it showed even in the pregame," said CSU defensive end Dylan Black, who had five tackles. "We made some good second-half adjustments and played more like we should play."
Linebackers Aaron Brown and Gabe Middlebrook led CSU's defense with nine and seven tackles, respectively.
The Bucs put the game away with two TDs in the fourth quarter - a 29-yard scoring connection from Brown to Jared Scotland with 5:46 remaining and a 26-yard run by Michael Holloway with 2:50 left.
CSU seeks to beat The Citadel for a second consecutive year next week, but Chadwell says his team is a big underdog.
"If we play next Saturday like we did in our first three games, we won't win," the coach said. "They're 0-2 but they played the defending national champions and the fifth-ranked FCS team in the country. They will be ready to play us."