When Charleston Southern takes the field against Wofford this afternoon at Buccaneer Field, the Buccaneers will be trying to do a few things they have never been able to do against the Terriers.
For starters, the Buccaneers have lost all 12 of the previous meetings with the traditional Southern Conference contender.
The Buccaneers have lost those games primarily due to their inability to stop Wofford's potent wishbone rushing attack. A look at the record book tells the story.
Of the top 10 single-game team rushing performances against CSU, five belong to Wofford. In 2008, Wofford rushed for 434 yards, which ranks as the seventh-best performance against a CSU defense.
CSU head coach Jay Mills is 0-3 against Wofford. In those three games, Wofford has averaged 378 yards per game and 7.4 yards per rushing attempt. In terms of total offense, Wofford has averaged 473 yards per game.
So, it's easy. To beat Wofford, Charleston Southern has to find a way to slow the Terriers down. A lot easier said than done.
"Against a team like Wofford, you have to be very disciplined and you can't freelance," said CSU defensive coordinator Thielen Smith. "Wofford is so good at what they do, they will know the first time you're not doing the technique and they will take advantage of it.
"It takes a tremendous amount of concentration and effort. You have to get in position to tackle and then you have to tackle."
Talking to Smith and Mills at practice on Thursday, the words "trust, discipline, assignment and responsibility" were tossed around quite a bit. Mills thinks this year's team is more prepared than any other team he has taken into a game against Wofford.
"I think it requires a lot of discipline and I think that's one of the strengths of our team this year," Mills said. "This is a mature team and I think that should help us on Saturday. I know it has helped us all week during practice. We have practiced very well, very focused and sharp. We'll see what happens on Saturday."
Charleston Southern's defense was solid at times in last week's 41-31 win over North Greenville. The Crusaders totaled more than 400 yards in offense and topped 200 yards on the ground.
Granted, a chunk of that yardage was gained in the fourth quarter against backups after CSU had built a 41-17 lead. However, CSU trailed, 9-0, in the first quarter and the offense did not record a first down until late in the first period.
A bad start today could be disastrous against a more potent offensive team.
"Certainly we need to be sharper offensively, especially early in the game," said Mills. "We have to execute and move the chains and we can't turn the ball over. We have to play well on special teams and win the battle of field position early. There are a number of things we can do offensively to help our defense, but in the end, we have to play well in all phases of the game to have a chance in the fourth quarter.
"We have had some successes against Wofford, but we have yet to compete at their level and sustain our effort for 60 minutes. It's going to take four quarters of performance at a very high level to compete on Saturday."