Bucs dominate in win over VMI

CSU's Larry Jones III fights off VMI's Miguel Marshall for a second-quarter touchdown on Saturday afternoon.

In their most complete performance in more than two years, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers dominated visiting VMI in a 32-14 victory Saturday afternoon.

It was CSU’s first home victory since Novemember of 2010.

Charleston Southern (2-4 overall, 1-1 in Big South) rolled up a season-high 446 yards in total offense while limiting VMI to 187 total yards.

The Bucs used a multitude of backs to roll up 307 yards on the ground, marking the third-best rushing effort for CSU since 2005. Eight backs gained positive rushing yardage in the game.

“I’m really proud of our football team,” said CSU coach Jay Mills. “What we have been seeing in practice every day does not resemble a team with a losing record. It’s good to see it all come together finally all at once. We have been getting closer and closer and I feel like today was pretty much are most complete game in some time.”

Offensively, CSU often operated out of the wildcat formation with running back Teddy Allen picking up 50 yards rushing. Quarterback Malcolm Dixon completed 5 of 6 passes for 88 yards and three touchdowns, and added 50 yards on the ground.

Freshman receiver Larry Jones had a pair of touchdown grabs and Gabriel Johnson led all rushers with 63 yards.

“We have been coming together offensively,” said Mills. “A lot of times it’s not noticeable to the public but our players and our coaches have seen it coming.

“I’m really proud of Malcolm. He has been working really hard and is making better and better decisions. He’s getting more and more comfortable and as a unit we are executing a lot better.”

Charleston Southern’s defense came into Saturday’s game allowing 448 yards per game. CSU had three sacks and five tackles for a loss with linebacker Zack Johnson leading the way with 10 tackles. VMI managed 74 yards rushing on 25 attempts.

“Defensively we have been getting better and better against the run each week,” said Mills. “Good defense starts up front and stopping the run and today we did that pretty effectively.”

Through the first five games, the Buccaneers had not scored in the first quarter but ended that drought on its first possession of the game. CSU went 67 yards on its first drive, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dixon to Zachary Frazier with 11:53 to play in the opening quarter.

Later in the first quarter, Dixon combined with Jones from 31 yards out, pushing the lead to 13-0 with 1:57 remaining.

VMI put together a 10-play, 69-yard drive that covered 5:29 off the clock in the second quarter. Jabari Turner’s three-yard run with 11:28 left in the half cut the margin to 13-7.

With time running out in the second quarter, halfback Chase Jones threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Larry Jones with 35 seconds left in the half. CSU missed a second extra point but led at the break, 19-7.

The Bucs tacked on a score on their first possession of the third quarter as Teddy Allen capped a 76-yard drive with a two-yard run, upping the lead to 26-7 with 7:51 to play in the third.

Dixon connected with Chris Theodore on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 4:24 left in the third, pushing the lead to 32-7.

CSU’s lone mistake offensively came early in the fourth quarter when a fumble resulted in John Washington’s 70-yard return for a touchdown, trimming the margin to 32-14 with 11:26 to play in the game.

CSU will host Presbyterian on Saturday, seeking to win consecutive games for the first time since 2009.