If effort ever meets with execution, the Charleston Southern football team will find victory. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers have only one more week to achieve that goal this season.
Charleston Southern (0-10, 0-5 Big South) played tough and, at times, better than visiting Coastal Carolina (6-4, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon. However, a great effort was not quite enough as Coastal escaped with a 45-38 victory on CSU's Senior Day.
Three of CSU's five conference losses have come by a touchdown or less.
"We continue to be very competitive and so close, but we just can't get over that hump," said CSU coach Jay Mills.
Charleston Southern had its best offensive day of the season, piling up 514 total yards, but also committed four turnovers and could not stop Coastal Carolina enough in a high-scoring second half.
Junior quarterback Richard Mounce had another outstanding day in the passing game, completing 27 of 48 pass attempts for 397 yards and four touchdowns. He lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions -- the last coming with under a minute to play at the Coastal Carolina goal line.
"(Mounce) made a lot of plays today and completed a lot of passes," Mills said. "We would not have been in position to win at the end had he not played well."
The game had the look of a shootout from the opening kickoff as each team scored a touchdown in the first quarter.
CSU grabbed a 21-14 halftime lead with 22 seconds left in the half on a six-yard pass from Mounce to Chase Jones.
In the third, the Bucs pulled ahead, 31-24, on a 34-yard pass connection from Mounce to Nathan Perera, who caught six passes for 93 yards.
The fourth quarter belonged to Coastal Carolina. Quarterback Aramis Hillary tossed a pair of touchdown passes, one to former Wando standout Jamie Childers with 7:11 to play in the game to give the Chants a 45-31 lead.
Childers finished the day with four catches for 92 yards and two scores, while Hillary threw for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
CSU's Corvaughn Archie, a seldom-used receiver, had 11 catches for 204 yards.
Jones had 80 yards on five catches.
"Our guys have had many opportunities to pack it in this year but our guys fight," said Mills. "It looked like we were competing for a conference championship out there today. It breaks my heart that we didn't come out on the winning side but we competed so hard today. I'm so proud of this football team and every Buccaneer supporter should be proud as well."
CSU closes out the 2011 season at Presbyterian College next Saturday.
"We have one more week to get it right, one more chance to put it all together," said Mills.