After two difficult weeks on the road, Charleston Southern plays its first home football game of the season Saturday at Buccaneer Field.
The Bucs host North Carolina A&T at 6 p.m.
CSU opened the season with a 46-13 loss at Furman and last week played at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, where the Bucs were pounded by South Carolina, 72-10, after practicing on the road all week because of Hurricane Dorian. The Bucs were overmatched physically in both games, but first-year head coach Autry Denson came away with something to build on.
“We had guys that didn’t quit,” Denson said. “I hate losing just like anyone else, but where we are and what we have to go through is a very necessary step in the process. There’s no way around it. I like where we are in the process, and I am excited to see us progress.”
South Carolina set a few school records for offense in last week’s win, a coming out party for freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski.
CSU's defense has allowed an average of 431 yards rushing per game. North Carolina A&T has not shown an effective running game through two games — a win over Elon and a loss to Duke.
Denson has somewhat of a history with North Carolina A&T, having coached in the MEAC at Bethune-Cookman.
“They’re going to be fast and athletic,” Denson said. “I know they are well-coached. They always compete very hard and I expect that to be the case on Saturday.
“For us, we have done some good things but we have a lot of things to clean up. We have to continue to improve in our execution.”
North Carolina A&T, ranked 17th nationally in FCS, will be a challenge for the Bucs, who are looking for their first win after losing to another ranked FCS team and an SEC team. Denson has no complaints about the rugged schedule, and neither do his players.
“You get a true barometer of where you are when you play good teams,” Denson said. “It’s all about the process. I would play these types of games every week if it were up to me.
“Our guys want to play at that level. It gives them an opportunity to measure themselves against the best of the best. I like great competition.”
Saturday’s game is one of just two home games CSU will play in the first two months of the season. Denson anticipates a high energy level from his team as the Bucs look forward to playing at home.
“Really excited to get some normalcy and ready to go out and play in front of our fans here for the first time,” Denson said.