It took a quarter to get cranked up, but once the Charleston Southern Buccaneers got going, the visiting Buccaneers of East Tennessee State University were no match.
CSU broke open a scoreless game with a 34-point outburst in the second quarter and cruised to a 47-7 win on Thursday night.
Charleston Southern improved to 2-1 heading into a game against cross-town rival The Citadel on Sept. 26. ETSU, playing its first season of football since 2003, dropped to 0-3 on the season. The win was CSU’s first in six games against ETSU.
Redshirt sophomore Kyle Copeland, making his first start of the season in place of injured Austin Brown, threw for a career-high 177 yards, completing 13 of 19 attempts. Senior Nathan Perera caught six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
A bevy of backs combined to rush for 212 yards for Charleston Southern. Junior Alan Barnwell led the ground game with 50 yards on seven carries. CSU finished with 406 total yards.
“We weren’t happy with the way we came out but we finally started to execute some in the second quarter and get a lead,” said CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell, who played quarterback and graduated from East Tennessee State. “Unfortunately we didn’t have a really sharp week of practice and it showed early on.”
CSU’s defense limited the visiting Buccaneers to 106 yards through three quarters before yielding a total of 228 yards. Linebackers Jermichael Bailey and Bobby Ruff led CSU with six tackles each. Cornerback Troy McGowens added two sacks.
Junior running back Mike Holloway, making his first appearance of the 2015 season, scored twice in the quarter — a 10-yard run and a three-yard run. Holloway finished with 38 yards on three carries. Holloway is CSU’s leading returning rusher with 509 yards last season. He was eligible to play after serving a two-game suspension.
“It’s exciting to be back on the field,” Holloway said. “I really missed it. Minor setback, major comeback.”
Perera scored on a 16 -yard pass from Copeland and freshman Kelan Fraise added a five-yard run to push the CSU lead to 27-0. Darius Hammond’s one-yard run closed out the first-half scoring.
“I just wanted to execute and help the offense move the ball,” said Copeland, who learned earlier in the week he would start in place of Brown. “I really wanted to focus on getting the ball in the playmakers’ hands and let them do what they do. Make the easy throws and let those guys make plays.”
CSU out-gained ETSU, 294-73, in the opening half.
CSU added a touchdown in the third quarter — a six-yard run by Alan Barnwell, his first career score at CSU.
ETSU found pay dirt in the fourth quarter when Tony Drew scored on a one-yard run with 8:40 left in the game.
CSU closed out the scoring with their second defensive touchdown of the early season — an 87-yard interception return by Larenzo Mathis with 3:06 left in the game.
“We have a chance to be pretty good but right now we’re pretty average,” Chadwell said. “When we play and execute like we are capable of, we’re a pretty good team. We’re not there yet. We’ve showed maybe some quarters of it but we’re not playing a complete game yet.
“We will always celebrate a win as long as I’m head coach. They are too hard to come by. But we need some time to rest up and get as healthy as we can for the rest of the season.”