As the college football season winds down, Charleston Southern is looking to salvage some success and avoid getting placed in the school's record books for the wrong reasons.
CSU enters today's game against Big South power Stony Brook with an 0-8 record. Only one other team in school history has gone winless in a season (1994).
CSU has lost nine straight games only twice in school history, in that 1994 season and the other coming in the final eight games of the 2003 season and the first game of 2004.
While coming up short on the scoreboard, the Buccaneers have shown improvement in recent weeks. Despite an 0-3 start in Big South play, the Bucs have had opportunities to win.
CSU lost last week, 14-7, to Gardner-Webb in a game that easily could have ended with a CSU victory.
"We're getting better, but it's not showing up on the scoreboard," said CSU coach Jay Mills.
"It's showing up in our eyes and we see the progress we are making as a team overall. I think if people watched us practice and watched us in our meetings, you can see the desire and focus. It's a hungry team."
Success today will be hard to come by as the visiting Seawolves bring in the league's hottest team. Stony Brook has won five straight games since opening with three losses, and appear headed for a showdown with Liberty for the Big South title.
Stony Brook wins with a physical running game, averaging 275 yards per game. Miguel Maysonet has rushed for 996 yards and nine touchdowns, while Brock Jackolski has gained 827 yards and scored six times.
Each back has rushed for more yards than Charleston Southern has as a team through eight games.
"They are outstanding on film," said Mills. "They don't make mistakes and they are very efficient. This is our fourth time playing them, and I think this is one of their best teams overall."
CSU's offense continues to battle injuries, which has led to inefficient play in all areas. The running game is virtually non-existent, averaging only 2.7 yards per carry.
Mills may use two quarterbacks today as normal starter Malcolm Dixon, who missed last week with an injury, is expected to play.
Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore says his team will not take the winless Bucs lightly, especially with so much riding on the outcome for his own team.
"We're excited about being in the position that we are in, but we will not overlook Charleston Southern," said Priore.
"(Mills') team performs much better than their record and they play hard and play hungry."