West Virginia

Charleston Southern eager to grab upset in season finale | Colleges

The Charleston Southern football team will play its final game of the 2022 season on Saturday, hoping for a strong finish against one of the Big South Conference’s top teams, North Carolina A&T.

The midday opener in Greensboro, NC will be an opportunity for the Buccaneers to end an otherwise disappointing 2022 season with a win and a 3-2 record against Big South teams.

The Aggies are 6-3 overall and 3-0 in the Big South game and can take the league title straight away with wins over Gardner-Webb on Saturday and next week. North Carolina A&T is leaving the Big South for the Colonial Athletic Association after this season.

CSU head coach Autry Denson fully expects the Bucs’ best efforts as they try to build positive momentum in the offseason. The Bucs (2-7) defeated Robert Morris in their home final last week.

“A lot to play. Another opportunity for us to compete for the glory of God,” Denson said. “A chance to go 3-2 in conference, a chance to walk away with a win to set the momentum going into the off-season. “Our boys will play hard. Effort was not a problem with this team.”

A big key in the game will be how the CSU defense deals with the Aggies’ running game. North Carolina A&T is averaging just over 200 rushing yards per game this season. Bhayshul Tuten leads with 1,149 yards rushing and averaging 6.8 yards per attempt.

CSU allows an average of 3.8 yards per rush and has been particularly good in the last two games with 181 total yards. One area CSU needs to improve on is third-down defense, where opponents are converting at 39 percent.

Denson says the quarterback position will continue to see a mix of Deymon Fleming and Tony Bartalo. The duo have shared time since the team lost its top two starters, Ross Malmgren and Isaiah Bess, in the first six games of the regular season.

“They do what we ask them to do,” Denson said. “The boys were good. No matter what, they are teammates first. Of course, both want to be on the pitch and both appreciate the opportunities.”

One area of ​​strength this fall has been the special teams.

The Bucs have benefited the most from the transfer portal in this area. Placekicker Sam Babbush, a transfer from Kentucky, is perfect with 24 extra-point kicks and has converted seven of 10 field goal opportunities with a 57-yard span.

Punter David Gelb, a transfer from Maine, is one of the top performers in the Great South, averaging 44.7 yards per punt and 77 yards in length. He has 19 punts from 50 yards or more. He leads the league in punting in excess of four yards per punt.

“Sam was very consistent and David was exactly what we expected,” said Denson. “We were really looking forward to getting him and he performed. Both guys have been great for us.”

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