BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Malcolm Dixon ran for 135 yards and passed for 118 more to lead Charleston Southern to a 30-10 win over Campbell Saturday night at Barker-Lane Stadium.
The senior quarterback averaged 8.4 yards per carry and ran for two fourth-quarter scores as the Buccaneers pulled away from a 10-3 half-time lead to win its third-straight game to open the season.
A Barker-Lane Stadium record crowd of 6044 saw the Fighting Camels (1-2) move the ball deep into Charleston Southern territory twice in the second half only to be stopped on downs.
Charleston Southern out-gained the Camels on the ground 327-149 and held CU to 0-for-9 third-down conversions and 0-of-2 on fourth-down attempts.
Christian Reyes ran for 105 yards and two TDs, while averaging 5.2 yards per rush. Zac Frazier added 57 yards on 8 carries for a 7.1 average.
Quarterback Brian Hudson led Campbell (1-2) with 79 rushing yards on 18 attempts and completed 15-of-26 passes for 110 yards. Jabri Ridenhour had six receptions for 21 yards and scored on a 9-yard end around in the fourth quarter.
Campbell took the second half kick-off and drove to the Charleston Southern 36 before turning the ball over on downs. On fourth-and-two, Hudson's pass attempt to Shawn Millsap was incomplete.
The Bucs took over and promptly drove 64 yards on 10 plays to extend the lead to 17-3. On fourth-and-four at the Campbell 29, the Camels were flagged for pass interference. Three plays later, Reyes ran in from four yards for his second score of the game.
CU then drove into the Buccaneer red zone, keyed by Hudson's 25-yard scamper. The drive stalled at the CSU 17 when Hudson was intercepted in the end zone on fourth down.
Dixon toted the ball three times for 43 yards and Frazier added a 24-yard carry as the Bucs extended the lead to 23-3 with an 80-yard scoring drive that took 5 plays. Dixon ran for the final 29 yards on a QB keeper.
Lucas Smith blocked T.J. Higgins' point after and CSU was flagged for a personal foul on the play, giving the Camels a short field. Ridenhour's 9-yard run capped a 7-play, 54-yard drive that cut the score to 23-10 with 11:14 to play.
CSU, however, needed just 50 seconds and two plays to reach the end zone on the next drive as Dixon hit tight end Kirby Broome for a 45-yard gain, then ran in from 9 yards for the final score.
Safety Demaris Freeman led the Charleston Southern defense with 10 tackles, while Damian Dixon, Will Hunt and Matt Hardy added 8 apiece.
Charleston Southern went in front late in the first quarter on an 11-play, 71-yard drive. Reyes accounted for 38 of those yards on six carries, including a two-yard run around left tackle to give the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead with 47 seconds left in the period.
The Camels answered on the next possession with a 61-yard drive to set up a 31-yard Jarrett Ozimek field goal. Hudson hit Artis with completions of 24 and 13 yards before the drive eventually stalled at the CSU 14.
After forcing a Buccaneer punt, Campbell appeared to take the lead when Dakota Wolf hit Keith Goss on a short pass over the middle and the freshman running back ran down the left sideline for a touchdown. However, the Camels were called for holding on the play and the drive stalled.
Late in the half, a 41-yard completion from Dixon to Kevin Glears gave CSU a first down on the Camel 34. Dixon later hit Chris Theodore on an 18-yard completion down the right flank to give the Buccaneers a first and goal from the 10 late in the half. However, the Camel defense stiffened and forced 3-straight incompletions to set up a T.J. Higgins 27-yard field goal.
CSU has started the season with three-straight wins for just the second time in the program's 23-year history and for the first time since 2006. CSU also recorded consecutive FCS road wins for the first time since November 2009.
After an open date next week, Campbell opens Pioneer Football League play on Sept. 28 at Valparaiso (2:00 p.m.). Charleston Southern returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 21) at Norfolk State (4:00 p.m.).
Head Coach Mike Minter:
"It was a tough game tonight. We fought very hard in the first half and it makes it tough when you're playing against a good football team. I know how that goes. In the first half you're fighting and you're in it. What I was trying to get my guys to understand that coming out in the third quarter, is very, very critical in a close game. The third quarter is where the better football team takes control of the game. So I wanted us to come out and execute in that third quarter, and to not let the game slip away from us. But unfortunately, I believe that's what happened. I thought the offense moved the ball well, but we have to convert. We have to take advantage of those opportunities, and we didn't do that tonight. The defense played great in the first half, but then we let them start to slip away from us. Again, I think that comes from Charleston Southern being a little bit bigger, and the body blows they land in the first half became haymakers later on in the game. "
"Overall, we got better as a football team tonight. We are in the process now of understanding how important a third quarter is in a tight ball game, that's going back and forth. So we learned that tonight, we will build upon that, and that won't happen again as we move forward into conference play. "
"One of the main things I look at is how we are able to move the football down the field against stiff competition. We we're able to move the football against Charlotte and we were able to move the football tonight. But again, it comes down to critical moments and can you convert. And that's what we have to get better, converting long drives into points, because we didn't do that tonight. You have to give Charleston Southern credit because their defense buckled down when they had to, and they made it pretty tough."