Wofford Advances in FCS Playoffs with 15-14 Win Over CSU


Courtesy: Wofford athletics

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford) – One point was the difference as the Wofford College football team earned a 15-14 win over Charleston Southern at Gibbs Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Devin Watson had two interceptions for the Terriers in the second half, including one with a minute remaining in the game to secure the win. The Terriers advance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs to face The Citadel next Saturday in Charleston.

Wofford advances with a 9-3 record on the season and #10 Charleston Southern finishes at 7-4 on the season. The Terriers were led by Lorenzo Long with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Wofford defense came up with 10 tackles for loss and three sacks. The Bucs were led by Darius Hammond with 94 rushing yards, while Shane Bucenell was 9-of-18 passing.

The Terriers had the ball first and went three-and-out and punted. The Bucs were able to gain one first down before punting back to Wofford. After gaining a first down, the Terriers were forced to punt. Charleston Southern moved down the field with four first downs and scored on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Shane Bucenell to Jared Scotland for a 7-0 lead at 1:41 in the first quarter.

On the next drive by Wofford, they gained one first down added a first down on a late hit on the quarterback. On a fourth-and-one, Andre Stoddard picked up a first down. Lorenzo Long added a first down and then on a 24-yard apparent touchdown run, instant replay rule Long down at the six-inch line. Two plays later, Long scored but the point after was wide left. Wofford trailed 7-6 at the 9:09 mark of the second quarter.

The Bucs went three-and-out and punted after a tackle for loss by Devin Watson on third down. Wofford also went three-and-out and punted back to the Bucs. After a three-and-out by Charleston Southern punted and it was blocked by Terrance Morris and recovered at the 2-yard line by Bryce Motes. On fourth-and-inches, instant replay ruled Lorenzo Long did not cross the line and CSU took over on downs. On third down, Tyler Vaughn tackled Shane Bucenell in the end zone for a safety and an 8-7 lead with just over two minutes left in the half. After the free kick, Wofford went three-and-out and punted. Charleston Southern ran out the clock to end the first half.

To begin the second half, Charleston Southern used a 51-yard run by Darius Hammond to set up first-and-goal. Shane Bucenell scored from two yards out to give CSU a 14-8 lead with 12:15 on the clock in the third quarter. Both teams then went three-and-out and punted twice. Wofford took over with 5:08 on the clock in the third quarter and had a 30-yard pass completion to Dorian Lindsey to move across midfield. Lorenzo Long capped the drive with a 32-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 15-14 lead with 2:32 left in the third quarter.

With the ball back, the Bucs gained three first downs before Devin Watson intercepted Shane Bucenell at the 28-yard line. Wofford was able to gain one first down before punting. The Bucs answered with a first down, but also had to punt. The Terriers could only gain two yards and had to punt on their next drive. CSU had a first down, but then the Wofford defense stepped up with a tackle for loss by Jaleel Green, sack by Dylan Young and a pass break-up by George Gbesee to force a punt.

Wofford was unable to pick up a first down and punted with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter. On third down, Devin Watson picked off Shane Bucenell and returned it 47-yards to the 24-yard line with 1:09 on the clock. The Terriers took a knee twice to seal the win.

Wofford had 185 total yards, with 141 rushing. CSU had 286 total yards, 195 of which were passing. Wofford had 10 first downs to 14 for CSU. Wofford was 3-of-14 on third downs and 1-of-2 on fourth downs. CSU was 3-of-11 on third down. Wofford was called for one penalty, while CSU was whistled five times. CSU had a 30:15 to 29:45 time of possession advantage.

Wofford Head Coach Mike Ayers
It was a tough and hard fought football game. They have a really class program, a great group of kids and phenomenal coaches. We knew from watching them on film that they were very similar to us. They play great defense and run option football. They did some really good things with the option game but what it came down to at the end was our defense made a few more plays. The kicking game was critical and afforded us a chance with field position, because that was what this game was about. The last drive was huge. The last play happened right in front of me and Devin was looking at the quarterback and when he saw him turn he throttled back a little bit and when the ball was released he was already gone. It was a heck of a play. The defense answered the bell I don’t know how many times. On offense we struggled and they did a great job up front matching us.”

Charleston Southern Head Coach Jamey Chadwell
First, let me start out by congratulating Coach Ayers and Wofford. That was a heck of a football game and they’re a great team. They’re a classy program. I don’t want to get beaten by anybody, but I know they do football the right way so I congratulate them. We talked a lot before the game how it was going to come down to turnovers and not making mistakes and if you look at the stats it was pretty even other than turnovers. I thought we had some timely penalties that killed us. We had our chances to win the game and to their credit they finished and we just couldn’t quite do that.

Wofford vs. CSU Post-Game Notes
The game marked the seventh season that the Terriers have played in the NCAA FCS postseason. They are now 6-6 all-time in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

The Terrier defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in a game this season. They allowed a season-high 195 rushing yards to Charleston Southern. The 51-yard run by Darius Hammond was the longest this season by an opponent.

Wofford’s 141 rushing yards and 185 total offensive yards marked season lows.

The safety by Tyler Vaughn was the second safety by the defense this season (at Chattanooga, 11/12/16). It was the first safety of his career. He added 2.5 tackles for loss, giving him 16.5 for the season to lead the team.

The PAT miss by David Marvin in the second quarter was his first this season and ended a streak of 44 straight dating to last season.

The #19 Terriers have nine wins on the season, topping the total from last year (5-6). The eight regular season wins were the most since the 2011 season and the nine total wins the most since 2012.

Lorenzo Long had 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He now has 3,345 career rushing yards to rank 5th in school history, passing ted Phelps (3,282 from 1965-68). His 16 touchdowns this season are ninth in school history and his 39 career touchdowns move him into third all-time at Wofford.

The two interceptions by Devin Watson marked the first multiple interception game this season by a Terrier. They were his first two interceptions of the season and of his career.

Wofford had several significant injuries in the game, including Lincoln Stewart in the third quarter. He was taken to Spartanburg Regional for precautionary measures related to a neck injury. Lennox McAfee suffered a fractured fibula.

Game captains were Will Gay, Jaleel Green, Tyler Vaughn, and Anton Wahrby.

Wofford will advance to play at The Citadel on Saturday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. in Charleston.

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