SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2002
Second-Half Surge Sends Jacksonville Past Charleston Southern, 24-21
Oct. 26, 2002
CHARLESTON, SC - For the second time this season, Charleston Southern lost starting quarterback Darren Swiggett to a shoulder injury. And, just as in the season opener against Virginia Military, the Bucs were unable to overcome the loss of their leader.
Jacksonville University overcame an early 14-point deficit, scoring 17 unanswered points to upset Charleston Southern, 24-21, spoiling CSU's homecoming. Jacksonville improves to 2-5 on the season while the Buccaneers fall to 4-4.
Jacksonville freshman quarterback Mike Sturgill completed 21-of-34 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dolphins' comeback. Sturgill's eight-yard touchdown toss to Jon Turner with :27 left in the third quarter provided the winning score. Jacksonville held off two CSU scoring threats in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 1:31 remaining in the game when CSU's Adam Resnick missed a potential game-tying 31-yard field goal attempt.
"This is a very disappointing loss, a heartbreaker," said CSU head coach David Dowd. "We faced some adversity today and we did not handle it very well. When we lost Darren we needed some other guys to step up and we just came up a little short at the end. I credit Jacksonville for playing extremely hard. They took it to us pretty good in the second half and we didn't respond very well."
With Swiggett in the game, CSU's offense appeared crisp and ready for a big day. Swiggett's 27-yard touchdown pass with 13:42 to play in the first quarter gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead. Theo Warren added a two-yard run with 4:23 left in the opening quarter for a seemingly commanding 14-0 lead.
Facing a fourth-and-goal from the CSU 26-yard line, Sturgill and Turner connected on a touchdown pass with 1:32 to play to cut CSU's lead to 14-7. However, Swiggett and company responded with a quick three-play 66-yard drive with Swiggett hitting Brad Moultrie on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 10:52 remaining in the second quarter for a 21-7 lead. It was on that play that Swiggett suffered a shoulder sprain and did not return to the game. Swiggett had completed eight-of-11 passes for 163 yards in just over a quarter at the time of his injury.
Jacksonville added a 27-yard field from Ross Shmunes with :58 left in the first half for a halftime score of 21-10.
CSU went with John Muller at quarterback for the remainder of the game and the offense struggled with just 36 yards in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Jacksonville's offense seemed to pick up steam, taking their first possession 46 yards on seven plays, ending with a Shmunes 32-yard field goal with 10:36 to play in the third quarter.
Shmunes added a 26-yard field goal with 3:07 to play in the third to pull the Dolphins to within five at 21-16. After holding CSU on three plays, Jacksonville's Marshall Trace blocked Resnick's punt and Boshawn Mack returned it to the CSU 15-yard line. On second-and-goal from the CSU eight, Sturgill hit Turner for the go ahead touchdown pass, then connected again with Turner on the two-point conversion pass for the final margin.
Muller finished the game nine-of-23 passing with three interceptions. Running back Sheldon Evans had 98 yards rushing on 11 carries, while Aaron Dunklin had four receptions for 104 yards. CSU's offense finished with 382 total yards, their highest output of the season. However, the Bucs had 243 of those yards by halftime.
CSU's defense limited Jacksonville to only 48 yards rushing, sacking Sturgill five times.
"People can point fingers here or there but this was a team loss," said Dowd. "We made some mistakes and missed some opportunities in every phase of the game today. We had our chances. We just didn't get it done." Charleston Southern will travel to Tampa, Florida next week for a game against 1-A opponent South Florida.