Charleston Southern-Troy Preview
(STATS) - It could be a good sign if it's hard for anyone to get rest on Charleston Southern's return trip from Troy this weekend - about a 7 1/2-hour bus ride overnight.
The Buccaneers can almost feel a win over an FBS opponent coming for the first time.
"Going down is not as bad as for sure coming back," third-year coach Jamey Chadwell said. "It's a late game (Saturday), so we'll get out of there at midnight and then don't get back to Charleston 'til 8 a.m., 9 a.m. that next morning.
"It's just part of FCS football. You enjoy those times together with your team when you're on the road. It's you and your team against everybody else, and I think going down there and sort of being that enemy."
One of 25 FBS-FCS matchups this week, CSU (1-0) hopes to add to the four FCS upsets a week ago. The Bucs are 0-15 all-time against the higher level of Division I, but that includes a 21-20 near-miss at Vanderbilt last year. They also faced Colorado and Georgia in Chadwell's first two seasons, and losses both times didn't prevent the Big South Conference team from gaining 18 wins - the most by the Bucs over a two-year period.
Coming off a 41-14, season-opening victory over Division II North Greenville, the Bucs now have a veteran team and the experience of playing higher-level opponents.
Not to mention the motivation that many FCS players seem to have going into the so-called money games, which are supposed to be a win for the home FBS team and a payout for the visitors - especially ones traveling on a bus for 15 hours round-trip.
"Everybody kind of has a chip on their shoulder because when you're in high school, you want to go to a big school and somebody told you you weren't big enough, fast enough, this, that and the other," said CSU cornerback Malcolm Jackson, a team captain. "We've all developed ourselves into great athletes and that's what we try to go prove playing big FBS teams. We just go and have fun and play ball."
Saturday night's matchup features two of the younger head coaches in Division I, Chadwell (36) and Troy's Neal Brown (35), a first-year coach. Troy won all three of the previous meetings from 1993-95 when it was a national power on the FCS level and the Buccaneers were transitioning to scholarship football.
The Trojans, from the Sun Belt Conference, opened their season with a 49-14 loss at North Carolina State. They finished 3-9 a year ago, which included a loss to FCS member Abilene Christian.
While Troy will try to force a quick tempo with its passing offense, Charleston Southern wants to control the clock. Quarterback Austin Brown led the Bucs to the best time of possession in the FCS last season - an average of 34 minutes, 5 seconds - and running backs Ben Robinson and Darius Hammond are coming off 100-yard games against North Greenville.
Over half of the seven Big South teams are playing FBS opponents Saturday: No. 15 Liberty and its former FBS head coach Turner Gill (Buffalo and Kansas) take on West Virginia, Presbyterian visits Charlotte, and Monmouth heads to Central Michigan in its first venture into the upper level of Division I.
Third-ranked Coastal Carolina will try to continue its mastery of MEAC schools (20-1 all-time) when it faces a road test against South Carolina State. Also, Gardner-Webb renews a former rivalry for the first time since 2002 by hosting Elon from CAA Football and fledgling Kennesaw State hopes to make it two straight wins, playing its first home game at Fifth Third Bank Stadium against NAIA member Edward Waters.