AP Photo
September 10, 2016

(STATS) - Minus 14 players, including 10 starters, Charleston Southern was minus any chance against Florida State.

The Buccaneers, ranked seventh in the STATS FCS Top 25, hope the worst is behind them after they fell 52-8 Saturday to the third-ranked FBS team in the nation.

Florida State (2-0) scored four touchdowns in the first quarter and held a 35-0 lead in the second to take away any competitiveness. Redshirt freshman Deondre Francois was 25 of 32 for 262 yards and three touchdowns and running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Travis Rudolph scored two touchdowns each in the rout.

Charleston Southern has never beaten an FBS in 18 all-time meetings, so it wasn't likely the Buccaneers (1-2) were going to mount a challenge in Tallahassee, Florida, but being shorthanded proved disastrous.

The defending Big South Conference champs have suspended 32 players for one game each for violating NCAA rules by using financial aid meant for books to purchase other items at the school's bookstore. Sixteen players sat out the win over Division II Kentucky State last week and another two will serve their suspension at a later date.

"I was very proud of the guys that came down here under the circumstances and the way they fought," fourth-year coach Jamey Chadwell said. "I was real disappointed in the way we executed at times with turning the ball over and some other things that were self-inflicted, but I knew they would compete and fight and that's what they did the whole game. That's what we've been about, so it was good to see that."

The 14 players who sat out against Florida State did so because Charleston Southern next plays its conference opener Sept. 24 at Monmouth. The missing starters were the top two running backs, four offensive linemen, a wide receiver, two safeties and a defensive tackle.

With quarterback Kyle Copeland lost to a season-ending knee injury, London Johnson made the start. He was ineffective before Robert Mitchell came on to go 7 of 20 for 142 yards with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Brown in the second quarter.

Charleston Southern lost three fumbles with its read option accounting for 152 yards on 39 carries. Chanin Hamilton carried the ball nine times for 53 yards.

The Bucs also scored in the fourth quarter when defensive end Mike Taylor recorded a safety. Linebacker Solomon Brown paced the defensive effort with three tackles for loss and a sack.

Chadwell still has to serve a one-game suspension because of an assistant's impermissible social media contact with a high school player. That will occur against Albany State on Oct. 8.

By then, the Bucs hope they will be moving forward again after several rough weeks.

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