A Bearcat offense that would total 464 yards bent Charleston’s defense all night at Alumni Field last Friday. Cam Brasher finally broke it with a 97-yard run that would be the last touchdown in a 21-7 Bearcat win.
Conversely the Bearcat defense would allow just 165 total yards, forcing punts on the last two Tiger possessions, the second punt coming after Anthony McKesson made a negative yardage tackle on a pass completion and Andrew Robertson sacked Brayden Ross.
With Brasher running for 223 yards on 18 carries the Bearcats (6-2, 5-0 Conference 3A-1) ran for 406 yards, but early on it was timely passing by Evan Schlinker that was key.
On the game’s opening possession Schlinker hit Ty Goff for 21 yards on a third-and-13 and he was flushed out of the pocket on what was to be a pass, reversed direction, and went 39 yards for a touchdown three plays later.
Gavin Kent added the point after for a 7-0 lead just 3:05 into the game.
That would be the only score until the final minute of the first half.
With Schlinker hitting Goff for 11 and Chance Broussard for 26 yards — giving him 58 yards passing — the Bearcats reached the Charleston 19-yard line on their next possession but a fumble cost seven yards and a fourth down pass fell incomplete.
The third possession also looked promising as Brasher converted a fourth down with a 7-yard run but a personal foul penalty wiped it out and Schlinker was sacked and lost a fumble four downs later.
The penalty was one of 11 on the Bearcats for 76 yards. All were on offensive plays with most — seven — for false start and another was an illegal shift that had the Bearcats repeatedly behind the chains.
The Bearcats survived that turnover as Ross threw three straight incomplete passes and punted.
Three plays later Schlinker was intercepted by Kaleb Hamby and after Shane Turner converted a fourth-and-2 by inches, Charleston (3-5, 3-2) had life.
The Tigers would go on to tie the game on a 9-yard Ross to Geoffrey Scott pass and Jesse Taggart PAT 44 seconds before halftime.
Ross finished 12-of-26 for 130 yards.
The Bearcats would reach the Charleston 24 before running out of time before the half.
Out of the intermission the Tigers were forced to punt and the Bearcats retook the lead with a 64-yard drive over eight plays.
Brasher converted a third down early in the drive and Charleston swarmed him on a false start-induced second-and-14, but Schlinker had pulled the ball and rumbled 17 yards for his second touchdown to make it 14-7 with 7:13 to play in the third quarter.
Schlinker ran eight times for 70 yards in the game.
The next three possessions all ended in punts, the third one, a 45-yard effort by Ross that died at the Bearcat 3 with 11:29 to play in the game.
Brasher ran through a hole on right side of the line on the next play and went 97 yards to the west, recording the second longest run in school history and giving the Bearcats a 21-7 lead.
Looking to put the game away the Bearcats drove to the Charleston 16 but fumbled for their third turnover of the night with 4:57 left in the game.
Charleston elected to punt on a fourth-and-18 with 2:53 to play and they would not get the football again.
Besides leading the offense, Brasher was also in on 10 total tackles. Ethan Wooldridge was in on seven stops and Colton Ritchie and Cort Mizell six each for a defense that allowed only 35 yards rushing.
After two weeks away from Bearcat Stadium, the Bearcats will be at home this Friday taking on Lamar, who beat Mansfield 48-26 in Lamar last week.
The Warriors come into the game 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.