South Carolina State’s Buddy Pough walked off the field for the final time Saturday in Norfolk as head coach of the Bulldogs.

He was able to wrap up his 22-year career with victory No. 151 as SC State defeated the Spartans 44-17. The win moved the Bulldogs to 5-6 on the season and 3-2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.

Redshirt freshman running back Josh Shaw breaks for yardage in the Bulldogs’ 44-17 win over the Spartans in Norfolk, Virginia.

“It’s bittersweet,” Pough said. “I’ve had a wonderful time (at SC State) and I’m glad and fortunate to have been able to coach here for so long.”

It was a “Buddy Ball” style of win as South Carolina State rushed for over 300 yards on offense and held the Spartans to 231 yards of total offense, including 57 on the ground. Tyler Smith of Barnwell led the Bulldogs with 86 yards rushing and a touchdown. SC State had five different players with at least 20 yards rushing in the game.

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“I think all our backs had a good day,” Pough said. “It was good to (Tyler) get into the mix, he had a really good fourth quarter. He showed some similarity to (Juwarn) Howell with his explosiveness.”

After the game, Norfolk State head coach Dawson Odums talked about SC State’s rushing attack.

“They’re pretty good,” Odums told the Virginia Pilot. “They’ve rushed the ball on everybody. When they don’t turn the ball over ,they’re hard to beat. They got a big, physical offensive line.”

Quarterback Corey Fields was also making his final appearance in an SC State uniform Saturday. The sixth-year senior struggled in his previous two games but threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another against the Spartans.

“Our mindset before the game was to go out with a bang,” Fields said. “We wanted to get that win to end (Coach) Pough’s career on a good note.”

After the game, Fields said he took a moment to reflect on his career as a Bulldog.

“It was a bit unreal back in the locker room,” Fields said. “You start wondering where the time went. (Coach) Pough took a chance on me and I figured the most I could give back was to send him out a winner.”

Fields finished the day 9-of-11 passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown.

“We made some changes to the offense that made (Corey) more effective Saturday,” Pough said. “We had some more experienced receivers on the field and the offensive line played better. Sometimes too much gets put on the quarterback, but when the line’s not blocking and the receivers aren’t catching, it can be tough. (Saturday) we got everyone around (Corey) playing well, and that made him better.”

Defensively, Marquis Bradley and Aiden Weber led the Bulldogs with five tackles each. Weber also added a sack, tackle for loss and an interception. Malcolm Magee also had an interception in the victory. Aaron Smith had two tackles for loss and a sack.

“I’m appreciative to these (players),” Pough said. “After last week’s heartbreaking loss (against Morgan State), they could have packed it in, but they fought hard and played one of their best games of the season.”

“It’s bittersweet. I’ve had a wonderful time (at SC State), and I’m glad and fortunate to have been able to coach here for so long.”

— Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough


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