news-category: Athletics

Rivals Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern Announce North-South BBQ Bowl

Winner to Hoist Coveted Hog Trophy and Consume a Barbecue Feast

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University and Charleston Southern University (CSU) announced today (Jan. 31) that the schools’ football programs will continue the Barbecue Bowl tradition started in 2021 with former Big South Conference opponent Campbell University. Beginning this season, the event will be renamed the North-South Barbecue Bowl.

Dr. William Downs
Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs

The inaugural “Clash of the Carolinas” will be on Saturday, Nov. 2, in Charleston, S.C., at Buccaneer Field. The Runnin’ Bulldogs and the Buccaneers will compete annually for bragging rights and the North-South BBQ Trophy, which features a hefty hog adorned with a placard to engrave each year’s winning team and score.

Most importantly, the losing team will be tasked with supplying a barbecue feast to the winning side—North Carolina-style (Western BBQ, of course) or South Carolina-style, as chosen by the victors.

Charleston-Southern President Keith Faulkner

“This is going to be fun, and I’m grateful to CSU President Keith Faulkner who quickly accepted the friendly challenge when I reached out to him,” shared Gardner-Webb President Dr. William Downs. “We all love our football. We all love some good barbecue. Anybody who lives in the region knows just how much we all love to talk about who does both better, and now we can look forward each year to settling the score on the gridiron. There’s nothing like raising the stakes a bit to build fan interest and team rivalry, so bring it on!” 

Responding to Downs’ invitation, CSU President Keith Faulkner stated, “As a North Carolina native and now anchored in the best place to live in South Carolina (and arguably the world), I am looking forward to establishing a new pigskin tradition with our conference rivals, Gardner-Webb. Before our Bucs dominate the field, we’ll crown the ultimate state champion in the battle of the best BBQ.”

Faulkner continued, “We are grateful to compete with GWU on the gridiron, the field, and the court within the Big South Conference. Buc Nation welcomes the Runnin’ Bulldogs to our home turf for the BBQ Bowl on Nov. 2, and we hope the GWU enjoyment of some South Carolina and North Carolina BBQ helps soften the blow of a Buccaneer victory. Runnin’ Bulldogs, get ready to walk the plank!”

Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern are the only two remaining original Big South football teams from the conference’s inception in that sport in 2002. GWU leads the all-time series 12-9, with the two teams having met every year since joining the Big South.

Gardner-Webb won the first five meetings in the series from 1988-2004. Charleston Southern won five in a row from 2017-2021, before the Dawgs broke the losing streak to the Bucs with a 28-14 win on Oct. 22, 2022. Gardner-Webb has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 34-10 victory on Nov. 18, 2023, in the regular season finale to clinch the inaugural Big South-OVC championship.

Both schools’ athletics programs compete as full members of the Big South Conference.

Season tickets, season parking passes, along with single-game tickets and parking for Gardner-Webb football are available online at or by calling (704) 406-4340 during regular business hours.

About Charleston Southern

Charleston Southern University is an independent, comprehensive Christian university grounded in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Founded as the Baptist College at Charleston in 1964 upon the principle that students should have an opportunity for a quality education under the guidance of Christian faculty, the institution changed its name to Charleston Southern University in 1990 to reflect the offering of graduate programs.

About Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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