CCU product Tolbert carries new team past former one

Former Coastal Carolina standout and current Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert got a small measure of revenge against his former NFL team on Sunday.

Tolbert rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter to give the Panthers an early 14-0 lead en route to a 31-7 blowout of the host San Diego Chargers.

Tolbert, who was a fan favorite in San Diego after signing with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent and spending three seasons dazzling crowds and dazing defenders with his combination of size, speed and power.

Tolbert showed Chargers fans what they’ve been missing, especially a sure-fire short-yardage back, when he blasted into the end zone from 1 yard out to cap Carolina’s first two offensive series.

The Panthers drove 80 yards in 13 plays on their opening drive, then the defense forced a fumble by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. It was recovered by Carolina, then Tolbert equaled his season touchdown total in less than one quarter.

Two touchdown passes by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton cemented the Panthers (5-9) victory and ended San Diego’s bid for the postseason. The Chargers (5-9) scored fewer than 10 points for the third time this season.

Tolbert finished the game with 40 yards on nine carries and 24 receiving yards on two catches.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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