Citadel pulls away from Charleston Southern in season opener
When they stopped fumbling,The Citadel Bulldogs started scoring — four touchdowns in the third quarter alone — and pulled away for a 49-14 victory over Charleston Southern on Saturday night.
In the season opener for both teams, Citadel running back Rickey Anderson ran for three touchdowns and quarterback Ben Dupree added two scores as the Bulldogs overcame six first-half fumbles before a crowd of 14,264 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Fullback Darien Robinson added 120 yards and a TD, and The Citadel piled up more than 500 yards to beat Charleston Southern for the fifth time in six meetings.
But year three of the Bulldogs’ move to the triple-option offense got off to a shaky start, with six fumbles — two of them recovered by CSU — in the first 30 minutes.
Bucs quarterback Malcolm Dixon took advantage, throwing a 15-yard TD pass to Chase Jones and scrambling nine yards for another score as the Bucs took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The score was tied 14-14 at the half.
But the Bulldogs smashed it open with three quick touchdowns to start the third quarter. After a CSU fumble, caused by Chris Billingslea, Dupree scored on a 10-yard keeper. Just 22 seconds later, Robinson went 54 yards up the gut for a 28-14 lead, and the rout was on.
Another CSU fumble, this one forced by defensive tackle Colin Parsons, set up Dupree’s second TD from six yards out for a 35-14 lead just 7:10 into the third.
And Anderson’s 3-yard TD made it 42-14 after three quarters.
Freshman running back Vinny Miller tacked on a 19-yard TD run with 11:40 left, the Bulldogs’ seventh rushing TD of the game, one shy of the school record.
The Citadel dominated the early going, but a severe case of goal-line jitters helped the Bucs stay in the game. The Bulldogs’ first drive bogged down at the CSU 8, and ended with a missed 30-yard field goal after a false-start penalty.
The Bulldogs survived a fumble to score their first touchdown of the season on Anderson’s 1-yard run. But as the fumbles began to mount up for the Bulldogs -- six in the first half -- the Buccaneers began to settle in.
A fumble by Citadel slotback Dalton Trevino set up a 98-yard drive for CSU, keyed by a quick-snap pass of 29 yards from Dixon to Kevin Glears. Dixon found Jones for a 15-yard TD to knot the score at 7-7 with six minutes left in the half.
CSU converted another Citadel fumble when linebacker Zack Johnson knocked down a pitchout, the Bucs recovering at the Bulldogs’ 26. This time, Dixon scrambled for a nine-yard TD and a 14-7 CSU lead with 2:42 left.
The Citadel answered with a 27-yard TD run by Anderson, who got some nifty downfield blocking to the the score at 14-14 with 1:29 left in the half.
The Bulldogs host Georgia Southern next week, while Charleston Southern takes on Jacksonville in the Bucs’ home opener.