Citadel's twins Davis and Austin Boyle have made impact on Bulldogs

Citadel safety Davis Boyle has accounted for three of the Bulldogs' five turnovers this season with two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Photo by Russ Pace.

Sibling rivalry is one thing, but this is enough to drive a brother crazy.

Austin Boyle is a starting safety for The Citadel's football team and gets most of the snaps at the position. His backup has been his twin brother, Davis, also a redshirt junior.

But even though Austin is the starter, it's Davis who has come up with the big plays for the Bulldogs this season.

In a 16-6 loss to Furman three weeks ago, Davis Boyle recovered two fumbles, accounting for both turnovers caused by the Bulldogs. In Saturday's 18-15 overtime loss at Elon, Davis intercepted a pass, thwarting a promising Phoenix drive in the second quarter.

The Citadel's defense has caused five turnovers this season, three of them secured by Davis Boyle. No wonder the Boyle brothers, the pride of Wilson Hall School in Sumter, will likely both start this week at 17th-ranked Chattanooga.

"I'm happy that it's happening for him," said Austin, who at 5-10 and 178 pounds is the same height and weighs two pounds more than Davis. "But it seems like every time I go out of a game, the first time he comes in, he makes a play.

"As long as somebody on the defense is doing it, I'm happy. But it definitely makes me want to make some plays, too. It's in my head, for sure."

The Boyle brothers grew up in a sports-minded family in

Sumter -- their great-grandfather played football for South Carolina in 1924 -- and were each named male athlete of the year at Wilson Hall after lettering in football, baseball, basketball and track.

But as walk-ons from a small private school, they each felt they had something to prove at The Citadel.

"You have a chip on your shoulder to prove yourself, and I still have that today," Austin said. "I'm still trying to prove myself, and I enjoy that. I'm proud that I came from a school like Wilson Hall, but I did have to play catchup when I got here. It was definitely culture shock."

Davis proved his toughness against Elon. On the play before his interception, he got run over by an Elon blocker.

"He just got tattooed," Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said. "He got hit hard, was down on the ground. But he took it, went back to the huddle, got lined up, and on the very next play, he intercepted the ball and made a big play. That's the kind of guy he is."

Through their years playing together, the Boyles have developed a communication on the field that doesn't always require words. That carries over to the barracks, where they are roommates this year.

"You know you always have somebody to count on," Austin said. "In our room, we're always talking about football and watching film together. You always have that one person there with you, and you have someone to push you.

"We're always pushing each other, to see who's the better one."