Late Comeback Not Enough at Elon
ELON, N.C. – The Citadel used a pair of blocked punts and recovered an onside kick to help erase a 14-point deficit, but in the end, it was Elon who prevailed, 35-28, Saturday afternoon at Rhodes Stadium.
Score: Elon 35, The Citadel 28
Records: Elon (1-1), The Citadel (0-2)
Location: Rhodes Stadium (Elon, North Carolina)
Series: The Citadel leads 8-6
How it Happened
· The Phoenix got out to the early lead after De’Sean McNair capped a 94-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
· The Bulldogs tied the game early in the second quarter as Brandon Rainey plunged over right guard for a one-yard score.
· Elon regained the lead on a 27-yard pass from Davis Cheek to Kortez Weeks.
· The lead grew to 21-7 on a Jaylan Thomas six-yard score.
· The Bulldogs took advantage of their second blocked punt of the game in the third quarter to pull within seven. The Citadel got the ball on the five, and two plays later, Rainey plunged in from the two.
· The drive was again answered by the Phoenix with the third rushing score of the game, and the second from Thomas.
· Rainey engineered a long scoring drive on the next Bulldogs possession. After connecting with Ryan McCarthy on a 37-yard pass, Rainey capped the drive with a three-yard TD.
· The Bulldogs went with the surprise onside kick that was recovered by Ryland Ayers.
· The ensuing drive saw the Bulldogs get behind the chains. On third-and-long, Rainey rolled left and found Raleigh Webb in the back of the end zone for the 27-yard touchdown.
· The Phoenix had one last answer as Breyland Cyphers scoring from 30 yards out with just over six minutes to play.
· The Bulldogs had one last chance as they drove into Elon territory, but the fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Inside the Numbers
· Special teams played a big role in the game as Sean-Thomas Faulkner blocked a pair of punts, setting up two Bulldog touchdowns.
· It is the second time the Bulldogs blocked two punts in the last six games. The Citadel also blocked two punts at Western Carolina last season.
· Faulkner now has three blocked punts in his career. He added seven tackles on defense.
· Willie Eubanks III led the defense with 13 tackles and three tackles-for-loss.
· Airan Reed added 10 tackles, including five solo stops.
· Clay Harris led the ground attack with 44 yards on 13 carries.
· Brandon Rainey rushed for 41 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for 69 yards and a touchdown.
· He has now thrown for a touchdown and rushed for a score in three-straight games.
· Rainey’s three touchdown effort was the first three TD game for a Bulldog since Tyler Renew rushed for three scores against Samford in 2016.
· Remus Bulmer added 27 yards on four touches.
· Raleigh Webb caught two passes for 30 yards, including a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter. It is his second-straight game with a TD catch.
· Ryan McCarthy caught a career-long 37-yard pass in the fourth quarter.
· Matt Campbell averaged 47.7 yards on six punts, including along of 67.
· Jacob Godek converted all four extra points and executed a perfect onside kick.
· The kick was recovered along the sideline by Ryland Ayers.
The Bulldogs play their second-straight game on the road as they travel to face Georgia Tech. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.