Bulldogs Drop Season Opener to Coastal Carolina

Published: Aug. 31, 2014 at 4:40 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC - Sixth-ranked Coastal Carolina built a 28-3 lead in the third quarter and withstood a pair of 100-yard rushers by The Citadel in a 31-16 season-opening victory on Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

The Citadel falls to 0-1 on the season and visits No. 1 Florida State next Saturday in Tallahassee. It will mark the first time in program history that the Bulldogs will play a top-ranked FBS opponent. Coastal Carolina takes on North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.

Citadel sophomore Tyler Renew carried the ball 20 times for 137 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter, while senior Jake Stenson averaged 12 yards per carry, accumulating 122 on just 10 rushes.

It was the second consecutive FCS opponent in which the Bulldogs had two 100-yard rushers. Darien Robinson and Ben Dupree rushed for 115 and 109, respectively, against VMI to close out the 2013 home slate.

The Bulldogs rushed for 358 yards on 65 attempts, averaging 5.5 per carry, while the defensive front held the Chanticleers to 40 carries for only 170 yards. The Citadel fumbled eight times but managed to recover each one, and there were no turnovers by either team.

Chanticleer quarterback Alex Ross threw for 263 yards on 24-of-32 passing, including a nine-yard pass to Bruce Mapp in the third quarter to put Coastal Carolina up 28-3. Ross, who is on the Walter Payton Award watch list, has now thrown a touchdown pass in 15 consecutive games.

Ross also rushed the ball 13 times for 67 yards, while Mapp caught 10 passes for 108 yards.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Chanticleers marched 60 yards in eight plays and capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run by De'Angelo Henderson to take an early 7-0 lead. Henderson finished with 88 yards on 18 carries.

The Bulldogs' first drive stalled after two first downs, and a botched punt on fourth down left Coastal Carolina with the ball at The Citadel's 16.

Three plays later, the Chanticleers took a 14-0 lead on a six-yard quarterback keeper by backup Aaron Aiken.

The Citadel opened the second half with its longest drive of the game, taking 15 plays to drive 56 yards over 7:48. After a CCU third-down stop, the Bulldogs brought on Eric Goins who drilled a 42-yard field goal to put The Citadel on the board, 14-3.

The kick was Goins' first career field goal. The sophomore has handled the punting duties for the past two seasons.

The Chanticleers followed up the Bulldog field goal with back-to-back scoring drives which resulted in touchdowns that put Coastal Carolina ahead 28-3 early in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs added two touchdowns in the final nine minutes, including a six-yard score from Vinny Miller. The touchdown was the sixth of his career as the junior rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries.

CCU's Alex Catron added a 29-yard field goal before Renew's 30-yard touchdown capped the scoring.

Tevin Floyd led The Citadel defensive effort with 12 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack for a loss of six yards. Julian Baxter tallied 10 stops, seniors Walker Smith and Carl Robinson each made nine tackles and redshirt freshman DeVonta Delaney had three tackles including one behind the line of scrimmage.