Bulldogs Overcome Early Deficit to Roll Past Jacksonville, 31-9
Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel scored 31 unanswered points as the Bulldogs defeated the Jacksonville Dolphins, 31-9, before a season-opening crowd of 12,099 at Johnson Hagood Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Bulldogs produced the most rushing yards of any Citadel team since 1994 with 439 yards on 54 carries, led by sophomore quarterback Ben Dupree who rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns. The defensive effort was widespread as sophomore Derek Douglas recorded three solo tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 15 yards and one fumble recovery.
Jacksonville was first to put points on the board after both teams struggled in their opening drives. A sack by Rod Harland during the Dolphins' second possession gave them extra yardage they were unable to make up. A 55-yard punt by Jacksonville's Garrett Mohr backed Bulldog punt returner Greg Adams to the 4-yard line where the ball slipped through his fingers, creating a Bulldog turnover and setting up the Dolphin 2-yard touchdown run with 8:49 on the clock. The extra point attempt was bobbled on the snap and was no good.
The Dolphins added three more points at 49.9 on the clock with a Bladen Gudz 23-yard field goal to make the score 9-0 at the end of the first quarter, but that would be the last scoring drive for Jacksonville on the night.
With five minutes left in the second quarter, the Bulldogs found their rhythm, getting in scoring territory on three occasions and scoring two touchdowns before the end of the half. The first score came on the first play of the fourth Bulldog drive when Dupree broke loose for a 58-yard run with 4:29 on the clock. The Citadel defense kept the Dolphins in their own territory for the next drive and Dupree showed his speed and agility once again as he brushed past Jacksonville defenders for a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:12 left in the half.
The Citadel defense forced a Dolphin three-and-out and the Bulldogs found themselves in scoring range again with 18 seconds left in the half after fullback Darien Robinson ran for 42 yards on the first play of the next drive. With time running out, the Bulldogs brought out field goal kicker Ryan Sellers who attempted a 31-yard field goal that sailed wide left. The Citadel went into halftime with the lead, 14-9.
The Bulldogs kept the momentum going into the second half, outscoring the Dolphins, 17-0. The Citadel ended the first drive with a 30-yard field goal by Sellers to extend the lead, 17-9. The Citadel followed up on the next drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Darien Robinson, marking his first career touchdown and giving the Bulldogs a 24-9 lead with 3:07 left in the third quarter. Junior slot back Dalton Trevino also recorded his first career touchdown with a 7-yard run and the final score of the game with 13:16 left on the clock.
The Citadel totaled 472 yards of offense, including 33 yards passing. The Citadel defense held the Dolphins to 186 yards with -22 on the ground. The Bulldogs' special teams blocked three punts and punter Cass Couey averaged 44.8 yards a punt with two inside the 20 and a long for 50 yards.
The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday, Sept. 10 in a conference-opener against the Furman Paladins. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. For more information on Bulldog Football, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com or follow the Dogs on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/citadelsports and twitter.com/citadelfootball.