CHARLESTON, S.C. – Ben Dupree scored two touchdowns in a 28-point third quarter onslaught and Rickey Anderson found the end zone three times as The Citadel broke away from a halftime tie to cruise past Charleston Southern 49-14 in the season opener for both teams Saturday night at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The Bulldogs rushed for 479 yards, their most in a game in 18 years, with fullback Darien Robinson leading the way with a career-high 120 yards on only 12 carries and a touchdown. Anderson, a sixth-year senior, picked 80 yards and his three touchdowns matched his career total entering Saturday's contest.
Dupree added 77 yards while freshman Vinny Miller ran for 66 and a touchdown. The Citadel's rushing total was the sixth-highest in school history and the most since running for 506 against VMI in 1994 while its seven rushing touchdowns fell one shy of the school record set against Lees-McRae in 1993.
The Bulldogs finished with 527 yards of total offense, reaching the 500-yard plateau for the first time since gaining 541 against Western Carolina in 2008.
Chris Billingslea paced the defensive effort with eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. Fifth-year senior Austin Boyle grabbed his first career interception and Colin Parsons joined Billingslea with a sack. The Bulldogs surrendered 263 yards of total offense but only 70 in the second half.
Teddy Allen rushed for a game-high 56 yards for Charleston Southern, which has lost 13 in a row. Malcolm Dixon completed 6 of 14 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Citadel played sluggishly in the first half, fumbling six times and losing two, and Thomas Warren misfired on a short field goal attempt. Despite a statistical advantage, the Bulldogs had to settle for a 14-14 halftime tie forged when Anderson scored from 27 yards out with 1:29 left in the second quarter.
The second half was a different story. Justin Oxendine recovered a fumble at the Charleston Southern 42, and the Bulldogs took advantage when Dupree went in from the 10 with 11:39 left in the third quarter to give The Citadel the lead for good.
Three straight incomplete passes gave the ball back to The Citadel, and Robinson raced 54 yards on the first play to make it 28-14. Parsons forced and recovered a Dixon fumble at the Buccaneer 24, and Dupree scored from the six to give the Bulldogs three touchdowns in a span of three minutes, 49 seconds to build a 35-14 advantage.
Charleston Southern reached The Citadel 22 on its next drive but the drive stalled when Bay Amrhein and Sadath Jean-Pierre combined to stop Trey Dorsey short of the sticks on a fourth down run. A 21-yard run by Robinson, a 25-yard pass from Aaron Miller to Terrance Martin and a personal foul penalty on the Buccaneers led to a 3-yard scoring run by Anderson that pushed the lead to 28 with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Vinny Miller capped the scoring for The Citadel with a 19-yard touchdown run with 11:40 remaining in the game.
Charleston Southern ran only five plays for six yards in the first quarter, but its offense woke up in the second half. Citadel slot back Dalton Trevino fumbled at the Buccaneer two when the Bulldogs appeared poised to build a 14-0 lead, and Charleston Southern responded with a 98-yard drive, tying the game at 7 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dixon to Chase Jones.
On the third play of the next Citadel drive, Dupree fumbled and Calvin Bryant recovered at the Bulldog 26. A 9-yard scoring run by Dixon gave the Buccaneers a surprising 14-7 lead with 2:42 left in the first half. The Citadel tied it before intermission, driving 65 yards in only five plays with Anderson scoring from the 27.
The Citadel remains home next Saturday for its Southern Conference opener against Georgia Southern at 6 p.m. Charleston Southern hosts Jacksonville in its home opener on Saturday.