Courtesy of The Citadel Athletics
- The Citadel Football team, plagued by nine turnovers, suffered their first shutout in seven years when Georgia Southern blanked the Bulldogs, 20-0, before a crowd of 10,385 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Georgia Southern won the toss and deferred to the second half, giving The Citadel the ball on the opening possession. The Bulldogs, who got off to a rough start when Tyler Starnes fumbled the opening kickoff and fell on the ball on the 15-yard line, turned the ball over on four of their first five possessions of the game. The miscues set up three scores for the Eagles.
On the first Bulldog possession, The Citadel recorded two first downs and advanced the ball 25 yards before fullback Terrell Dallas fumbled on the handoff, giving the Eagles the ball on the Bulldogs' 40-yard line. Two plays and four yards into the drive, Eagle starting quarterback Jaybo Shaw was shaken up on the option pitch and left the game. With Jerick McKinnon in at quarterback, GSU then advanced the ball to The Citadel 9-yard line, but the Bulldog defense was able to keep the Eagles out of the end zone and forced an Adrian Mora 26-yard field goal attempt that was good. Georgia Southern went up, 3-0, with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
The second Citadel possession was similar to the first as the Bulldog offense turned the ball over again on their own 45-yard line. Wide receiver Domonic Jones caught a Matt Thompson pass on the first play of the drive and then fumbled it. The ball was recovered by Michael Butler and the Eagles drove the ball 45 yards in 10 plays and 4:35 for the first touchdown of the game. GSU went up, 10-0, with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
The third possession also resulted in a Bulldog fumble, this time by Thompson and recovered by Eagle Michael Spaulding on the Citadel 43-yard line. GSU got within scoring distance to the 5-yard line, but the Bulldog defense, led by linebacker Tolu Akindele and defensive end Erik Clanton, kept them out of the end zone and forced another Mora 26-yard field goal that was good. Georgia Southern went up, 13-0, at 11:31 in the second quarter.
Both teams punted on their next possessions and The Citadel got the ball back with less than seven minutes left in the first half. Sam Martin entered the game at quarterback for the Bulldogs and two plays into the drive he fumbled at the Bulldog 30-yard line. Brent Russell recovered for the Eagles and GSU advanced the ball to The Citadel 12-yard line. Once again the Bulldog defense prevented the touchdown, leaving Mora to attempt a 29-yard field goal. The kick fell wide right and the score remained 13-0 with 3:04 left in the first half.
The Citadel went three-and-out on their next possession, but got another chance to score late in the half when Brandon McCladdie intercepted a McKinnon pass at the GSU 48-yard line, returning it three yards to the 45. However, the Eagles got it right back when Lavelle Westbrooks picked off Thompson's pass in the first play of the drive with 0:07 left on the clock. The Bulldogs went into halftime down, 13-0.
The teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, before a Matt Thompson fumble gave GSU the ball back midway through the third quarter. The Eagles drove 48 yards on nine plays and the drive was capped by a McKinnon 3-yard touchdown run to increase the Georgia Southern lead to 20-0 with 4:15 to play in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs mounted a few drives late in the game, but another fumble, an interception and a turnover on downs erased any chance for The Citadel to get on the board.
The Citadel was held to a season-low 160 total yards, 113 of which were on the ground. Four Bulldogs had double-digit tackles, led by Erik Clanton's 16 total tackles. Georgia Southern gained 286 yards, all on the ground. McKinnon totaled 182 yards on the ground and a score. Roderick Tinsley led the Eagle defense with seven tackles, 2.5 of which were for a loss.
The game marked the first time the Bulldogs held an opponent without completing a pass since Sept. 30, 1973 vs. William & Mary. It was the first time The Citadel has been shutout since a 61-0 loss at Maryland on Sept. 13, 2003.
The Citadel heads to Wofford next Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff against the Terriers in Spartanburg. For more information on Bulldog Football, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.