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Citadel outmatched by No. 22 Coastal Carolina in season-opening loss

The Bulldogs simply didn’t have an answer for one of the top teams in the FBS Group of Five this year.

NCAA Football: The Citadel at Coastal Carolina David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Citadel’s football team went 100 miles up the road Thursday night to open up its season against an in-state opponent and came back home with a massive loss. The Bulldogs’ 2021 campaign began with a 52-14 drubbing, via No. 22 Coastal Carolina.

This was the fourth straight loss to an FBS opponent for the Bulldogs. Their last win over such a team came in 2019, when they beat Georgia Tech in overtime in Atlanta.

Coastal started slowly out of the gates, scoring just once in the first quarter. But the Chanticleers exploded in the second period, piling on 24 points for a 31-0 halftime lead. Coastal coasted from there — pardon the pun — outscoring the Citadel 21-14 in the second half.

The Citadel really had trouble containing Coastal’s passing attack, as Grayson McCall completed 16-of-19 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, Bryce Carpenter and Jarrett Guest combined to complete 4-of-4 passes for 86 yards and a score.

On the ground, Coastal’s running attack spearheaded by Shermari Jones plowed ahead for a total of 266 yards and five touchdowns.

The Bulldogs didn’t get on the scoreboard until the game was well out of reach, with the Chanticleers leading by 38 points. Nathan Storch and Raleigh Webb tallied the lone scores for the Citadel, both touchdowns coming in the run game.

Storch rushed for 65 yards on 23 touches, but redshirt-sophomore quarterback Jaylan Adams paced the Bulldogs rushing attack with 100 yards on 16 carries. The Citadel finished with just 237 yards of total offense.

Defense was an even bigger problem for the Bulldogs though, as they gave up a total of 602 yards on the afternoon. They tightened up in the second half though, giving up only 223 yards. Willie Eubanks III led all players in tackles with 13.

Next week, the Citadel will host city rival Charleston Southern on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.