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Getting to know the Citadel, which faces USF on Saturday

The Bulldogs, who run the triple option, return 10 offensive starters
Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey (16), running for a touchdown during last season's 27-24 overtime win against Georgia Tech, totaled more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019.
Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey (16), running for a touchdown during last season's 27-24 overtime win against Georgia Tech, totaled more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019. [ MIKE STEWART | Associated Press (2019) ]
Published Sep. 8, 2020
Updated Sep. 8, 2020

A look at the Citadel, which plays USF on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium

Nickame: Bulldogs

2019 record: 6-6 (4-4 in Division I-AA Southern Conference)

Coach: Brent Thompson (fifth season, 26-20)

The breakdown: Because the Southern Conference opted to postpone fall-sports competition, Saturday’s game is one of only four the Citadel will play this fall (Southern Conference schools had the option of scheduling non-conference contests). A primary reason Jeff Scott booked the Bulldogs to fill a hole on USF’s non-conference slate was to help the Bulls prepare for Navy (Nov. 21). While no one runs a triple-option system quite like the Midshipmen’s, the Bulldogs will offer a skilled, seasoned variation. Quarterback Brandon Rainey (2,014 total yards, 30 touchdowns) is among 10 returning offensive starters for a Bulldogs unit that ranked sixth in I-AA in rushing (268.2 ypg) and upset Georgia Tech, 27-24 in overtime, in 2019. Arguably Rainey’s top backfield complement, graduate-transfer tailback Alex Ramsey (1,322 rushing yards for VMI in ’19), is among a half-dozen Bulldogs who have opted out this season. If these guys are on their game, USF won’t get many possessions, plain and simple. The Citadel ranked fifth in I-AA in time of possession (33:01) last season. Defensively, watch for 2019 first-team All-America linebacker Willie Eubanks III, a 230-pound senior whose 2019 stat line is pretty staggering (112 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, 11 QB hurries, three forced fumbles, one interception).

Odds & ends: Scott’s father, USF chief of staff Brad Scott, got his first college coaching gig (as a graduate assistant) at the Citadel in 1981. ... The Bulldogs roster includes redshirt freshman defensive back Tyler Long (St. Petersburg High). ... USF is 1-1 all-time against the Citadel but hasn’t played the Bulldogs in 22 years. ... Because of COVID-19 travel protocols, the Citadel reportedly will travel with only about 60 players instead of the usual 63 or 64, and will reduce the number of administrators making the trip.

Audible: “They’ve got us this week and then they turn around and play Clemson next week, so they’re trying to wreck some dreams. ... When you can play free and play loose like I’m sure they will on Saturday night, it makes us definitely need to be focused and be ready." — Scott