BY JEFF HARTSELL
Post and Courier
CONWAY — His first attempt at a game-winning field goal blocked with just 88 seconds left in the game, The Citadel’s Eric Goins trotted slowly off the field. At best, it looked like the Bulldogs were going into overtime. At worst, Coastal Carolina would pull out an FCS playoff win in regulation.
But somebody on the Bulldogs’ sideline saw it differently.
“Gen. Rosa was there on the sideline,” Goins said of Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa. “And he said, ‘Hey, you are gonna have to kick another one.’ And I believed him.”
Rosa, a former Citadel quarterback, was right. Goins got another chance on the game’s final play, and came through with a 43-yard field goal as time expired. The kick lifted the 18th-ranked Bulldogs to a 41-38 win over No. 9 Coastal Carolina.
The Citadel, 9-3 after its first FCS playoff win since 1992, advances to a rematch next Saturday against No. 8 seed Charleston Southern. After three consecutive losses to the Buccaneers – including a painful 33-20 defeat to the broom-wielding Bucs on Sept. 26 at Johnson Hagood Stadium – The Citadel is eager for a rematch.
“I’m definitely pretty excited about this one,” said Citadel quarterback Dominique Allen, who ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns against Coastal Carolina (9-3). “We let that one get away from us in the second half, so I’m pretty happy we get another shot at them.”
The Bulldogs piled up 524 rushing yards, the most ever given up by Coastal Carolina.
Three Citadel backs ran for at least 100 yards, with fullback Tyler Renew rushing for 129 yards and a TD and Cam Jackson getting 113 yards and a score. It was the first time since 2012 that The Citadel had three 100-yard rushers in one game, and former North Augusta star Vinny Miller almost made it four – he finished with 93 yards on only five carries.
“They just kept coming at us,” said Coastal Carolina defensive end Calvin Hollenhurst of the Bulldogs. “They are relentless as a team.”
The Bulldogs’ defense was equally relentless, even though the Chanticleers piled up 577 yards, with De’Angelo Henderson rushing for 101 yards and a score and catching three passes for 60 yards and another TD.
The Citadel forced four turnovers, including two huge takeaways in the second half.
And after Coastal Carolina rallied to tie the score at 38-38 – and after Goins’ 47-yard field goal try was blocked by Marcus Williamson with 1:28 left – linebacker Tevin Floyd came up with the play of the game.
On third and 7 from the Coastal Carolina 47, Floyd sacked Chants quarterback Alex Ross and forced a fumble, recovered at the Coastal Carolina 41 by The Citadel’s Mitchell Jeter.
Three runs and two timeouts later, Goins booted the game-winner from the right hash.