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Simpson's late TD lifts Towson past The Citadel 28-21

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Shane Simpson accounted for three touchdowns that included a 4-yard run with 1:27 left to push 11th-ranked Towson past The Citadel 28-21 in a season opener Saturday.

The Cadets had just taken their only lead, 21-20 with 3:31 remaining, when Brandon Rainey tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Raleigh Webb in the back of the end zone. Towson's Tom Flacco answered on the next possession, completing three straight passes and breaking loose for a 25-yard run before Simpson scored to cap the six-play drive.

On the next series, Coby Tippett intercepted Rainey's pass attempt on The Citadel's first play from scrimmage to seal the victory for the Tigers.

Simpson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Flacco in the first quarter and also had a 45-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter that pushed the Tigers' lead to 17-7. Simpson finished with 74 yards rushing and had four catches for 37 yards. Flacco was 21-of-36 passing for 328 yards.

Rainey had 166 yards rushing on 32 carries and completed three of four pass attempts for 24 yards.

The Tigers, who last season finished 7-5 and earned a FCS playoff berth for the first time since 2013, entered the game ranked No. 11 in the STATS FCS preseason poll. They hadn't been ranked in the preseason poll since 2008.