Links of interest:
This is going to be a really quick review. I am travelling next week, beginning on Sunday morning. That also means the preview of the game against Chattanooga will be abbreviated (I think I’ll have it posted Friday morning). Apologies in advance for this review and that preview.
I’ll try to add a few more links when (if?) I get a chance.
Was it The Citadel’s best-played game of the season? No. Does that matter? No.
Well, I suppose you could argue it matters because that’s two weeks in a row the Bulldogs have scuffled at times, and they will have to play better to win at Chattanooga next week…but you know, it really doesn’t matter.
The Citadel retained the coveted Silver Shako for another year — and as a bonus, with Chattanooga’s loss to Mercer, the Bulldogs clinched a share of the SoCon title. When the season began, I don’t think many people would have expected me to type “SoCon title” and “Bulldogs” in the same sentence in November.
I thought the defense played extremely well on Saturday. VMI scored just two touchdowns.
One came after a fumble, with the Keydets getting the ball on the Bulldogs’ 3-yard-line. The other TD came on a drive that was only kept alive by an absolutely atrocious pass interference call on a 4th-and-long play for VMI. I credit that TD to the officials.
It has to be said that this game may have been different — no, it would have been different — if VMI quarterback Al Cobb had played. He was apparently unable to make the start due to injury.
Still, the Bulldogs’ defense could only play against the team VMI put on the field. Ultimately, the outcome of the game would have almost certainly remained the same.
I’m going to assume Quinlan Washington will be the SoCon defensive player of the week.
The Citadel’s offense has had better days, and the inability to cash in TDs in the red zone was frustrating. On the other hand, Eric Goins kept booting the ball through the uprights, and those points counted too.
Obviously, Dominique Allen’s health will be a focal point as the week progresses.
VMI’s defense played well most of the afternoon. The Citadel scored 35 points, but only managed one offensive touchdown. After Cam Jackson’s early 68-yard TD burst, the Keydets’ D kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone.
The Citadel’s offense may have appeared “off” for most of the day, but VMI’s defense had a lot to do with that.
The Citadel actually had two victories over VMI on Saturday. In the morning, the two schools faced off on the wrestling mat at McAlister Field House, with the Bulldogs prevailing 21-14. The final match was arguably the most impressive, as heavyweight Joe Bexley put on a good show in a 14-0 victory that clinched the team win for The Citadel.
I enjoyed watching that. Bexley may have had a better day than Quinlan Washington and Eric Goins, which is really saying something.
Oh, and the rifle team beat Wofford on Saturday as well. It was a banner day on the varsity sports front for The Citadel.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable Homecoming, including a very solid crowd at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The attendance on Saturday certainly won’t hurt The Citadel when playoff hosting assignments are handed out:
“I would hope that people would respect the SoCon enough that they would give us serious consideration,” said [The Citadel director of athletics Jim] Senter, who added that he plans to submit bids for first and second-round games should the Bulldogs make the playoffs for the fourth time in school history.
Of course, The Citadel has to make the playoffs first, though even a worse-case scenario (7-4) would be a “bubble” situation.
Just looking at other teams in the mix for postseason bids:
The Bulldogs were tied for 22nd in the FCS Coaches’ Poll entering weekend play; teams ahead of them that lost included #19 Eastern Kentucky, #9T Portland State, #9T Sam Houston State, and #8 Richmond. Teams behind The Citadel in that poll that lost (both ranked and in the “receiving votes” category) included #24 Montana State, Indiana State, Furman, Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois, and Western Illinois (tough day for directional Illinois).
In addition, #15 Harvard will not be participating in the playoffs (the same is true for Dartmouth, which is just outside the top 25), and #16 North Carolina A&T won’t if it wins the MEAC (and if it doesn’t, an at-large bid would be unlikely).
I took some pictures, as usual. They are mediocre at best, as usual.
The game shots are not annotated, as I simply didn’t have time to do that. I may go back later and add comments. They are in sequential order, however, so if you really want to get an idea of what plays are being pictured, you can go by the play-by-play chart listing in the box score.
The gallery begins with some shots inside one of the battalions. I then took a few photos of the wrestling dual, including a shot of a cadet successfully winning an intermission contest that involved balancing bagels (he was quite good at it, and no, I am not kidding).
Some parade pics are tossed into the mix, along with a few other things.
Hey, how ’bout that flyover?! Well worth craning your neck to see it.