Links of interest:
Dominique Allen said after the game that the Bulldogs “came out flat in the first half,” which was an accurate assessment. You can’t fall behind 21-0 on the road and expect to beat a good team, and that is what happened on Saturday.
The Citadel didn’t give up, though, and that last-gasp touchdown won’t hurt when at-large bids are handed out next weekend. It may seem like a stretch, but I would rather the playoff committee evaluate the Bulldogs with a 31-23 loss to Chattanooga rather than a 31-17 score.
Offensively, The Citadel moved the ball most of the afternoon. Averaging 5.2 yards per rush against a defense as good as UTC’s is solid. Failing in two red-zone opportunities in the first half was a problem, though. A big problem.
I think the Bulldogs’ defense has to be a little disappointed with its play. Jacob Huesman is an outstanding player, but he broke a few tackles that he really should not have. The Citadel did not record a sack, and only had one pass breakup.
The first play from scrimmage was a buzzkill, to say the least.
I had no issues with the playcalling or decision-making, though I did wonder about punting on 4th-and-2 from midfield with 11:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, down 24-14. Mike Houston was asked about that after the game, and his explanation made sense (basically, he considered it, but thought it was a little too early to take the risk).
However, Chattanooga did score on its ensuing possession. I tend to think the move in that situation might have been to go for it, but you could argue it either way. I’m not the coach, and everyone should be grateful for that.
I didn’t like that the Bulldogs had to burn a timeout before the punt, though.
– Chattanooga apparently doesn’t think one slightly rah-rah P.A. announcer is enough. At certain times of the game, another announcer would suddenly shout out something like “Let’s MAKE SOME NOISE CHATTANOOGA”. It was a little bizarre.
– The overbearing nature of the sound system (including music choices) at Finley Stadium was actually worse than what Bulldog fans have to suffer through at Johnson Hagood Stadium. Also, there were multiple occasions where the music didn’t stop before the Bulldogs lined up on offense; I think at least one warning should have been issued by the referee for that.
– I also had trouble reading the scoreboard, due to the sun (more on that yellow star when I get to the pictures).
– Chattanooga does allow its band to play occasionally, which was nice.
– Finley Stadium has a pretty good setup. I got in and out of the lot where I had parked easily, which was convenient (especially when making a long drive home, mostly at night). The tailgating scene was quite respectable. I bet the pavilion is a godsend during inclement weather.
– Plenty of Bulldog fans were in attendance. I wasn’t surprised, but I was happy to see it. The coaches and players deserved that kind of traveling support.
– The presence of around 250-300 freshmen cadets was greatly appreciated. Kudos to Jim Senter, Geno Paluso, and everyone else responsible for making that happen.
The cadets made quite a bit of noise, too. I was also glad to see that the cheerleaders made the trip.
Playoffs? Don’t talk about—playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game! Another game!
That was Jim Mora’s famous rant in 2001. The Bulldogs have a much better chance of making the postseason than Mora’s Colts did that year, but I do hope The Citadel can win another game — namely, the one in Columbia this Saturday.
Later in the week, I’ll preview that game. The team analysis may not be too lengthy, but my post will include a breakdown of The Citadel’s playoff chances if it finishes the season with seven wins. Of course, if the Bulldogs defeat the Gamecocks, they certainly won’t have to sweat out Selection Sunday.
Below are the usual assortment of pictures. These are really, really bad, thanks to things being a little too sunny in Chattanooga. You’ve been warned.
The game photos are in sequential order, though I had to scrap a bunch because they were even worse than the ones included in this set. I’ve annotated a few of them.