Seeing both sides of a mismatch on the same day

The bad side

Well, the football game went about as expected.  I was hoping that Florida wouldn’t get to 70, but The Citadel really didn’t make that much of an effort to shorten the game (in terms of play calling).  On the other hand, scoring three touchdowns was a pleasant surprise.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs went 1-for-3 on extra points.  Kevin Higgins is going to have to do something about the placekicking before next season.

The placekicking was the only negative from the special teams, which were otherwise solid across the board yesterday.  The defense was completely overmatched, but the offense didn’t do all that badly.  While there were three turnovers, at least none of them were converted by Florida’s defense into touchdowns.  In that respect The Citadel fared much better than South Carolina did the previous week against Florida.  It’s also worth noting that due to injury, The Citadel actually inserted its backup quarterback, Cam Turner, into the game before Florida replaced Tim Tebow.

From the strange-but-true department (I guess I’m channeling Jayson Stark here):  South Carolina QBs Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley both failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Gators.  The same was true for highly-touted Georgia QB Matthew Stafford.  Wide receiver and former walk-on Scott Flanagan of The Citadel, however, threw a TD pass against Florida on only one attempt.

Also, I would say that losing 70-19 is better than losing 56-6.  My reasoning is as follows:  Florida outscored South Carolina by more than an 9-1 ratio, but only outscored The Citadel by a little more than a 3.6-1 ratio.  Advantage, Bulldogs.

The good side

The basketball game also went about as expected, and this was a good thing.  The Citadel was never threatened by Cincinnati Christian and pulled away down the stretch for a convincing victory.  CCU had no answer for Cameron Wells, who had a good game not only on the stat sheet, but in terms of letting the game come to him.  Zach Urbanus had a strong first half and a solid overall game.  The Bulldogs did a good job in this game of getting to the foul line and converting.  Getting their fair share of free throw attempts has to be a priority for the Bulldogs, especially when shooting foul shots is one of The Citadel’s strengths.

Speaking of that, Phillip Pandak got into the game late, and was almost immediately fouled.  I was rooting for him to make both foul shots, and he did.  By doing so he equaled his number of made free throws from all of last season.  He only had four attempts at the line last year, which was amazing, because he attempted 101 field goals during the course of the season.  Now this year in two games he has one field goal attempt and two made free throws…

The Citadel took care of the ball in this game, a welcome change from the previous three games, and the pace of the game was in line with where the Bulldogs want to be.  The Citadel allowed CCU to grab a few more rebounds than I would have liked, and didn’t defend the three-point shot in the first half as well as it should have (the defense on the perimeter noticeably improved in the second half).

It was the second, and final, game of the season against a non-Division I opponent.  Now it’s time to try to win a game against a D-1 foe.  The Citadel’s first opportunity to do so will come on Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum against Charleston Southern, one of two Division I teams the Bulldogs actually beat last season.

Umpire gives Gamecocks QB the shiver

By now I would imagine there aren’t many sports fans in the country who haven’t seen the clip of SEC official Wilbur Hackett giving a forearm shiver to Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia (video).  I think it was just an instinctive move by Hackett, but I have to say it could easily be interpreted as being intentional (and has been by a lot of message board posters).

I didn’t know the identity of the umpire, and so out of curiosity I looked him up.  It turns out that Hackett is a veteran SEC official, and he has an interesting personal history.  If you thought he looked like a linebacker on that play, well, maybe it’s because he was a linebacker — for Kentucky, in the 1960s.  Hackett was one of the first black football players in the SEC.

While researching this, I discovered an old article from the Los Angeles Times about the integration of the Kentucky football program.  It recounts a tragic death that I had never read about before, and includes comments from Hackett and longtime Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note, as well as an anecdote illustrating the coolness of Archie Manning.  It’s worth a read:

Link