Bulldogs Blast Catamounts, 35-7
Cullowhee, N.C. – Five different Bulldogs rushed for a touchdown on Saturday as The Citadel racked up 435 rushing yards in a 35-7 romp over Western Carolina in front of 7,277 fans on Homecoming at E.J Whitmire Stadium.
The Citadel scored on its first two possessions of the game and took a commanding 21-0 lead into halftime. The 28-point margin of victory is the biggest for the Bulldogs in the all-time series with the Catamounts, surpassing the 25-point victory in 1991. It is also the third victory for the Bulldogs in their last four road contests, dating back to the 2010 season.
Propelled by a return from Kevin Hardy, who took the opening kickoff 59 yards to the Western Carolina 24-yard line, the Bulldogs needed just five plays to score. Rickey Anderson's 9-yard touchdown run, his first rushing touchdown of the season, gave the Bulldogs a quick 7-0 lead.
The Bulldog defense then forced a punt on the Catamounts' first possession as Rod Harland picked up a big sack on the drive of WCU quarterback Zac Brindise. The offense then needed just six plays to go 81 yards for their second score in as many possessions. Four of the Bulldogs' six plays on the drive went for runs of 10 or more yards as Darien Robinson capped the drive with a 31-yard run. Ryan Seller's extra point put The Citadel in front, 14-0.
Each team then turned the ball over on their next possession as Brindise was stripped of the ball on third and long by Quintin Turner and the ball was recovered by Chris Billingslea. The Bulldogs then drove 35 yards into the WCU red zone but a fumble by VanDyke Jones gave Western Carolina the ball back deep in their own territory.
After forcing another punt by the Catamounts, the offense would capitalize once again heading into the second quarter. Jones reeled off a 21-yard burst to get into WCU territory on the final play of the first quarter. The Bulldogs then methodically drove down and scored on a 7-yard rush by Jones to make it, 21-0. That would cap the scoring in the first half as the Bulldogs held an opponent scoreless on the road for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009, which was also in Cullowhee against Western Carolina.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Bulldogs took the ball 81 yards on 18 plays and erased over 10 minutes off the clock. Aaron Miller capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle early in the fourth quarter to put The Citadel in front, 28-0.
After forcing another Catamount punt, the Bulldogs drove into WCU territory but turned it over on downs. On the ensuing possession for Western Carolina, a fumble by Michael Johnson on fourth down was forced and recovered by Jeremy Buncum on the WCU 45-yard line. The Citadel would capitalize as it took five plays to move 45 yards with Christian Graham scoring his first career touchdown on a 26-yard scamper into the end zone with just under two minutes to play in the contest that make it 35-0.
The Catamounts would finally get on the board late as Brindise found a wide open Garrett Brown for a 61-yard touchdown with 1:23 left on the cock. That would cap the scoring as the Bulldogs ran out the rest of the clock to preserve the victory.
The Citadel totaled 447 total yards, 435 of which were on the ground. Robinson rushed for over 100 yards for the second consecutive game as he picked up 106 yards on 13 carries with a score. Anderson added 95 yards and a score on just six carries. Tolu Akindele led the defense with 10 tackles, two for a loss of six yards.
Western Carolina was limited to just 236 total yards, 175 of which were through the air. Brindise was 9-for-21 for 175 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked four times. Brown caught three passes for 94 yards and a score. Ace Clark led the Catamount defense with 11 total tackles.
The Bulldogs improve to 3-4 overall and 2-4 in the SoCon, while Western Carolina falls to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in SoCon action. The Bulldogs step out of conference next weekend as they return to Charleston to face VMI at 1 p.m. at Johnson Hagood Stadium on Oct. 29 for Hall of Fame Weekend. For more information on Bulldog Football, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com or follow the Dogs on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/citadelsports and twitter.com/citadelfootball.