The Citadel Rolls Past VMI, 41-14
Charleston, S.C. – Behind three blocked punts and 358 rushing yards on Saturday, The Citadel was able to retain the "Silver Shako" as they defeated VMI, 41-14, in front of 11,184 fans at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
It is the fifth consecutive win over Virginia Military Institute for The Citadel as they renew the "Military Classic of the South" in a six-part home-and-home series through 2017. The Bulldogs rushed for over 300 yards for the third time this season and the second consecutive game.
A promising opening drive for The Citadel ended in a fumble by Ben Dupree that was recovered by VMI, but a solid effort by the defense forced the Keydets into a punting situation in their first possession. The Bulldogs then blocked their seventh punt of the season as freshman Carl Robinson recorded his first career block. The ball was then scooped up by Chris Billingslea, who returned it 19 yards for the touchdown.
After another three-and-out possession by the Keydets, the Bulldogs drove 86 yards on eight plays as Dupree found the end zone on a 23-yard run. The extra point by Sellers made it 14-0.
Capitalizing on a strong kickoff return and back-to-back penalties by The Citadel, the Keydets then drove 46 yards on six plays to cut the lead in half when Chaz Jones scored on a three-yard run up the middle late in the first quarter. Jeff Sexton's extra point made it 14-7.
The second quarter was dominated by defense until Domonic Jones blocked his fifth punt of the season and the Bulldogs blocked their second punt of the game late in the second quarter. Taking over on VMI's 19-yard line, The Citadel used four plays in the drive to score as Darien Robinson's 1-yard touchdown run put the Bulldogs ahead, 21-7, just before halftime.
Forcing a VMI punt to begin the second half, the offense would move quickly down the field on big runs by Rickey Anderson and Aaron Miller. Unable to move past the Keydets' 20-yard line, Sellers came on and converted a 37-yard field goal attempt to boost the lead to 24-7.
On the ensuing Keydet possession, the defense forced the sixth punt attempt of the day by VMI which was blocked by John Synovec, the third blocked punt of the day for the Bulldogs. Taking over on the 26-yard line, The Citadel needed just three plays to punch it in as Robinson rushed for his second touchdown of the day on a 13-yard run to make it 31-7, midway through the third quarter.
The Bulldogs put together an eight-play, 63-yard drive late in the third quarter as Dupree rushed for his second score of the game on a 9-yard run to the end zone to make it 38-7. In the fourth quarter, Thomas Warren converted on his first career field goal attempt as his 37-yard kick bumped up the lead to 41-7 halfway through the final quarter.
The Keydets drove 12 plays and 65 yards late in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game as Jabari Turner scored from two yards out for the second VMI touchdown of game to make it 41-14.
The Citadel gained 381 yards of offense, 358 of which were on the ground. Anderson had 81 yards on the ground to lead the Bulldogs while Robinson added 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Dupree was 2-for-3 for 23 yards and had 49 rushing yards with two scores. Smith led the defense with eight total tackles, a pass break-up and blocked punt.
VMI had 224 total yards, 156 of which were on the ground. Eric Kordenbock was 8-for-23 for 51 yards and an interception while Jones racked up 112 yards on 16 carries with a score. Logan Staib recorded 14 total tackles (11 solo) to lead the Keydet defense with 1.5 tackles for a loss of five yards and a fumble recovery.
The Citadel improve their record to 4-4 overall while VMI falls to 1-7. The Bulldogs returns to conference action next weekend when they face top-ranked Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. 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.