Citadel freshmen make early impact for Bulldogs football team
One freshman started and another scored a touchdown for The Citadel in Saturday night’s 49-14 win over Charleston Southern as first-year players made a quick impact for the Bulldogs.
With sophomore Julian Baxter slowed by an ankle injury, freshman Nick Willis started his first college game at safety and finished with three tackles. And freshman running back Vinny Miller impressed fans with 66 yards on eight attempts, including a 19-yard touchdown run.
Defensive linemen Joe Phillips and Mitchell Jeter also impressed coach Kevin Higgins in their college debuts.
“Jeter and Phillips both did a real nice job with the opportunities they had,” Higgins said. “They were physical and did a good job getting to the ball.”
Willis, a 6-2, 200-pounder from Stone Mountain, Ga., worked his way into the two-deep during fall camp.
“He did a nice job,” Higgins said. “So much of it is communication in the back end, and he did a good job with that.”
Citadel coaches were thinking about redshirting center Sam Frye, but he ended up playing much of the third and fourth quarter in relief of all-SoCon center Mike Sellers.
“Mike can’t play every play this year,” Higgins said. “So we decided to go ahead with Sam, and it was good to get him some work.”
Sophomore running back Dalton Trevino left the game with a sore knee, but Miller, a 5-10, 210-pounder from North Augusta, proved himself capable of taking reps at slotback.
— Charleston Southern has lost 13 straight games dating back to the end of the 2010 season. The Bucs’ last win was by 42-39 over Presbyterian on Nov. 13, 2010.
— Citadel kicker Thomas Warren made his first field goal try of the season, only to see it wiped out by a false-start penalty. He ended up missing the retry, a 30-yarder, but was perfect on extra points ... The Bulldogs did not punt.
— Defensive end Chris Billingslea led the Bulldogs with eight tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups ... Defensive tackle Colin Parsons also had a sack and two tackles for loss, and also forced and recovered a fumble. The Bulldogs had seven tackles for loss.
— The three touchdowns by sixth-year slotback Rickey Anderson were as many as he had scored in his career. He finished with 80 yards on 10 tries, while QB Ben Dupree had 77 yards on 17 carries. Fullback Darien Robinson led the way with a career-best 120 yards on 12 carries, his fourth 100-yard game.
— The Citadel is wearing a No. 41 sticker on its helmet this season in honor of former player Bob Carson (Class of 1973), who died in April. Carson was team captain and an honorable-mention All-America in 1972, and was a long-time supporter of Citadel football.