Against struggling Western Carolina, a chance for Citadel to get back on track
It will go down as one of the best days in the history of Citadel football.
Who: Western Carolina (1-5, 0-4) at The Citadel (3-3, 2-2)
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Johnson Hagood Stadium
The Bulldogs’ 52-28 victory over Appalachian State on Sept. 15 was a road thrashing of an FCS and Southern Conference power, in a stadium where The Citadel had not won since 1992. In a memorable scene, Bulldog fans crowded the lower rim of Kidd Brewer Stadium to congratulate the players when it was over.
It also might have been the worst thing that could have happened to these Bulldogs.
Seeming to succumb to increased expectations and pressure, The Citadel has not won a game since. The Bulldogs have dropped three straight, managing just 17 points in losses to Chattanooga and Samford, to fall to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the SoCon.
But the Bulldogs have a chance to get their season back on track today against struggling Western Carolina (1-5, 0-4) at Johnson Hagood Stadium. A win today would send a Parents Day crowd home happy, and send the Bulldogs into an open date with the goals of a winning record and maybe even a playoff berth intact.
“There are so many things that are out there for us that we are playing for,” said coach Kevin Higgins. “Whether it’s a winning season or the playoffs, all those things. We are a 3-3 team with a big home game against Western Carolina.
“My message to our players was to practice hard this week, practice well and practice smart, and we have a chance to be 4-3 and heal up a little bit. Then, it’s a four-game series at the end with so much football in front of us.”
Western Carolina, which has lost 18 straight SoCon games, would seem a good chance for the Bulldogs to get their struggling triple-option offense cranked up. The Cats have lost this season by 49-20 and 45-13 to two triple-option squads Wofford and Georgia Southern, allowing an average of 602 rushing yards in those two games.
In last year’s 35-7 win over WCU, the Bulldogs ran 69 times for 435 yards.
Western Carolina has lost five straight, but tested Samford in a 25-21 loss at home on Sept. 22.
WCU has made some strides on offense behind quarterbacks Eddie Sullivan, a transfer from Marshall, and freshman Troy Mitchell. Jacoby Mitchell (25 catches) and Spearman Robinson (25 catches) are their top receivers, and Troy Mitchell has run for four touchdowns.
But the Catamounts’ defense still has a ways to go, ranking last in total defense (528 yards per game) and scoring defense (38 points per game).
The Citadel will be without two starting linebackers in sophomores Carl Robinson (knee) and Rah Muhammad (broken leg).