CLEMSON — Citadel players and coaches were not happy with a 46-point loss at Death Valley, but quickly opted for perspective on their 5-7 season. The Bulldogs won three straight games before losing at Clemson.
“It hurts now, but this is temporary pain,” senior defensive tackle Derek Douglas said. “But when we look back at the grand scheme of things, as far as the senior class goes, I think we’ll be happier.”
Head coach Kevin Higgins agreed.
“This group of seniors, they changed the culture at The Citadel,” Higgins said. “Now it’s up to the younger guys to take this program over the hump.”
Sixteen seniors played their final game at The Citadel, the first class of recruits Higgins brought in to run the triple-option offense, installed to start the 2010 season.
Long drive, odd end
The Citadel put together a 21-play, 63-yard drive in the fourth quarter, but opted to settle for Thomas Warren’s 29-yard field goal with 1:54 remaining.
Other than that, the Bulldogs managed 109 yards of total offense.
“We started slow,” quarterback Ben Dupree said. “You can’t do that against (Clemson) or you get run off the field.”
Lacking star power
Where have you gone, Andre Roberts?
The Citadel was more competitive against Clemson the last time, a 45-17 loss in 2008. But they had current Arizona Cardinals starter Andre Roberts at wide receiver. Roberts caught 9 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown at Death Valley.
According to a Clemson official, The Citadel earned a $275,000 game check plus 3,000 tickets. The tickets were valued at more than $100,000.
Comparatively, according to Coastal Carolina’s student newspaper, Coastal picked up $375,000 to visit South Carolina Saturday.
Both The Citadel and Coastal Carolina are instate FCS programs.
Travis Blanks out
Clemson fears starting free safety Travis Blanks tore his ACL in Saturday’s contest.
If he does not return this season, the job now belongs to freshman Jayron Kearse, who has 32 tackles and three interceptions this year.
Fun while it lasted
Clemson’s nation-long streak of 13 straight games with an interception was snapped Saturday. Interestingly, the only other Division I squad who’d also had a pick in every game this year, Ohio State, didn’t have a takeaway in thrashing Indiana.
He’s also graduating
Before the 19 Clemson seniors made their final run down The Hill Saturday, they were led by outgoing university president James Barker. He wore a No. 14 jersey, one for every year he led the academic programs.
Barker’s successor, James P. Clements, and his family were in a suite watching the game Saturday. Clements takes over sometime in January.
Doing their part
When Clemson linebacker Quandon Christian recovered Dupree’s fumble (forced by cornerback Garry Peters) and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown, that was the Tigers’ fourth defensive score of the year, their most since the 2006 season.
Clemson’s first penalty didn’t occur until 9:42 remaining in the third quarter, and it was a big one.
Defensive end Shaq Lawson was flagged for a face mask, a personal foul netting The Citadel 15 yards.
At that point, it was the Bulldogs’ longest offensive gain of the afternoon.
The Citadel immediately followed with Jake Stenson’s 22-yard run, and ended the drive with a Thomas Warren 42-yard field goal, preventing the Tigers from their first shutout in five years.