Citadel vs. Samford (copy)

After a bye week, Cam Jackson and The Citadel Bulldogs play at Samford on Saturday.

During a rare Saturday off during football season, Citadel quarterback Dominique Allen spent some quality time with his newly adopted dog. Other players went home to see family or wandered around downtown.

Anything that didn't involve a bus ride was fine with the Bulldogs.

"It definitely gave us a chance to rest and get the guys off their feet," Allen said of the 3-0 Bulldogs' bye week. "We'd been traveling a lot with the hurricane and then the trip to ETSU, some long bus rides and a lot of hours on the bus.

"The guys got to go home, spend time with their families and just take a load off. We really needed it."

The itinerary forced on the Bulldogs by Hurricane Irma required moving a home game to Presbyterian College in Clinton on Sept. 9, bus rides up and down the I-26 corridor, a practice at Clemson and two trips to Johnson City, Tenn.

After the Bulldogs' 31-25 win at East Tennessee State on Sept. 16, Thompson said the Bulldogs "deserved a day off." He gave them four, as a matter of fact, with two days off after the ETSU game followed by a two-day break last weekend.

"The timing could not have been any better," said Thompson, whose 11th-ranked team plays at No. 25 Samford on Saturday. "It would have been very difficult if we'd had to play last week; we'd have to do a lot of things differently if we'd played a game last week.

"I told the team, 'Let's just get to the bye week at 3-0 and I promise you we'll get our legs back over the bye week.' I think we're back to being a hungry football team and we got exactly what we needed out of the bye week."

The two-time defending champion Bulldogs return to face a Southern Conference gauntlet of seven straight league games in a conference that looks wide open. First-place Wofford has won two SoCon games by a total of two points; last-place Mercer has lost two league games by a total of four points.

Five of the first six SoCon games this season have been decided by an average of a field goal. Western Carolina announced itself as a threat with a 38-34 win over Samford, its first over a ranked FCS team since 2006. ETSU rebounded from its loss to The Citadel with a 26-23 overtime win against Mercer. And Furman and Chattanooga got their first wins in impressive fashion, Furman by 45-14 at Colgate and the Mocs by 63-7 over VMI.

"There are no easy games," Thompson said. "Not for anybody."

Notes

• Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for a school-record 516 yards and four touchdowns in his team's loss at Western Carolina. That was the third-most passing yards in SoCon history. Receiver Chris Snelling's 245 receiving yards ranked 10th in league history.

• Former Goose Creek High School standout Jalen Stevens, who transferred to The Citadel after graduating from UConn, has left the Bulldogs' program, according to a school spokesman.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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