BOONE, N.C. — By halftime of The Citadel’s 52-28 trouncing of No. 7 Appalachian State today, Mountaineer fans already had booed their team twice and were streaming toward the parking lots outside of Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Hard to blame them. The Citadel turned in one of the most thoroughly dominating halves it its 105 seasons of college football, jumping to leads of 31-0 in the second quarter, 38-7 at half and 45-7 early in the third quarter.
The No. 23 Bulldogs won at App State for the first time since 1992, which also is the last time The Citadel won the Southern Conference championship and made the FCS playoffs.
The way they played today, both those goals would seem to be in reach for these surprising Bulldogs. They are 3-0 for the first time since ‘92 and 2-0 in the SoCon, with wins over league powerhouses Georgia Southern and App State.
And with a trip to North Carolina State next, the Bulldogs are eyeing their first win over an FBS squad since – you guessed it, 1992, when they beat Arkansas and Army.
Quarterback Ben Dupree ran for two touchdowns, on sprints of 57 and 46 yards. Aaron Miller, Rickey Anderson and Van Dyke Jones added rushing touchdowns, and linebacker Carson Smith scored from eight yards out on a punt blocked by Dominic Jones.
By the time fullback Darien Robinson’s 45-yard TD late in the third quarter made it a 52-14 lead, App State’s humiliation was complete.
The Mountaineers (1-2, 0-1) had not lost a SoCon opener at home since 1982, but they were sluggish and ill-prepared after last week’s emotional 35-27 win over FCS power Montana.
The Citadel out-gained App State, 400-153, in the first half, converted 7 of 8 third-down chances and held the ball for 19:07. The Bulldogs’ defense and special teams were just as good, with Jones’ blocking the sixth punt of his career and Smith picking off a tipped pass.
The Bulldogs stormed out of the gate, Dupree finding Jones for a 32-yard gain on third-and-10, the same route that went for a TD in last week’s win over Georgia Southern. That set up Anderson’s 5-yard TD.
Dupree turned in the play of his career – thus far – for the second TD, scrambling 57 yards for a score after App State defenders had him penned in near the sideline.
Miller kept it going, hitting Matt Thompson for a 57-yard gain that set up Miller’s own 1-yard TD plunge for a 21-0 lead. Dupree’s 25-yard pass to Thompson and a 29-yard run by Anderson led to a 24-yard field goal by Thomas Warren for a 24-0 lead.
And the booing began when Jones, a 6-5 kick-blocking specialist, snuffed a Sam Martin punt. Smith scooped up the ball and ran eight yards for the score and a 31-0 lead with 6:16 left in the half.
Steven Miller’s 2-yard TD with 3:50 left threatened to give App State some momentum, but Dupree quashed that with his 46-yard TD for a 38-7 lead 43 seconds before the half.