The Citadel exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter to seal a 31-10 win over VMI and maintain possession of the coveted Silver Shako trophy for the seventh consecutive time in the Military Classic of the South on Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The Citadel won its third consecutive game to improve to 5-6, while VMI drops to 2-9 on the season.
Ben Dupree rushed for two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, whileDalton Trevino capped off the scoring with a five-yard run late in the fourth quarter to keep the trophy the Bulldogs' hands for a 10th straight year.
In their final game at Johnson Hagood Stadium, Darien Robinson and Dupree rushed for 115 and 109 yards, respectively, marking the fifth time that the duo has surpassed the century mark in the same game.
Robinson, who posted the 13th 100-yard game of his career and fourth of the season, moved past Andrew Johnson for fourth in career rushing yards and tied the same former Bulldog in career 100-yard games. The McKeesport, Pa., native has now rushed for 2,890 yards in his career and needs 110 to become just the fourth rusher in Bulldog history to surpass the 3,000-yard mark for his career.
With 79 yards next week, Robinson will become the second player in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, joining Jack Douglas (1991-92).
Dupree, who extended his SoCon scoring lead with 108 points, has now rushed for 18 touchdowns on the year and is one shy of tying the single-season Citadel record set by Tory Cooper in 2007. His 36 career touchdowns move him past Everette Sands for second place, and he trails only Douglas, who accounted for 50 rushing touchdowns between 1989-92.
Trailing 10-7 at halftime, Thomas Warren evened the game at 10 in the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal to begin a run of 24 unanswered points in the second half.
Dupree broke the 10-10 tie early in the fourth quarter when he capped a 15-play, 87-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run after a Robinson touchdown rush was called back for an illegal block.
Three plays later, Sadath Jean-Pierre stepped in front of an A.J. Augustine pass to record his first career interception and put the Bulldogs in great field position at the VMI 27 with 11:12 left to play.
A pass interference call against the Keydets in the end zone gave The Citadel the ball with a first-and-goal at the 10. Dupree used just one play to find the end zone for the third time and give his team a 24-10 lead with 10:22 remaining.
The defense stymied VMI with consecutive sacks by Mark Thomas and Derek Douglas, respectively, on third and fourth down to give the ball back to the Bulldogs at the 50 with eight minutes left to play.
The stingy Citadel defense allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards for the third consecutive game and accounted for seven sacks, the most since recording the same number against Chowan in the 2010 opener. The record in one game is eight accomplished three times, most recently against VMI in 2005.
Douglas now has 16 career sacks, moving the senior into sole possession of fifth place in school history, and 38.5 tackles for loss which is good for sixth. He will have the opportunity to jump as high as third in sacks next week with one more and move into fifth in tackles for loss with just a half against Clemson.
Justin Oxendine accounted for 1.5 sacks, giving him 3.5 on the season, while Thomas now has four on the year. James Riley and Ian Thompson also took down the quarterback once, and Mitchell Jeter assisted on a sack with Oxendine.
In his two-year career, Thomas has recorded 9.5 sacks on only 23 tackles.
The Bulldogs used 3:24 to drive 40 yards culminating with the game's final score on a five-yard touchdown run by Trevino, his second of the season.
A final VMI drive that ended with another turnover on downs was followed by a series of quarterback kneel downs, closing out the Bulldogs' 37th win over their military rival. The rivalry will continue next season in Lexington, Va., when they meet as SoCon foes for the first time since 2002.
Both teams exchanged long drives to open the game, but a missed field goal by each kicker left the game scoreless at the end of the first quarter with VMI back on the move. Keydet kicker Dillon Christopher was successful on a 38-yarder on the first play of the second quarter to give VMI a 3-0 lead.
Dupree led his team down the field on the ensuing drive with a 21-yard rush and two completions to senior Matt Thompson and capped the six minute, 14 second drive with a four-yard touchdown.
The senior signal caller was 3-of-8 passing for 55 yards including a 41-yarder to Vinny Miller on what was originally designed as a running play.
The Keydets scored their lone touchdown just before the half on a 27-yard Augustin pass to James Rogers to put VMI up 10-7 at the break. Augustine finished the game with 189 yards on 17-of-25 passing.
The game was the 100th covering nine seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs for Kevin Higgins and the 99th win of his career in 16 seasons overall.
The Citadel closes out its 2013 campaign next weekend against No. 8 Clemson in a noon kickoff at Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.