Eighth-Ranked Bulldogs Take Down No. 5 Chattanooga
CHARLESTON, SC - With a 22-14 win inside Johnson Hagood Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the 8th-ranked Citadel football team defeated No. 5 Chattanooga and took over sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference.
The victory was the Bulldogs' first in a top-10 matchup after losing the previous two top-10 games in program history, both in 1992. With the win, The Citadel has 15 victories since the start of the 2015 season, which is tied for the fourth-highest two-year win total in program history.
Head coach Brent Thompson extended his record for the most wins to start a career by a Bulldog head coach and tied The Citadel's record for the most wins by a first-year head coach, pulling even with Harry O'Brien's six wins in 1916.
Chattanooga (6-1, 4-1 SoCon) got the ball to start the game and drove 58 yards down the field but the Bulldogs' (6-0. 4-0 SoCon) defense came up with a huge third-down stop on the 17-yard line forcing the Mocs to attempt a 34-yard field goal. The field goal sailed wide left and the Bulldogs took over at their own 20-yard line.
14 plays and 80 yards later, Dominique Allen punched it in from one yard out to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with five minutes remaining the first quarter. Chattanooga responded and tied the game up at 7-7 just 11 seconds later after connecting on a 75-yard pass.
The Citadel retook the lead five minutes into the second quarter thanks to Allen's second rushing touchdown of the day, again punching it in from one-yard out to make it 14-7 with 10:16 remaining in the first half. The junior quarterback from Richmond Hill, Georgia, tied his single-game career high with two rushing touchdowns and moved into 12th on The Citadel's all-time career rushing touchdowns list with 17.
The Mocs tied the game once again on their next drive, using a steady rush attack to drive 76 yards and even the score at 14-14.
The Bulldogs got the ball back with 3:32 remaining in the second quarter and drove 76 yards before calling a timeout with three seconds remaining. Kicker Cody Clark took to the field to attempt the field goal and nailed the 37 yarder to give the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead heading into the half.
The score remained 17-14 until the last play of the third quarter. Deep in their own territory on 2nd-and-19, Chattanooga dropped back for a pass but with The Citadel's defense covering all options downfield the Mocs were forced to throw it out of bounds. After the refs conferred, a flag was thrown for intentional grounding in the end zone resulting in a safety to give the Bulldogs a 19-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With 10:51 left in the game and The Citadel still leading 19-14, Chattanooga was forced to go for it on 4th-and-7 but the Bulldogs' pressure was too much and the Mocs overthrew the pass. With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Clark sealed the game with a 32-yard field goal to push the score to 22-14 with 24 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs held Chattanooga scoreless over the final 33:41, recording their second straight second-half shutout. For the season, The Citadel leads the Southern Conference with only 14 total points allowed in the fourth quarter.
The Citadel finished the game with 342 rushing yards and held Chattanooga to just 55 in the victory, the Mocs' lowest single-game rushing total since 2011. Allen finished the game with a season-high 144 yards rushing and was followed by Cam Jackson and Tyler Renew who both finished with at least 60 yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs hit the road again next weekend as they travel to Spartanburg to take on Wofford. Kickoff for the SoCon matchup is set for 1:30 pm. The Citadel returns to Johnson Hagood Stadium on Oct. 29 when they host ETSU at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit CitadelSports.com/tickets or call 843-953-DOGS (3647).