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Citadel Looking for First Win

By Manning Snyder
SouthernPigskin.com
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Manning Snyder previews The Citadel vs East Tennessee State.

Overview
The Citadel will play at home Saturday as they face East Tennessee State in Charleston, South Carolina. The Bulldogs (0-7, 0-3) are looking for their first win in ages. The Buccaneers (1-1) were defeated by #15-ranked Furman at home last weekend. The Citadel was beaten by Western Carolina, 21-14. The Citadel is a spiraling team that has yet to have a lead in regulation time of a SoCon game this spring. ETSU was predicted to finish second-to-last in the SoCon Preseason Poll, but have outplayed expectations so far this season. The Bucs will be the more confident team in this matchup, as The Citadel needs something–really anything–to play for. The Bucs will be the favorites heading into the weekend.

Why To Watch
Like last weekend, this contest isn’t at the top of the list of games to watch Saturday. With Western Carolina and VMI looming in the coming weeks, ETSU might be caught looking ahead to those games. Contrastingly, The Citadel will be hungry for their first win of the 2020/2021 season. For the Bulldogs, the game is an opportunity to develop players for the fall. Sitting at the bottom of the SoCon standings, there isn’t much to play for this season besides pride.

The Citadel Player To Watch
WR Raleigh Webb
The senior wide receiver has been at The Citadel for a longggg time (since 2016). After this spring season, Webb (6’2, 213-pounds) will complete his third degree from the military college––one undergraduate and two master’s degrees.  The Acworth, Georgia, native was named to the 2020/21 Second-Team Offense Preseason SoCon Team. Webb is one of the most decorated wideouts in Citadel history. He is second in school history in receiving touchdowns (18) and has been showered by accolades from the media and opposing coaches for the past two years. But this season, he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to assert his dominance. In the seven games this season (including the fall slate), Webb only has 12 receptions for 185 yards. For comparison, through seven games last season, Webb had 18 receptions for 373 yards. Granted, The Citadel has faced much tougher opponents so far this season, but nonetheless, Webb has to perform well for the Bulldogs to snap out of their losing streak.

ETSU Players To Watch
RB Quay Homes
The redshirt-junior running back has averaged 96 yards per game this season. The 6’1, 216-pound Homes has scored three times this season and averaged 5.2 yards per rush. He was named to the Preseason SoCon First-Team Offensive Team. Homes leads a group of dangerous running backs for the Bucs.

DL Blake Bockrath
The redshirt-senior (6’5, 250-pounds) was named to the Preseason SoCon First-Team Defensive Team. Bockrath, a Loveland, Ohio, native, had 3 tackles in his lone game played this spring. He leads a defense that has 8 sacks after two SoCon games.

Keys to Game
The Citadel has to have a good first half if they want a shot at beating the Bucs this weekend. If you are wondering if you’ve read that before in my other previews, you have. It’s like a broken record. Mercer, Chattanooga, and Western Carolina all had huge first plays from scrimmage (2 of them touchdowns, 1 nearly a touchdown) against The Citadel. The Bulldogs have found themselves behind by massive deficits in SoCon games. While the other “x and o” stuff is important––like reducing turnovers, dominating time-of-possession, and establishing a rhythm––The Citadel must win the first half on Saturday to win the game. Simple as that. The difference between their first half and second half performances in each SoCon game is appalling.

Manning’s Fun Fact
The Citadel will be without four players this weekend. Which ones? TBD. The Citadel suspended 33 student-athletes (30 football) for a violation of NCAA violations. As such, four Citadel football players will serve their one game suspension each game for the remainder of the season. *Note: Eight players have already sat out their suspension (four against Chattanooga and four against WCU).

Conclusion
ETSU should win this ballgame. If The Citadel wins, it could put them on the right track heading into their final four SoCon games.

Manning Snyder - A Charleston, South Carolina-native, Manning Snyder covers The Citadel and Southern Conference football.