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Citadel Looking for More Momentum

By Manning Snyder
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Manning Snyder previews The Citadel's contest with Furman.

Last Saturday, The Citadel finally did it. They won a game for the first time in 518 days (11/02/2019) defeating Wofford, 28-24. The Bulldogs (1-9, 1-5) stormed back down 24-7 to beat a deflated Terrier squad. This weekend, The Citadel returns home to Charleston for another SoCon affair with Furman (3-3, 3-3). The Paladins, who were picked to finish second in the SoCon Preseason Coaches Poll, are coming off of a loss to Mercer last game out. The Citadel and Furman are both out of contention for a FCS playoff spot or to win the SoCon. However, because the Bulldogs and Paladins are bitter rivals––some Bulldog fans might argue a more intense rivalry than Citadel/VMI––expect this game to be chippy and entertaining. The Paladins are nine-and-a-half point favorites heading into the weekend.

Why To Watch
It’s early April. College basketball just wrapped up their season. The Masters golf tournament is being held in Augusta. Why watch this FCS game on Saturday? I’ll tell you why. Saturday’s matchup will likely be the last time Bulldogs fans will ever be able to see star linebacker Willie Eubanks III play in person. Also, in the past two weeks, fellow SoCon foes Wofford and Chattanooga have opted out of the remainder of their seasons. For Furman fans, this weekend’s game will be the spring season finale for the Paladins. Furman has been in close contests all spring, losing two out of their three losses by less than a field goal. The Citadel and Furman will meet again in the fall––technically also 2021––in Greenville on October 16. Saturday’s game might be a precursor to a hard fought contest in the future.

The Citadel Player To Watch
LB Anthony Britton, Jr.
The sophomore linebacker had a huge game against Wofford, totaling 12 tackles (eight solo). The Stockbridge, Georgia, native, along with Eubanks, is leading a Citadel defense that allowed only seven points in the second half last week against Wofford. Britton must have another big game for the Bulldogs to have a shot at the upset on Saturday.

Furman Players To Watch
RB Devin Wynn
The senior tailback is the rushing threat of the Paladin offense. The Greensboro, Georgia, native was named to the Preseason First Team Offense. Through six games, Wynn has five touchdowns and is averaging nearly five yards per carry.

LB Nick Kuzemka
The redshirt-freshman linebacker is one of Furman’s best defensive players. He recorded nine tackles and had an interception last weekend against Mercer. The Clifton, Virginia, native is a young emerging leader for the Paladins. Kuzemka leads the team with  43 tackles on the season.

Keys to Game
The Citadel has been a second-half team the entire season. If Citadel played like they did in the latter parts of the game against Wofford, they will give Furman a run for their money. As always, the Bulldogs need to dominate time-of-possession and reduce their turnovers. Furman has a balanced rushing and passing attack. Their biggest key to the game is stopping the Citadel’s run game.

Manning’s Fun Fact
I mentioned above that The Citadel is a second-half team. Through their six spring SoCon games (including the blowout loss against Samford), The Citadel is outsourcing their opponents 74-56 in the third and fourth quarters. 

The Bulldogs are UNDEFEATED in the month of April––1-0. The bragging rights between Bulldog and Paladin fans are on the line Saturday. I will not make a prediction, but I do think that it will be a close contest. Let’s hope for good weather and an injury-free game.

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