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Hot Read: Citadel Plays Army Close

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Manning Snyder recaps The Citadel's 14-9 loss to Army.

By Manning Snyder

1. The Citadel was defeated by Army 14-9 on Saturday afternoon in West Point, New York. It was Army’s fourth win of the year (4-1), while The Citadel is winless after four games. The Citadel put up a fight throughout the low-scoring affair, and it was perhaps the best performance by the Bulldog squad all year.  Army was held to their second-lowest scoring performance of the season. The Citadel gained 210 total yards, while Army gained 228. 

2. There were many bright spots for a Citadel team that have not had a positive season thus far. With this game being the last of their fall slate, The Citadel was able to throw everything they had at a formidable Army squad. Jaylan Adams, Citadel’s backup quarterback to Brandon Rainey, came into the game on the first drive of the second half. There was an immediate boost in the morale of the Bulldog squad, as they picked up some first downs and looked to have more of an offensive flow. Adams finished the game with 20 yards passing (¾ completions) and 55 yards rushing. For comparison, Rainey finished with one fifty-yard throw and two yards rushing, along with two costly interceptions. By pulling the starter, maybe Coach Thompson was preparing for The Citadel’s spring SoCon slate, as the team will be losing Rainey to graduation in December.

3. The Citadel defense was also impressive on the whole. They held Army to zero points in the first quarter, the first Army opponent to accomplish this feat all season. In the first half, the Citadel defense forced Army to throw the ball, as the Black Knights’ were getting little productivity in their run game. The Citadel defense also had two interceptions, their first Bulldog game this season with over one turnover forced.  While Army was able to dominate possession and establish more of an offensive rhythm in the second half,  kudos to The Citadel defense for making the Black Knights earn yards throughout the entirety of the contest.

4. Perhaps the story of the game for The Citadel were missed scoring opportunities. Down 7-3 and with the clock expiring in the first half, Bulldog kicker Colby Kintner missed a 47-yard field goal that would have cut the deficit to one. And on The Citadel’s first possession of the second half, still down 7-3, Kintner’s field goal attempt was blocked. Another missed scoring chance: early in the fourth quarter, The Citadel had the ball on Army’s 29-yard line. On both third and fourth down, Adams was sacked by Army’s defense, a huge blow to The Citadel offense that could have sliced the Black Knight lead to one possession.

5. The final bright spot for the Citadel was kicker/punter/stud extraordinaire Matt Campbell. On the opening kickoff, Campbell orchestrated a beautiful onside kick, lofted into the air and into the arms of a Bulldog player. This play set the tone of the game and gave Citadel the early momentum that seemed to last until Army scored their first touchdown. Campbell also added four punts with an average of 45 yards per boot.  Two of the four punts were inside the Army 20-yard line.
Alas, The Citadel’s four game 2020 fall slate is over. They failed to win a game and many Citadel fans will be unhappy with their performances.  The Eastern Kentucky matchup (and loss) notwithstanding, The Citadel was a large underdog in every game this season. Had they beaten EKU and still gotten demolished by Clemson, USF, and Army, perhaps the fan base would have felt better about the season.  But it is 2020--the year of unpredictability. Each game, even a blowout loss, should be considered a gift. The Citadel was able to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak throughout the fall season, and none of their games were postponed or rescheduled due to positive virus tests. I firmly believe The Citadel finished the year on a positive note with their performance against Army. Before the spring SoCon schedule, the Bulldogs will lose a handful of players to graduation. Likely more will opt-out. Some might transfer. Could they have played better this fall season? Certainly. But do the players have any reason to hang their heads? Absolutely not.
Southern Pigskin Nation, it was a pleasure being able to write for you all this season covering The Citadel. I hope I provided some deft analysis and some neat fun facts that you enjoyed. Maybe even a laugh or two, as well.  I might be able to cover some other SoCon or FBS games in the future. Stay tuned.