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Keydets Winning When it Counts

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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VMI has played three games decided by five points or less in 2021 and are, impressively, 3-0 in those key contests.

Not only has VMI been one of the best teams in the FCS this spring, the Keydets have been championship-good when it has mattered most. VMI has played three games decided by five points or less in 2021 and are, impressively, 3-0 in those key contests.

Wins over Furman by one point, Samford by one point in overtime and Wofford by five points were signature moments for the Keydets in the month of March. Poise under pressure has helped highlight VMI's success. A comfortability in close games has helped the Keydets move into the top 15 of the national polls. Entering the final stretch of the spring schedule, correspondingly, VMI is the clear favorite to win the Southern Conference and make a heralded debut in the FCS playoffs.

In a low-scoring game with Furman, VMI scored the go-ahead touchdown and conversion late in the third quarter. With the Paladins driving to the redzone late in the fourth quarter and the Keydets protecting a one-point lead, Carter Johnson recovered a game-saving fumble. In a wild matchup with Samford, VMI rallied to score 13 points over the final 5:25 of regulation. The Keydets then answered an overtime touchdown with a score and gutsy game-winning two point conversion. Down early in the fourth quarter at Wofford, VMI responded with a 16-7 finish and a game-winning score with 35 seconds remaining.

With star quarterback Reece Udinksi, who made countless big plays this season, out with injury on Saturday and unfortunately out for the season, redshirt freshman Seth Morgan promptly threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns this past weekend, connecting with Jakob Herres for the dramatic late game-winner. The finish, against a very good opponent, was an especially-impressive continuation for a team that, in whatever situation, simply finds a way to win.

The contributors have been many; the results have been the same. VMI has been elite in the defining moments of games.

As the undefeated Keydets, now 5-0, finish their spring schedule against East Tennessee State and The Citadel, they will do so with a powerful confidence in the clutch. It's the type of mindset championship teams have. It's also the type of mindset that would very likely benefit VMI in the postseason.

The Keydets are a really good football team, especially when it counts.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports