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VMI Does it Again, Moves to 4-0

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Through it all, the end result is VMI undefeated at 4-0.

It's not just that nationally-ranked VMI is undefeated, it's how the Keydets have gotten there that is as impressive. Saturday's win at Samford, a comeback fit with a game-winning two-point conversion in extra time, was the ultimate example of the fact that this is a team with both playmakers and a purpose. Sights set on a championship and the FCS playoffs, VMI has shown a readiness and a resolve in the moments that matter. The Keydets keep coming, even when the odds are stacked against them.    

Notably, VMI outscored the Bulldogs 13-3 in the fourth quarter to force overtime. It was a gritty response against a good team who really settled into a groove in the second and third periods. Simply put, the Keydets never gave in. Similar to how the defense came through with three critical stops in the fourth quarter while protecting a one-point lead in their historic win over Furman to open the spring schedule, the offense was proficient and productive in a rally to the finish against Samford, scoring two touchdowns over the final 5:25 of regulation.

Contributions came from everywhere. Star quarterback Reece Udinski, who became the program's all-time leading passer, threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, adding a rushing score. Receiver Jakob Herres caught 14 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Korey Bridy topped 100 yards rushing with a score. Josh Sarratt and Connor Riddle recorded key interceptions defensively and Tyren Cloyd had the clutch late sack. With the game on the line, Udinski found Michael Jackson for the stoic game-winner.

Udinksi to Jackson, with all that led up to the grand finale, sums up this season for the Keydets; VMI believes and plays like it, too.

Even after a missed extra point following a game-tying touchdown, the Keydets kept their focus. Once Samford got to midfield trying to setup a a potential game-winning field goal, VMI, with Cloyd's big play, turned the Bulldogs away. In a game where the Keydets were outgained 633 yards to 486, VMI still found a way. Even a 30-17 deficit late in the fourth quarter on the road wasn't too much to overcome for the Keydets. Simply put, they, a near-month after coming through in the opener, did it yet again. 

Through it all, the end result is VMI undefeated at 4-0.

It goes without saying that the finish to the spring regular season will be a national showcase for this team on the rise. Upcoming, for the Keydets, are 2019 Southern Conference champion Wofford, 2018 SoCon co-champion East Tennessee State and rival The Citadel. Already, VMI has clinched its first winning season in 40 years. A conference title, the first since 1977, and the first-ever FCS playoff bid ever are very much within reach. Maybe even more than that.

Overall, the Keydets are in a leading, prominent position entering the stretch run. It's there where they have often been at their best.

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