Three thoughts from The Citadel 28-21 loss at Georgia Southern on Saturday:
1. At 2-5, The Citadel has lost four games by a total of 18 points this season. In three of those –a 32-29 loss to Charleston Southern, a 59-58 loss at Old Dominion and 24-17 loss to Furman — one or two plays legitimately made the difference. A dropped punt vs. CSU, an onside kick vs. ODU, one less deep pass by Furman. But in Saturday’s game at GSU, the Bulldogs were lucky to be in the game at all. The Eagles left points all over the field in the first half — a blocked extra point, a botched field goal, a fumble on fourth and goal at The Citadel 2. GSU only lost one of three fumbles — and that turned into a 36-yard TD run by Citadel safety Akeem Garnett — but the other two were just as costly, foiling GSU drives. This one, in other words, was not quite as close as the score would indicate.
2. The Citadel needs to devote its open week to coming up with something for the offense. Despite Ben Dupree’s 73-yard TD run in the first quarter, it became quickly apparent that the Bulldogs were going to struggle running wide or up the middle (fullback Darien Robinon had 18 yards on seven carries) against GSU. After the first quarter, The Citadel managed only 63 rushing yards in the final three periods. Dupree is a home-run hitter, but the offense is not stringing together enough singles and doubles, to extend the baseball metaphor. The Citadel waited at least one series too late to bring in backup Aaron Miller. Down 20-7 in the third quarter, Dupree stayed in for one more series and threw incomplete on first and second down before Robinson ran for 4 yards on third down. Punt.
3. At 2-5 overall and 2-3 in the SoCon, the Bulldogs have an open date before going to Chattanooga on Oct. 26. Preseason hopes for a playoff bid and run at a SoCon title are out the window. The Citadel would have to win its final five games just to post a winning season — and that includes a Nov. 23 game at Clemson. More realistically, the Bulldogs look like underdogs against Chattanooga, Samford and Clemson, and 50-50 with Elon and VMI. Win those two and the Dogs are looking at 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the SoCon.