The Citadel entered Saturday’s game at Appalachian State as the underdogs, but the Bulldogs left Kidd Brewer Stadium as one of the top dogs in the Football Championship Subdivision.
After upsetting No. 3 Georgia Southern two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were out to prove the victory was no fluke – and they did. The Citadel came out and scored on its first five possessions, blocked a punt for a touchdown and headed to the locker room leading 38-7, while Mountaineer fans were left to pick their jaws up off the floor.
“I thought we were going to win the game, but the way our offense came out and put the ball in the end zone was incredible,” The Citadel head coach Kevin Higgins said. “And we kept that momentum up the entire game.”
The Citadel, ranked No. 23 in the FCS Coaches’ Poll entering the game, finished off the job against No. 7 Appalachian State with a 52-28 final score as the Bulldogs defeated their second top-10 team in as many weeks. The last time the Bulldogs upended two top-10 teams in the same season was 1991.
Three Bulldogs rushed for more than 100 yards led by quarterback Ben Dupree, who ran for a career-high 180 yards, including 56- and 47-yard TD runs. The Bulldogs amassed 618 yards of total offense against the Mountaineers, the most in school history in a regulation game.
The Bulldogs’ running game is the third-best in the nation, averaging 370.0 yards per game, and the team is 10th in FCS in total offense with 466.0 yards per game. With 116.33 yards per game, Dupree ranks 12th in rushing – and is second in rushing amongst all FCS quarterbacks.
The Citadel is 3-0, and 2-0 in Southern Conference play, for the first time since winning its last league title in 1992, also the last time the Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA playoffs. While it is early in the season, the Bulldogs have definitely put themselves into the driver’s seat in the SoCon standings.
“We just have to keep getting better in all aspects of the game,” Higgins said. “We just have to keep believing in ourselves.”
“The sky’s the limit,” Dupree said. “Our goal is to win the SoCon and get to the playoffs. If we take it one game at a time, we’ll get there.”
After back-to-back games against top-10 foes, the schedule does not get any easier for the Bulldogs. The Citadel heads to NC State on Sept. 22 as it looks for its first victory against an FBS opponent since beating Arkansas and Army in 1992.
• While there were several upsets across the board during the weekend, the most stunning may have been Buffalo State’s 7-6 win against No. 1 UW-Whitewater in Division III football on Saturday. With three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Casey Kacz hit Ryan Carney for a 10-yard touchdown to lift the Bengals to victory against the three-time defending NCAA champions. On the ensuing kickoff, Buffalo State’s Chris Hall intercepted the Warhawks’ last-ditch pass attempt to end the game.
The loss snapped the Warhawks’ 46-game winning streak and a 30-game home winning streak. It also propelled Mount Union into the No. 1 spot of the latest D3football.com Top 25 Poll released on Sunday night. The Purple Raiders churned out 619 yards of total offense in a 57-0 win against Muskingum for their 65th consecutive regular season victory. UW-Whitewater fell to No. 4 in the rankings.
• No. 25 Iowa State shocked No. 1 Nebraska in women’s volleyball 3-1 on Saturday as the Cyclones claimed their first win against a top-ranked team and handed the Huskers their first loss of the season. It was only the second time in series history Iowa State has defeated the Huskers. Tenisha Matlock notched the match-clinching kill and led the way for the Cyclones with 13 kills and a .357 hitting percentage against the former Big 12 opponent.
• The No. 1 Florida State women’s soccer team opened Atlantic Coast Conference action with a pair of 1-0 shutouts against No. 2 Duke and No. 14 Wake Forest in Tallahassee this weekend.
“The competition can’t get much better than this; to be able to play a Thursday night match against Duke and get a 1-0 result and then to come back and duplicate that effort against Wake Forest is a great weekend,” said head coach Mark Krikorian.
It was the fourth and fifth shutouts of the season for goalkeeper Kelsey Wys, who improved her goals against average to 0.39 on the year. With the win against Wake Forest, the Seminoles are off to their best start in school history at 8-0-0.
Meanwhile, Duke bounced back from the loss to the Seminoles with a 3-2 overtime win at Miami (Fla.) on Sunday afternoon. Junior Lauren Weinberg netted the golden goal for the Blue Devils, who were playing their eighth road game in 11 matches on the season.
• The top-ranked North Carolina men’s soccer squad dropped its first game of the season on Tuesday, losing to James Madison 1-0 which snapped the Tar Heels’ 16-game unbeaten streak. On Friday, the Heels returned to action against No. 15 Wake Forest, managing a 0-0 draw in double-overtime against the Demon Deacons.
It was the 28th career shutout for UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin, who is now just a half a shutout short of the school’s all-time record. UNC also stretched its home unbeaten streak to 31 games – the fifth-longest in NCAA history.
• In the lone top-25 matchup in Division II football, No. 12 Bloomsburg fended off No. 21 Kutztown 44-37 as the Huskies moved to 3-0 on the season. The Husky offense rushed for more than 300 yards in their third consecutive game, while redshirt freshman quarterback Tim Kelly threw for a career-high 246 yards and a pair of TD passes. He has not thrown an interception in 71 attempts this season.
• No. 7 Hope College women’s volleyball handed No. 1 Washington U. (Mo.) its first loss in 14 matches at the Wittenberg Fall Classic that featured four top-10 Division III teams. The Flying Dutch won the match in five sets, and in dramatic fashion as freshman Allie Mitchell served back-to-back aces with the score tied 15-15 in the fifth set.
Hope went 3-1 on the weekend, falling to No. 2 Wittenberg. However, no team went unscathed in the tournament as No. 2 Wittenberg, the defending NCAA champion, and No. 3 Calvin also suffered first losses on the season.
• In Division III women’s soccer another No. 1 team went down as top-ranked William Smith fell to Fredonia State 1-0 in a non-conference match on Saturday. Fredonia junior Katie Kleine scored off a pass from Catie Hale in the 30th minute for the eventual win.
• No. 1 USC squeaked out a 7-6 victory against No. 2 UCLA in the championship match of the NorCal Tournament on Sunday as the Trojans claimed the title for the third consecutive season. It was also a rematch of the 2011 NCAA championship match in which the Trojans also prevailed. Junior Nikola Vavic led USC with four goals, while goalkeeper James Clark made 11 saves in his first meeting against the Bruins. Both USC and UCLA survived overtime games in the tournament semifinals as USC downed Stanford 10-9 and UCLA clipped California 11-10.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|6||West Chester senior quarterback Mike Mattei tied a school record with six TD passes in a 56-14 win against Millersville in Division II football on Saturday. It was only the seventh time since 1999 that a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference signal-caller has tossed six touchdown passes in a game.|
|10||The No. 2 Princeton field hockey team exploded on Sunday afternoon, downing Delaware 10-2 to improve to 6-0 on the season. Senior Kathleen Sharkey netted the Tigers’ first three goals and assisted on the next two scores.|
|98||Yale freshman Eric Williams connected with junior wide receiver Cameron Sandquist for a 98-yard touchdown pass as the Bulldogs won their season-opening contest against Georgetown, 24-21. The TD pass was not only the longest play from scrimmage in Yale history, but the longest pass play in FCS this season.|
|100||Maine’s Kendall James intercepted a Bryant University pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown as the Black Bears dominated in a 51-7 victory on Saturday. The return tied the school record set by Dave Brown against Bowdoin in 1962.|
|349||Indiana State junior tailback Shakir Bell racked up a school and Missouri Valley Football Conference single-game record 349 rushing yards, and scored two touchdowns, as the Sycamores topped Drake 27-10 on Saturday. Bell broke his own school single-game mark of 256 yards which he set against Youngstown State last year.|
|6,848||There was a Creighton men’s soccer record crowd of 6,848 fans on hand Friday night to watch as the No. 2 Bluejays were upended 2-1 by No. 14 Old Dominion in the Creighton Invitational.|
• West Texas A&M head coach Don Carthel became the school’s all-time wins leader as he guided the Buffaloes to a 40-10 upset of No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville at the Lone Star Conference Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday. Carthel is now 69-20 in eight seasons at the helm of the program.
• The South Carolina women’s volleyball team matched its best start in school history as the Gamecocks improved to 12-0 with a sweep of Georgia on Friday.
• The No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth football team found the end zone on each of its first 10 offensive series en route to a 70-24 win against host Concordia University-St. Paul on Saturday. UMD, the four-time defending Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champion, racked up a program-record 675 yards of offense while improving to 3-0 on the season and 29-2 in its last 31 games away from Duluth.
• Nebraska-Kearney, the top-ranked team in Division II women’s volleyball, began the program’s first season in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association with a clean sweep through the Lopers’ first trio of conference foes. The first-year MIAA members downed Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State and Central Oklahoma on the week, improving to 10-0 overall this season.
• Seven different Notre Dame players netted goals in the No. 16 Irish’s 7-0 defeat of Cincinnati in a Big East Conference women’s soccer match on Sunday. It was the most goals for the Fighting Irish in a league match since 2005. UND is now 2-0 in conference action after edging No. 13 Louisville 2-1 on Friday.
• For the third consecutive match, the No. 1 Lynn University’s men’s soccer team needed a score in the final minutes to secure victory and Julian Halder came through for the Fighting Knights on Saturday. Halder recorded his fifth goal of the season for a 1-0 defeat of No. 23 Rollins in the Division II Sunshine State Conference match.
• Junior Bojan Hrlec scored with 29 seconds remaining in overtime to lift No. 6 UC-Irvine against No. 5 UC-Santa Barbara, 12-11 in the fifth-place game of the NorCal Tournament at Stanford on Sunday. Hrlec’s goal was the fourth of the game. The Anteaters moved to 10-1 on the year.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy