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Mitchell Northam | | September 14, 2019

FCS over FBS: The Citadel shocks Georgia Tech in overtime

Overtime dramatics headline our FCS top plays

Entering Saturday, The Citadel football team was 0-22 vs. the ACC and 0-10 vs. Georgia Tech.

But after Jacob Godek’s 37-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights in overtime in Atlanta, The Citadel can finally put a tally in the win column of those records.

The Citadel Bulldogs pulled off an FCS over FBS upset Saturday, running wild over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for a 27-24 victory.

It is just the ninth win over an FBS school in 59 tries for the Bulldogs.

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Triple-option redemption

The Yellow Jackets are accustomed to losing to Bulldogs, as they’ve only bested in-state rival Georgia three times since 2001, but they weren’t used to losing to these Bulldogs. This was the first time Georgia Tech had lost to an FCS opponent since 1983.

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When The Citadel agreed to play this game against Georgia Tech a few years ago, many assumed it would be an all-out triple-option fest. Tech had ran the offense for years under guru Paul Johnson and The Citadel runs it with success at the FCS level, too. But Johnson retired in the offseason and Tech hired Geoff Collins of Temple, who then brought in Dave Patenaude to give the Yellow Jackets a modern attack and to implement a faster-paced style of play.

With the option offense, Johnson won a pair of FCS national championships at Georgia Southern, led Navy to five bowl games, and led Tech to nine bowl games and one ACC title.

On Saturday, that new-look offense was at times ineffective for Tech, while the Bulldogs ran, ran and ran some more out of their flexbone-style option, with dives and tosses and traps. Following a recipe previously deployed by Johnson, The Citadel racked up 320 rushing yards on the Yellow Jackets and possessed the ball for nearly 57 minutes over four quarters and overtime.

The Bulldogs attempted just four passes, but completed one for a touchdown.

Mistakes piled up for Tech

Georgia Tech was in a position to at least send the game into a second overtime, but suffered a five-yard loss in the form of a sack on third-and-eight in its overtime possession. That pushed Brenton King’s field goal attempt back further, and he missed from 46 yards out.

Tech had actually scored a go-ahead touchdown near the end of regulation on a rush from by Tobias Oliver, but a timeout from the Yellow Jackets’ bench before the ball was snapped negated the play.

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The Yellow Jackets were also inefficient on third down, converting just three-of-nine. Tech also came up short on its lone fourth down attempt.

And while Tech never lost a fumble or threw an interception, the Yellow Jackets cost themselves nearly the length of the field in penalties, racking up eight infractions for 80 yards.

Citadel’s defense stepped up

The Citadel was 0-2 entering this game, having lost its previous two games — to Towson and Elon — by seven points each. In both games, the Bulldogs allowed their opponents to rack up more than 460 yards of total offense.

But the defensive unit tightened up against Tech, allowing just 301 yards of offense. The Bulldogs also tallied six tackles for losses, two sacks, three pass break-ups.

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After two weeks on the road, the Bulldogs are home next week to face nearby Charleston Southern. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, as they travel to Temple, who knocked off No. 21 Maryland on Saturday.

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