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Hot Read: The Citadel Clinches SoCon Title

By Robbie Ross
SouthernPigskin.com
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The Citadel clinched at least a share of the SoCon title with an overtime win over Samford.

The Citadel battled back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime between two top 20 teams battling to win a SoCon championship.  In the extra period, Samford won the toss and elected to go on defense first.  The home-standing Bulldogs ran three straight plays, gaining five yards and setting up Cody Clark for a 37-yard field goal to give The Citadel a 37-34 lead.  Samford’s possession began with a three-yard bubble screen followed by an incompletion at the five yard line and a false start penalty. And incompletion on third-and-long set up a 44-yard field goal attempt by Reece Everett that hit the right upright, giving The Citadel a 37-34 win and at least a share of the SoCon Championship for the second year in a row. 

The battle of the conference’s ranked Bulldogs lived up to the pre-game billing.  Samford used two Devlin Hodges rushing touchdowns and two long Reece Everett field goals to take a 20-14 lead into halftime at Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston this afternoon.  Hodges scored on runs of 10 and 57 yards, to go along with 131 yards passing. Everett tied a career-long with a 51-yard field goal and notched a 44-yarder, which were the difference heading into the break.  The Citadel notched a rushing touchdown from eight yards out by Cam Jackson and a 55-yard run up the middle from Tyler Renew, his first touchdown run since the season opener at Mercer.  

The second half was back and forth, with The Citadel taking a 21-20 lead on another long Tyler Renew touchdown run, this time from 58 yards out.  A Cody Clark career-long 48-yard field goal followed, extending The Citadel’s lead to 24-20 before the Bulldogs from Birmingham took over.  Two Devlin Hodges touchdown passes in the 4th quarter gave Samford a 34-24 lead with 6:17 left, putting The Citadel’s slow-paced option offense attack against the wall.  Enter Cam Jackson, who took an option pitch from Dominique Allen 68 yards on the 2nd play of the drive, setting up Tyler Renew’s 3rd touchdown run of the day, this time from four yards out.  The Citadel forced a Samford three and out, giving the Bulldogs from Charleston the football with 2:54 remaining.  The Citadel milked the clock all the way down to nine seconds left, setting up a 34-yard Cody Clark game-tying field goal, his third of the day. 

The Citadel’s Tyler Renew led the way on the ground with an astounding 42 carries for 278 yards and three touchdowns.  Samford’s Devlin Hodges led the way for his Bulldogs with 280 yards passing on 35 of 46 passing with two touchdowns to go along with 94 yards rushing and two touchdowns.  The Citadel improves to 9-0 for the first time in school history and will have the opportunity to clinch the SoCon title outright next week, along with the Silver Shako, when they travel to VMI in the Military Classic of the South.

Robbie Ross - Robbie Ross is Southern Pigskin's lead SoCon writer. A 19-year veteran of the Furman Radio Network, Ross also spent time with the Georgia State Radio Network prior to his ventures with Southern Pigskin. He is a voter in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll.