Southern Pigskin

Keydets Get Key Win


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By BJ Bennett
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VMI got the hard-fought win and meaningful momentum entering the most important stretch of the season.

nAfter a disappointing rivalry week loss at The Citadel, VMI, the defending Southern Conference champion, entered the Chattanooga game looking for a bounce-back effort. In one of the most exciting games of the year, the Keydets did just that. Down a touchdown in the fourth quarter, VMI rallied with a late score and field goal and ultimately won a key league game over a nationally-ranked on an overtime kick. The Keydets rallied and, ultimately, responded.xc2xa0

nVMI got the hard-fought win and meaningful momentum entering an important stretch of the season.xc2xa0

nIn a compelling, competitive contest, the Keydets consistently made the plays that mattered most. Quarterback Seth Morgan completed 30-of-42 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Korey Birdy rushed 36 times for 165 yards. Michael Jackson caught six passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. VMI came through defensively in extra play, allowing just five yards before a Mocs’ missed kick. Down the stretch, the Keydets scored 16 of the game’s final 19 points.xc2xa0xc2xa0

nKicker Jerry Rice starred with a signature showing, one of the best special teams performances in SoCon history. He made 5-of-5 field goal attempts, including a clutch coversion late in the fourth quarter and the game-winner in overtime. Rice was responsible for all of VMI’s first half production and scored 17 points overall. His game-tying conversion with 41 seconds remaining was from 49 yards out. A 37-yarder in overtime proved to be the difference in the game.xc2xa0xc2xa0

nNow 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play, the Keydets are in position for another run. Saturday’s game at Mercer, tied for first in the standings, has considerable league and postseason implications. A trip to East Tennessee State awaits as well. The Bears and Buccaneers are the lone undefeated teams in the SoCon; they are VMI’s next two road games. After the win over Chattanooga, the Keydets are clearly in contention.xc2xa0

nIn recent years, VMI has shown an impressive poise in close conference games. The Keydets are now 6-1 in their last seven one-score SoCon contests. That confidence should only benefit VMI moving forward.

nThe Keydets were at a crossroads, of sorts, on Saturday. The direction, for a team with high expectations, was forward.

BJ Bennett – B.J. Bennett is’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: [email protected] / Twitter: @BJBennettSports

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