Story and photo courtesy of Wofford Athletics
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – On Saturday afternoon, the Wofford football team used a defensive stand in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 24-21 win over The Citadel at Gibbs Stadium. The Terriers had a 24-7 lead at the half, but the Bulldogs scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second half.
The Terriers are 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in the SoCon. The Citadel is 4-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein had 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Bryan Youman added 64 rushing yards, while Brian Kass had 36 rushing yards and 43 passing yards. The Citadel was led by Darien Robinson with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Domonic Jones had four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
“There is no doubt that the game came down to defense,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “The scary thing is that you have a team that can move the football, you have a team that is exactly the same minded as we are. They have quality players and two quarterbacks who are tough kids to tackle. Schematically they understand what they want to do. Hats off to our defensive staff for getting our guys ready. Some of their biggest plays were when we tackled them and thought they were down but they rolled out of it and kept going. I am glad this one is over. We had an opportunity to take it down the field on the first drive of the second half and I knew when we did not do that the focus went away. We started having penalties and dropped passes. You name is we had it. I did a bad job of getting them ready and I will do a better job next week of getting them ready.”
The Citadel had the ball to open the game and after gaining three first downs Ben Dupree found Domonic Jones for a 23-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs led 7-0 at 11:25 in the first quarter. Wofford had a 41-yard run by Bryan Youman and capped the drive with an eight yard touchdown run by Eric Breitenstein. The game was tied at 7-7 at 9:02.
After forcing the Bulldogs three-and-out, the Terriers were able to take a 14-7 lead on a 13-yard touchdown run by Will Gay with 1:53 left in the first quarter. The Citadel moved the ball down the field with four first downs, but a 39-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Wofford then went three-and-out and punted.
On the next drive by the Bulldogs, they gained a first down but then failed to convert on fourth-and-six and turned it over on downs. Wofford was able to take a 21-7 lead with a four-yard touchdown run by Eric Breitenstein with 57 seconds left in the half. The kickoff was fumbled by the Bulldogs and Wofford recovered. After a first down, Kasey Redfern kicked a 42-yard field goal that was tipped at the line, but went over the cross bar for a 24-7 advantage at the break.
Wofford opened the second half with the ball and gained two first downs, but did not convert a fourth-and-two. The Bulldogs scored on a 44-yard touchdown run by Darien Robinson to cut the lead to 24-14 with 8:49 on the clock in the third quarter.
With the ball back, the Terriers moved across midfield but were forced to punt. The Bulldogs put together a 91-yard drive that was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Vandyke Jones. The score was 24-21 with 14:54 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
The Terriers went three-and-out and punted. The Citadel converted a fourth-and-one, but had to punt. Wofford then went three-and-out and punted back to the Bulldogs. With another fourth-and-one, the Bulldogs converted at their own 30-yard line. The Wofford defense held and the Bulldogs punted with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter. Wofford was unable to gain a first down and punted with 2:28 left. The Bulldogs gained one first down, but an incomplete pass on fourth-and-nine turned the ball back over to Wofford. The Terriers were able to run out the final 1:25 on the clock for the victory.
Wofford had 326 total yards, with 283 on the ground. The Citadel had 355 total yards, 271 of which were rushing. The Citadel had 22 first downs to 15 for Wofford. Wofford was 8-of-15 on third downs. The Citadel was 7-of-14 on third down and 2-of-4 on fourth down. Wofford had a season-high eight penalties, while The Citadel had two. Wofford had the time of possession by a 30:35 to 29:25 margin.
Next week, the Terriers are on the road at Samford. Wofford returns home on Saturday, November 10 against Chattanooga.