VMI football: Failed two-point conversion dooms Keydets in 34-32 loss to The Citadel

vmi footballThe VMI Keydets came up just short in their quest for their first victory of the season Saturday afternoon in their 34-32 loss to military rival The Bulldogs of The Citadel .

VMI trailed in the fourth quarter 31-20 but was able to make a comeback after Quarterback Reece Udinski found wide receiver Jakob Herres for the 27 yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left. The Keydets would then go for two in an attempt to tie the game but Udinski pass sailed past the back of the endzone.

VMI and The Citadel have faced each other in football 74 times since their first meeting back in 1920 and the rivalry is known as the Military Classic of the South. The winner of the game walks away with the Silver Shako Trophy which has now gone to the Citadel after the last 12 meetings.

The Citadel was able to turn their first drive into seven points after Grant Drakeford ran the ball 25 yards for the score. The Citadel would then try to catch the Keydets off guard with an onside kick attempt but the ball rolled out of bounds giving VMI great field position.  VMI turned that great field position into a score as Udinski found Quan Meyers for his first of five touchdowns on the evening.

Special teams hurt the Keydets all afternoon and it started in the second quarter when The Citadel were able to block and punt and soon after increase their lead to 14-7 with a Clay Harris one yard touchdown run. VMI would answer just before the half however with a 21 yard touchdown pass from Udinski to Kris Thornton.

VMI started with the ball in the second but a questionable call to go for it on fourth and eight from the Keydet 33 failed giving Bulldogs great field position and capped off their opening drive of the second half with a 6 yard touchdown run from Quarterback Jordan Black.  Udinski would get his third touchdown toss later in the third with a six yard pass to Rohan Martin, but the special team woes continued when The Citadel blocked the PAT making the score 21-20 Bulldogs.

To close the third quarter the Bulldogs got a long 71 yard touchdown run from Black increasing their lead to 28-20. The Citadel would add a field goal at the beginning of the fourth before the Keydets would start to make their fourth quarter rally.

Udinski would begin the VMI rally with a 65 yard touchdown pass to Kris Thornton but the first of two failed 2 point tried was intercepted by a Citadel defender. After a Udinski interception in VMI territory later in the fourth, the Keydet defense made a huge stop holding the Bulldogs to a field goal making it 34-26 The Citadel.

The final drive of the game for VMI saw the Keydets go 89 yards after Udinski threw touchdown pass number 5 to Herres on a fourth and 12 from the 27 yard line, but the two point try failed and the Keydets were not able to recover the ensuing onside kick attempt.

VMI falls to 0-7 on the season (0-5 in SoCon) and travel to Chattanooga next Saturday.

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