VMI gives up Silver Shako, falling 35-24 at The Citadel

VMI AthleticsThe Citadel broke a two-game losing streak to VMI in the Military Classic of the South, defeating the Keydets by a 35-24 score at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

VMI quarterback Seth Morgan finished the game going 20-30 for 208 yards through the air while running back Korey Bridy finished with 85 yards on the ground on 19 carries. Senior Jakob Herres led the receiving corps with 115 receiving yards on nine grabs.

The Citadel (2-2, 1-0 SoCon) got on the board first on its opening possession when quarterback Jaylan Adams connected with Raleigh Webb for an 80-yard touchdown reception

After both teams went scoreless the remainder of the opening quarter, The Citadel again scored on a 14-yard rush by Logan Billings to put the Bulldogs up, 14-0, early in the second quarter.

VMI (3-2, 1-1 SoCon) responded soon after with a 3-yard touchdown scamper by senior running back Bridy to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 11:51 before the half.

The Bulldogs didn’t take long to put up another touchdown on their ensuing possession when Billings scored on a 40-yard rush to increase The Citadel lead to 21-7 at the 8:36 mark.

VMI managed to score three more before the half as Jerry Rice converted a 23-yard field goal with 4:03 on the clock to go into the break with a 21-10 deficit.

Following a VMI fumble and a Citadel turnover on downs, the Keydets scored on an 18-yard pass from Seth Morgan to Chance Knox to make the score 21-17 at the 3:23 mark of the third quarter.

A Jaylan Adams 68-yard rush down the sideline set up his own three-yard rushing touchdown on the ensuing Citadel possession to increase the Bulldog lead to 28-17 with just over a minute left in the quarter.

Knox then returned The Citadel kickoff 84 yards down the sideline and was horse tackled to put VMI on The Citadel eight-yard line. Bridy scored on the first play of the first quarter on a 4-yard rush up the middle to cut the VMI deficit to 28-24 with 14:55 to play.

The Citadel converted on two fourth-down attempts on its next possession to set up a 22-yard rushing touchdown up the middle to up the Bulldog lead to 35-24 with 6:42 left in regulation.

Driving deep into The Citadel territory, an errant throw by Morgan was picked off in the endzone to give the ball back to the Bulldogs with 5:13 left.

The Keydets forced a punt, but on the resulting VMI drive Morgan was again intercepted off a throw intended for Jakob Herres. The Bulldogs successfully ran out the remaining 2:48 on the clock to end the contest.

VMI returns to action next Saturday at home against league preseason favorite Chattanooga to resume Southern Conference action. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Foster Stadium.

Postgame: VMI coach Scott Wachenheim

“I was very proud of our team. They played hard the entire football game and that’s all you can ask. I think you have to give The Citadel credit. They executed at a very high level today and they used the open week in great fashion. They gave us one formation that took us a little bit of time to adjust to but they executed well all day long. That drive in the fourth quarter, they took nearly 10 minutes off the clock for a touchdown was tough for us to overcome, but I’m proud of the way we fought and I thought we moved the ball down the field. We just needed to finish with touchdowns and not turnovers at the end.”

“It was a great response by our team in the second half and that’s who we are -never say die, VMI Spirit and we came fighting back. We were right there in it. The Citadel executed great on offense, hit a long run against us, and made some critical fourth downs, and they never turned the ball over. They played a really good football game and we made some miscues. We lost the turnover battle 3-0 and it’s tough to win rivalry games when you do that.

“We’ll get back to work as soon as we get back to prepare for a Chattanooga team that was picked to win the conference by many people. It will be a heck of a battle for us.”

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