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Road not getting easier for The Citadel


No question about it, when The Citadel beat then-third-ranked Georgia Southern, 23-21, on Saturday in Charleston, S.C., it was a big win for the program.

The victory put the Bulldogs into the Top 25 (No. 21) for the first time since 2008, and it was the first win over a top-10 team since they beat East Tennessee State in overtime in 1997.

It doesn’t get any easier from here.

The Citadel (2-0, 1-0 Southern Conference) faces No. 8 Appalachian State (1-1) on the road in Boone, N.C., at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Mountaineers are coming off a 35-27 win over Montana, a traditional Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse which defeated ASU each of the first two times the programs met.

After the Bulldogs leave Boone, they’ll have to face Atlantic Coast Conference opponent North Carolina State on Sept. 22.

All coach Kevin Higgins can do is worry about his players.

"We don’t have the type of talent that some of these other types of teams have," said the Citadel’s head coach, "so our focus is on us and what we need to do to prepare ourselves to play at a high level, and once we get on the field, we need to make plays to stay in the game at the end and try to win them."

He doesn’t think the GSU win will be a cause for distraction

"It’s not like we’re in the middle of a championship run," Higgins said. "We’re trying to build a program. We’re trying to get our guys better from a day-to-day standpoint."

Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore expects the same from the Mountaineers after a similar outcome against Montana.

"They made plays when they had to make plays," Moore said. "It was a good ballgame, just like ours. It was decided in the last minutes of the game."


Same song, different chorus

During the 2011 season, Chattanooga lost four of its games by a total of five points.

The Mocs finished 5-6, and every loss, except the opener against Nebraska, came by a touchdown or less.

Saturday on the road against No. 24 Jacksonville State, the Mocs lost another heartbreaker. JSU kicked a field goal as time expired to defeat the Mocs (0-2), 27-24.

"Eventually, we’ve got to get one of those," said UTC coach Russ Huesman. "I think our first year here, we probably had three or four one-score games that we won. We’ve done it in the past. I think it gets a little bit skewed, because last year we had those four that were really heartbreakers, and then this one. We’ve got guys who have won games that have been really tight, and one of these days we’re going to get one, and feel good about it, and get on a roll that way."

The Mocs have a chance at a feel good win on Thursday, when they face Division II Glennville State, at 7 p.m. in Chattanooga, Tenn.




: Georgia Southern (1-1, 0-1), which fell to No. 11 in the FCS media poll after its loss to The Citadel, will have a week off before returning to action Saturday, Sept. 22, at home against Elon at 6 p.m. … No. 9 Wofford took care of business last Saturday, drubbing Lincoln University, 82-0, in its home opener. The Terriers (2-0) open SoCon play Saturday at home against Western Carolina at 7 p.m. The Catamounts (1-1) lost last last Saturday, 54-24, at Marshall. … Furman (0-2), which lost a triple-overtime thriller to Coastal Carolina, 47-45, last Saturday, faces No. 11 (FBS) Clemson Saturday on the road at 3 p.m. … Samford (2-0, 1-0) crushed West Alabama, 34-6, last Saturday, and will remain unbeaten in SoCon play, facing non-conference opponent Gardner-Webb (0-2) Saturday on the road at 3 p.m.


Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.