Citadel Bulldogs brush off Charleston Southern’s broom celebration

By: Jeff Hartsell
Late in Charleston Southern’s 33-20 victory over The Citadel on Sept. 26, Buccaneers coach Jamey Chadwell sent for the brooms. Chadwell and his players wielded the brooms during their post-game festivities at Johnson Hagood Stadium, celebrating a third straight victory over the Bulldogs in what looked to be the final meeting between the Lowcountry rivals for quite a while. Ten weeks later, the rivals will meet again at 1 p.m. Saturday at CSU’s Buccaneer Field, courtesy of brackets arranged by the FCS playoff committee.

The 9-3 Bulldogs are brushing off any idea that the 9-2 Bucs’ prior use of house-cleaning implements will impact Saturday’s game, which will send the winner to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. “I really didn’t pay attention to the brooms,” Citadel linebacker Tevin Floyd said Tuesday. “I didn’t even notice they were out there until somebody told me after the game. But I think we’ve done a good job this year of handling wins and losses, of taking them for what they are and moving on to the next week.”

In his news conference on Monday, the Bucs’ Chadwell seemed to express some regret about the brooms, saying, “Coach Chadwell probably could have handled it better, but I’m not going to take back why we did what we did with it.”

For his part, Citadel coach Mike Houston said brooms would not be part of his motivational speeches this week. “Nah,” he said. “The one thing I’ve always been proud of is the way our team represents itself after a game, win or lose. They conduct themselves with the utmost class, and we’re going to focus on us. “Anything of that nature, that outside stuff, I really don’t address. It really doesn’t matter and it won’t matter once the ball kicks off. The only thing that matters is what happens between 1 and 4 on Saturday afternoon.”

What will matter is if The Citadel can run the ball better against CSU than it did the first time. No team has slowed The Citadel’s running game the way the No. 8 seed Bucs did on Sept .26. The Bulldogs, averaging 359.3 rushing yards per game, ran for only 181 against CSU, including just 15 in the second half.

Houston said the results of that game won’t have much to do with Saturday’s game. “It’s a different time and place for both teams,” Houston said. “I think both teams have improved a lot and are playing with a lot of confidence. You now have the Big South champion and the Southern Conference champion squaring off in the round of 16. Both teams have achieved a lot, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. “It’s the same rosters, basically, but kind of a different set up this time.”

In Saturday’s 41-38 win at Coastal Carolina, the Bulldogs rushed for 524 yards, the most in an FCS playoff game since Georgia Southern ran for 602 in 2012. A school-record four Bulldogs ran for at least 100 yards, led by quarterback Dominique Allen with 174 yards and two touchdowns. Allen said the stakes in the playoffs sweep away any concerns about brooms.
“We see it as, we’re in the second round of the playoffs and that’s enough motivation for us,” he said. “It hasn’t been done very often in school history, so that’s one thing to get us motivated by itself.”

• Citadel running back Vinny Miller was credited with 93 rushing yards in Saturday’s win at Coastal Carolina. But one carry for seven yards was mistakenly awarded to another player who was not even dressed for the game, so Miller actually had 100 yards on six carries. That gave The Bulldogs a school-record four 100-yard rushers, led by Allen (174), fullback Tyler Renew (129) and slotback Cam Jackson (113).

• Other playoff games Saturday include Chattanooga at No. 1 Jacksonville State; Colgate at No. 5 James Madison; Sam Houston State at No. 4 McNeese State; Montana at No. 3 North Dakota State; Northern Iowa at No. 6 Portland State; William & Mary at No. 7 Richmond; and Western Illinois at No. 2 Illinois State.


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