Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: The Citadel

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at The Citadel.

Coming off the 2015-16 season tied for a Southern Conference championship, the Bulldogs travel to Cullowhee for the forth game of the young Catamount football season.

Western faces the Bulldogs for the forty-first time since 1972, in the Catamount's second home game of the season.

The Citadel   

When: Saturday, October 1st at 3:30 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

The Series: Western trails The Citadel 16-23-1 overall in the series, but are 10-10 in games played in Cullowhee. Can the Cats improve on those two records this year?

Head Coach: Brent Thompson - Thompson was named The Citadel's 25th head football coach on January 19, 2016. Thompson served as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/B-Backs coach for the past two seasons. His rushing attack produced 27 individual 100-yard rushing games in that time, including a single-season program-record 14 in 2015, which ranks as the most in any two-year stretch in school history. In 2015, The Citadel finished 9-4 overall after advancing to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs for only the second time in school history. The Bulldogs earned the program’s first road playoff win with a 41-38 victory at Coastal Carolina in the first round of the playoffs.

Last year’s record: 9-4 overall, 5-1 at home and 4-3 on the road.  6-1 in the SoCon

Last Season's Game vs. The Citadel: (Sept. 12, 2015 in Charleston, SC) -
Catamounts Tripped by The Citadel in SoCon Opener, 28-10 - Bulldog quarterback Dominique Allen accounted for 204 yards of total offense including 99 yards rushing and two touchdowns as The Citadel defeated Western Carolina, 28-10, Saturday night at Johnson Hagood Stadium in the Southern Conference opener for both squads. The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SoCon) scored four rushing touchdowns -- three after the Catamounts pulled ahead for the first time in the game midway through the third quarter -- to secure the victory.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:   7 / 4
-Returning - WR-Jorian Jordan, LT-Isiah Pinson, LG-Kyle Weaver, C-Ryan Vednar, QB-Dominique Allen, A-back Cam Johnson, B-back Tyler Renew

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8  / 3
-Returning - DT-Jonathan King, DE-Joe Crochet, KLB-Tevin Floyd, BANDIT-Dondray Copeland, CB-Dee Delaney, ROVER-Kailik Williams, FS-Malik Diggs, CB-Shy Phillips

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  7 / 0

Offensive Formation: Triple Option

Defensive Formation: 4-2-5

2015 The Citadel Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 4510 yards or 347 yards per game
Yards per rush:  5.7
TDs rushing:  41
Passing Offense:  964 yards or 74 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int:  56-108-6
Total Offense:  5474 yards or 421 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost:  30 - 20
Penalties-Yards:  44 - 6043 yards
3d Down Conversions:  89 of 180 or 49%
4th Down Conversions:  7 of 19 or 37%
Field Goals - Attempts:  16 of  21
Red-Zone Scores:  41 of 54  (76%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns:  32 of 54 (59%)
Punts (No. Yards):   44 (1667) Avg, per punt: 38

The Citadel returns 15 starters and 52 lettermen from the 2015 squad, and includes All-Americans Dee Delaney (DB) and Tyler Renew (B-BACK) and all-conference selections Ken Allen (DL), Tyler Davis (OL), Tevin Floyd (LB), Evan McField (B-BACK), Quinlan Washington (LB), Kyle Weaver (OL) and Kailik Williams (DB).The 2015 conference co-champions enter the 2016 season having scored 41 rushing touchdowns to rank first in the SoCon and fourth in the FCS. last season. The Bulldogs’ averaged 346.9 rushing yards per game was again first in the SoCon and second in FCS. The Bulldogs’ 31 turnovers forced ranked them firstst in the SoCon and tied for third in FCS in the 2015 season

Those are great stats for the defending champions to bring to Cullowhee, but they also will bring in a brand new head coach (Brent Thompson),  a brand new offensive coordinator (Lou Conte) and brand new defensive coordinator (WCU alumni Blake Harrell).  While not new to the Citadel, all three are new to their 2016 positions, so we'll how how such a massive turnover in positions, as well as the loss of a head coach affects this team.

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