SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford Athletics) – Wofford fell to The Citadel 28-24 Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium.
The Terriers had a 24-7 lead after the opening possession of the second half, but the Bulldogs scored the next three touchdowns including the game winner with 26 seconds remaining.
Wofford is 1-4 overall and 1-4 in league play. The Citadel is 1-9 on the season and 1-5 in the Southern Conference. The Terriers were led by Irvin Mulligan with 93 rushing yards, while Peyton Derrick had 55 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with 4-of-7 passing. Clay Harris led the Bulldogs with 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“We need to find a way to finish games,” said Wofford head coach Josh Conklin. “We were able to stop them in the first half but in the second half we couldn’t find a way to get them off the field. They had a couple of big runs against us which hurt us defensively. We had opportunities to get off the field on that last drive and just didn’t do it. We had a good drive going on our last drive and we need to finish that off with points – either three or seven, and seven wins the game. We had opportunities we just didn’t get it done.”
The Citadel had the ball first and converted a fourth-and-three before coming up short on a fourth-and-two. Wofford then failed to convert on a fourth-and-one, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the 32-yard line. With the short field, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs on a fourth-and-two. After a 34-yard first down run by Irvin Mulligan, the Terriers were faced with a fourth-and-one which was converted with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Weirick to Garrison Moore for a 7-0 lead at the 2:13 mark of the first quarter. The Citadel went three-and-out and punted. With the ball back, Wofford had two rushing first downs before Walker Gliarmis kicked a 43-yard field goal to make it a 10-0 lead with 10:08 left in the second quarter.
With the ball back, the Bulldogs started at their 46-yard line after a long kickoff return. After two first downs moved the ball inside the 20, the Bulldogs had a fourth-and-two that became a first down after a face mask penalty. A two-yard touchdown run made it a 10-7 game with 6:24 left in the first half. Wofford had four first downs and the drive ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Peyton Derrick for a 17-7 lead with 29 seconds on the clock. On the first play of the ensuing drive by the Bulldogs, Miles Richardson intercepted a deep pass at the 30-yard line. Wofford took a knee to end the half.
Wofford had the ball to begin the second half and Peyton Derrick picked up a first down and there was a personal foul on the play to move inside the 30-yard line. After another first down, Nathan Walker scored a 16-yard touchdown to give the Terriers a 24-7 lead with 11:54 on the clock in the third quarter. The Bulldogs went three-and-out and punted. Peyton Derrick was intercepted by Javonte Middleton on a deep pass and he returned it to the 42-yard line. After a first down and penalty, the Bulldogs were faced with a fourth-and-one. It appeared the Terriers stopped the runner short, but upon measurement the first down was gained. After another first down, the Bulldogs scored on a five-yard run to make it 24-14 with 5:23 on the clock. Wofford gained one first down before punting.
The Citadel had a 62-yard on the first play of their next drive, but a fumble was forced by Miles Richardson and recovered by Darron Paschal at the 13-yard line. Wofford gained one first down before punting back to the Bulldogs. After a 45-yard run, the Bulldogs scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Cole Owens to cut the lead to 24-21 with 11:54 remaining. Wofford picked up a fourth-and-one and had two more first downs before the Bulldogs recovered a fumble at the 35-yard line. A first down on a penalty moved the ball across midfield and the drive ended with an eight-yard run by Clay Harris with 26 seconds remaining. Trailing 28-24, Wofford was able to run two plays before the game ended.
Wofford had 342 total yards, with 270 rushing yards. The Citadel had 326 total yards, 272 of which were rushing. Wofford had a 17 to 16 advantage in first downs. Wofford was 7-of-14 on third down and The Citadel was 4-of-11 on third down. The Terriers were 2-of-3 on fourth down and the Bulldogs were 2-of-4 on fourth down. Wofford was called for nine penalties to three for The Citadel. The Terriers had a 34:52 to 25:08 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. The Citadel Post-Game Notes
The Bulldogs ended a streak of four straight wins in the series by Wofford. They hold a lead 43-30-1 overall lead in the series that began in 1916.
Garrison Moore’s touchdown in the first quarter was the second of his career. Miles Richardson had his first career interception in the second quarter – it was the team’s second interception of the season.
Joe Beckett led the team in tackles with 12, while T.J. Neal had 1.5 tackles for loss.
Game captains were John Beckley, Brandon Brown, Al Hogan and Darron Paschal.
The game marked the final regular season home contest for six Wofford seniors. The group includes: Corey Cooper, Brater Gerber, Dawson Henis, Ryan Lovelace, Garrison Moore and Darron Paschal.
Attendance at Gibbs Stadium was 1,109.
The Terriers will play at Western Carolina next Saturday at 2:00 p.m.