The Citadel enters national rankings for first time in four years


CHARLESTON, S.C. - On the heels of its dramatic 23-21 victory over then third-ranked Georgia Southern, The Citadel has entered the Top 25 in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls.

The Bulldogs, off to their first 2-0 start since 2007, are No. 21 in The Sports Network poll and are ranked 23rd by the coaches. This marks the first time The Citadel has been in either national poll since spending seven weeks among the nation's elite in 2008, reaching as high as No. 12 that season.

This is the second season in which The Citadel has been ranked in eight years under head coach Kevin Higgins. In addition to their run in 2008, the Bulldogs made a brief appearance at No. 25 in 2007. Prior to that, The Citadel had not been ranked since spending two weeks in the polls during the 1993 campaign.

The win over Georgia Southern was the first time The Citadel had knocked off a Top 10 opponent since a 23-20 overtime win over East Tennessee State in 1997, and the Eagles represented the highest-ranked victim since a 20-3 victory over No. 1 Marshall in 1988.

The highest ranking in Citadel history came in its historic 1992 Southern Conference championship season when the Bulldogs spent four weeks as the No. 1 team in the country, finishing the regular season in that spot before losing to Youngstown State in the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs.

The Citadel will look to make it two ranked victims in a row this week when it travels to Boone, N.C., to face Appalachian State. The Mountaineers moved up to No. 8 in The Sports Network poll and No. 7 in the coaches poll after evening their record at 1-1 with a 35-27 win over Montana on Saturday. Appalachian State's loss is to FBS foe East Carolina.

The Bulldogs have lost 17 of their past 18 in the series against the Mountaineers, including the past eight, and will be looking to win in Boone for the first time since a 25-0 victory in 1992. The only win since then was a 24-21 triumph in Charleston in 2003.

The last time The Citadel was involved in a game in which both teams were in the Top 25 came in 2008 when the No. 24 Bulldogs lost to No. 19 Furman 34-20. The Citadel fell out of the rankings after that loss and did not appear again until this week.

The Southern Conference has four teams in the Top 25 this week. In addition to The Citadel and Appalachian State, Wofford and Georgia Southern also made the cut. The Terriers (2-0) are ninth in both polls while the Eagles (1-1) remained several spots ahead of the Bulldogs, coming in at No. 11 in The Sports Network poll and No. 10 in the coaches poll.