Charleston, S.C. - Mitchell Jeter hauled in an interception off a deflected pass in overtime, and The Citadel took advantage with a 35-yard Thomas Warren field goal on its possession to seal a 31-28 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The Bulldogs won for the first time in four home games this season and improved to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Southern Conference. ASU dropped to 1-4 for the first time since 2003 and 1-1 in the conference.
The Bulldogs and Mountaineers ended 60 minutes of football knotted at 28. The Citadel won the overtime coin flip and elected to go on defense. Four plays and 14 yards later, The Citadel defense was faced with a crucial 3rd and 8 play which it was able to turn into a wild interception.
On its overtime possession, The Citadel used three rushing plays to set up Warren for his field goal attempt which he was able to drill through the uprights for his second career game-winning field goal, giving the Bulldogs their first back-to-back wins over ASU since winning three straight from 1991-93.
The overtime victory was The Citadel's first since topping Furman at Johnson Hagood Stadium 54-51 in 2007.
The Citadel rushed for 328 yards with Ben Dupree and Darien Robinson each going over the 100-yard mark in the same game for the second time this season. Dupree accounted for 136 yards on the ground and Robinson added another 109 as the rushing duo accounted for 24 points, scoring two touchdowns apiece.
Dupree moved into fourth place in Citadel history with 28 career rushing touchdowns and jumped all the way from 12th place to eighth on the rushing chart with 2,190 career yards.
Robinson recorded his 11th career 100-yard game, tying him with Nehemiah Broughton for fifth most in Citadel history, and his two touchdowns give him 19 in his career to move to 12th place in program history. Robinson also increased his career rushing total to 2,505, moved within 131 of Nehemiah Broughton for fifth place.
Dupree and ASU running back Marcus Cox, who also had two scores on the ground, share the conference lead with 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. Cox led the Mountaineer ground game with 98 yards and also caught seven passes for 95 yards.
With the game tied at 21 and just under minutes to play in regulation, Robinson capped an eight-play, 74-yard drive with a two-yard run that gave The Citadel a 28-21 lead with just 1:19 remaining. However, the Mountaineers needed just 53 seconds to march 79 yards, including a screen pass for 49 yards to Cox, and evened the score at 28 on a two-yard Bryant touchdown run with 20 seconds left to play.
Turnovers proved costly in the first half as the both teams were able to scoop up forced fumbles and turn them into six points.
The Citadel opened the contest with a methodical drive down to the ASU 42, but on the 10th play ASU's John Law forced a fumble by Dalton Trevino, which was picked up by Karl Anderson and returned 28 yards to The Citadel 42. The Mountaineers took six plays and capped their drive with the first of Cox's two rushing touchdowns on the day to give ASU a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive the Bulldogs went back to work and put together the game's longest drive, 15 plays and 75 yards, which spanned 8:44 and resulted in the equalizer, a 23-yard scamper into the end zone by Dupree.
The Mountaineers answered with a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended in a 23-yard rushing touchdown by Cox to give ASU a 14-7 advantage. The Bulldogs took advantage of a Mountaineer fumble, created by a Justin Oxendine tackle for loss of Bryant, and Oxendine's recovery gave the ball back to the Bulldogs with 2:10 left in the first half.
Brandon Eakins took a reverse on the first play of the drive 16 yards, and three plays later Robinson found the end zone for the first time, evening the score at 14-14 going into the half.
A defensive stop to start the second half on a Jeter tackle on a 4th and 1 run by Ricky Fergerson short of the mark gave the ball to the Bulldogs with 8:30 left in the third quarter. Two plays later Dupree found the edge on a quarterback keeper and sprinted 53 yards into the end zone for his second score of the day, giving The Citadel a 21-14 advantage.
After a stalled Mountaineer drive, The Citadel moved the ball to the ASU 16. Warren came on for a 32-yard field goal but a botched hold followed by an incomplete pass by Austin Wiles caused a turnover on down and gave the ball back to the Mountaineers.
After an exchange of punts, the Mountaineers put together a drive that covered 64 yards on seven plays which resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Andrew Peacock to even the score at 21.
Bryant completed 19 of 23 passes for 214 yards and was sacked once by Bay Amrhein, the second of his career. The Bulldog defense accounted for a total of six tackles for loss.
The Citadel hits the road next weekend as it heads to Statesboro, Ga., to take on Georgia Southern for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs topped the then third-ranked Eagles 23-21 on Warren's first career game-winning field, snapping a five-game losing streak to the perennial SoCon power.