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HTS 2019: The Citadel

Gonna be real honest, this is the first one I’ve had to write totally from scratch this year.

Citadel at South Carolina
This is not the game The Citadel won, sadly.
Gerry Melendez/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

And we’re back! For all of you who were clamoring for a new Rearview Mirror yesterday, well, let’s just say I was unable to write it. And leave it at that. Long story, not gonna re-hash it here. Feel free to hit me up if you want a sneak preview for when it finally hits next week. You can find me @akeaswaran on the Twitters. Just kidding, you know where to find me. Anyways, we’ve got a nice little history with The Citadel, so it’ll be interesting to see them back on the Flats on Saturday.

The Citadel Bulldogs

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Southern Conference (1936 - present)
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina
  • All-time Record: 508–559–32 (.477)
  • Home Stadium: Johnson Hagood Stadium (Capacity: 21,000)
  • FCS National Championships: N/A
  • FCS Playoff Appearances: 1988, 1990, 1992, 2015, 2016
  • Conference Championships: 1961, 1992, 2015, 2016
  • Division Championships: N/A
  • 2018 Season Record: 5 - 6 (4 - 4 SoCon)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 10-0-0 (1.000)
  • Recent Meetings:
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (.000)
  • Tech record against The Citadel in this week’s venue: 10-0-0 (1.000)

2019 Football Schedule:

2019 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
August 29 8:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Clemson (1) Atlantic Coast 51-32-2 Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC 14 - 52 L Rivalry 79,118
September 7 2:00 p.m. (ACCN) South Florida American Athletic 1-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 14 - 10 W Group of Five, Whiteout 46,599
September 14 12:30 p.m. (ACCRSN) The Citadel SoCon 10-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 24 - 27 L (OT) FCS 42,871
September 28 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN) @ Temple American Athletic 0-1-0 Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 2 - 24 L First Meeting, Group of Five 31,094
October 5 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-22-3 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 22 - 38 L Family Weekend, Hall of Fame Game 45,044
October 12 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC 23 - 41 L 21,741
October 19 12:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 28 - 21 W (OT) "54,106"
November 2 4:00 p.m. (ACCNX) Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 10 - 20 L Homecoming 41,219
November 9 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-20-1 Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA 28 - 33 L 44,596
November 16 3:30 p.m. (ACCNX) Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast 7-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 45 L Rivalry, Heroes Day 43,263
November 21 8:00 p.m. (ESPN) NC State Atlantic Coast 19-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 28 - 26 W 38,198
November 30 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Georgia Southeastern 44-68-5 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 0 TBD Rivalry, Senior Day, Toy Drive
2019 Football Schedule Jake Grant

A Long History of...Well, We’ve Never Lost

Unfortunately, the list of historical resources for historic, but smaller schools like The Citadel runs a bit thinner than your run-of-the-mill FBS schools. That said, we still know a fair bit about them, and Tech and The Citadel have played double-digit games over the span of more than a century. The first season for the boys in various shades of blue took place in 1905, at least according to their list of seasons on the worldwide leader in lists of things, Wikipedia. Being a small, Southern military school, they were fine athletes, but their record against schools like Tech, let alone Clemson and South Carolina, belies the fairly substantial disadvantage they’ve pretty much always had when playing the big schools. Their all-time record against Clemson sits at 5-32 and change, with no victories since 1932. Against the Gamecocks, their 8-40 record, ties notwithstanding, might ring a little bit more true, since they pulled the upset four years ago in Columbia. Anyways, The Citadel joined their first conference in 1908, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. This was a massive, lumbering beast of a conference that, at the time included pretty much everyone who was anyone in the Southeast. It was in this time that they would play Tech for the first time, in 1912 and 1913. They stuck around the SIAA once all the big boys left to form the Southern Conference, which they would go on to join in 1936, once the larger schools again moved on to form the Southeastern Conference. The rest of the large schools would eventually leave the SoCon to form the other large sports agglomeration on the Atlantic Seaboard, the ACC, in the early 1950s. Thus, their first conference championship didn’t come until the 1960 season. They would advance to the Tangerine Bowl to play Tennessee Tech that year, their only bowl appearance to date. Now firmly an FCS school, their five trips to the postseason since have all been to the playoffs, where they sport a 2-5 record and most recently accrued back to back appearances - and conference titles - in 2015 and 2016. Their most recent visit to the Flats came in 2001, with the previous one, 1987, being one of two bleak wins in a dour 1987 season. Hopefully this year looks more like the former than the latter for the Jackets. I like winning bowl games.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a look at it since May 2018 over at Rearview Mirror. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythic origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also how Tech got its colors. Apparently gold is a color for cowards, if the residents of Athens are to be trusted. Tech was pitiful, to put it nicely, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he dramatically left town as part of his divorce. The old man was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his team’s strong academics and his own 1928 national championship.

Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protegé, Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more. What’s more, Dodd and Institute president Edwin Harrison had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for football principles, but its intrinsic academic ideals as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in the dream of a “Notre Dame of the South” status.

Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets from the utter depths of football irrelevance to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. It is hard to overstate just how terrible Tech was at its nadir. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jackets have an all-time record of 737-503-43.

Tomorrow, the Jackets face off against the Bulldogs (10-0-0 all time) in the home opener back on the Flats at 12:30 pm. The game will once again be shown on the ACCNX and Fox Sports South locally and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network, featuring the voice of the Yellow Jackets, Andy Demetra, as always.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!