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Terriers get little time to enjoy win over Appalachian St.
Wofford set to face The Citadel coming off a monumental comeback
Knocking off third-ranked Appalachian State had Wofford football coach Mike Ayers feeling great Saturday for about three hours.
That’s when The Citadel, this week’s road opponent for the Terriers, finished storming back from 27-0 down in the second half for a remarkable 28-27 win against a Chattanooga team that had held Appalachian without an offensive touchdown the previous week.
Ayers’ mood changed dramatically.
“Yes,” he said. “Yes, it did.”
Wofford at The Citadel
1 p.m. Saturday, Johnson-Hagood Stadium, Charleston, 1400 AM, 97.1 FM
Series: The Citadel leads all-time, 40-22-1, beginning with a 37-0 win in 1916. Wofford lost the first two meetings in the Southern Conference, 1997 and 1998, but has won 12 straight since then. Last year at Gibbs Stadium, it was 35-0.
The Citadel went on the road against a nationally ranked team, top 15 in a Football Championship Subdivision poll, fell behind by four touchdowns and won the game.
“Our kids played an awful first half and came back in the second half and played extremely well,” The Citadel head coach Kevin Higgins said. “We had a momentum shift because we made some plays. We were able to get it done in the second half with a great comeback. It was a great experience for our players, a great win for us in a Southern Conference game on the road.”
Wofford (3-1, 2-0 Southern Conference) rose to No. 4 nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches’ poll and No. 6 in The Sports Network voting of media members and sports information directors.
Ayers hadn’t even left campus following the big win against Appalachian State when he found out the next one just got much tougher. The Citadel (2-2, 1-2) had pulled off a shocker.
“Momentum swung in that ball game and it never came back,” Ayers said. “The Citadel got a spark and all of the sudden it was like a forest fire for Chattanooga and they couldn’t put it out.
“That just shows you the character and the toughest of their team. For most people, when you get down like that, it’s take a knee, save the equipment and let’s back the bags. But to their credit, they kept fighting.”
“They overcame,” Wofford defensive line coach Jack Teachey said. “They hung in there and kept fighting. You’ve got to tip your hat to them. Those rascals did a pretty unbelievable job in an adverse situation. The coaching staff at The Citadel is too good and the kids have too much character to give up in a situation like that. They got a little momentum and got it rolling. They kept grinding and then they were back in it.”
Higgins said he expects the comeback to have a positive effect on the season going forward, beginning Saturday against the Terriers.
“Certainly, you hope your kids will garner a lot more confidence and belief in themselves,” Higgins said. “When we get down again this season, it’s something you can look back on and say you’re down, but you can come back. You’ve done that already. … You want them to experience that confidence and the ability to win. Just to be able to do that will help.”