The Citadel Poses a Scare

In the year of the I-AA upsets, Citadel possesses the necessary offensive weapons to make Wisconsin Big Ten victim number two.

MADISON – When asked to give a scouting report of their third opponent in 2007 on Tuesday, senior kicker Taylor Mehlhaff didn't know specifics, but he did raise his eyebrows.

"Any team that wins 76-0 is doing something right," Mehlhaff said. "I don't care what level they're playing on or who they play against. That's an impressive number."

In a year of the I-AA upsets, the Citadel hopes to score another upset for the Southern Conference against the Big Ten when the Bulldogs travel to Madison for an 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday.

The Citadel (2-0) comes into Madison with the same M.O. as Wisconsin's last two opponents, spread the opponent from sideline to sideline and attack with a dual-threat quarterback. So far this season, the Bulldogs have found success with their spread-option offense, an offense comparable to the one Appalachian State used to upset the Wolverines.

Last week, The Citadel rolled up 514 total yards in its 76-0 pounding of Webber International - its highest point total since scoring 99 against Porter Military Academy in 1909. After beating Charleston Southern to open the season, the Bulldogs are off to their best start since 1997 and haven't gone 3-0 for the first time since in 1992.

"The Citadel brings in a great club, have won six out of their last seven, their only loss being to [Appalachian State] and a good quarterback who's a senior starter," head coach Bret Bielema said. "With an enrollment that the Citadel has, their players play very disciplined."

That discipline comes from the senior quarterback the Citadel has in the huddle.

Senior quarterback Duran Lawson is another duo-threat quarterback that can throw accurately and pick his spots to run. Last week, Lawson completed 12-of-21 passes for 220 yards and a career-high tying three touchdowns, while running for another. So far in 2007, Lawson has completed 62 percent of his passes for an average of 222.0 yards per game and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

With a potent pass offense, the Bulldogs have to have players who can catch the ball. Luckily for them, the Citadel has four players that are averaging 11.8 yards per reception or better this season. The key player of the receiving core being sophomore Andre Roberts, who is averaging 16.2 yards per catch, finding the end zone four times.

The Citadel isn't all passing, as they have a hard-nosed senior running back in Tory Cooper. Cooper is having a solid start to his season, averaging 113.0 rushing yards per game (5.3 yards per carry) and has broken the 100-yard rushing mark in four consecutive games dating to last season.

The Citadel will be a tough test for a Wisconsin defense that has allowed its first two opponents, Washington State and UNLV, to gain at least 300 yards.

Don't forget about the Citadel defense either, a group that has given up only 62 total rushing yards this year; 12th fewest among both football divisions.

"They're very aggressive, hard-nosed players and they're definitely buying into what the coaches are telling them over the last three years and appear to be a very good football team," Bielema said of the Bulldogs.

Although they are in the same conference as Cinderella Appalachian State, the Citadel isn't on the same tier. Picked to finish fifth in its conference, The Citadel lost to Appalachian State by 42-13 last season and by 45-13 in 2005.

Since the start of 2005, the Bulldogs are 3-9 away from Charleston, South Carolina.

Over the last five years, the Citadel has played a team from every BCS conference (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10 and SEC) and the results haven't been pretty. Losing by an average of 32.8 points in their six games against teams from those conferences, the most points Citadel ever scored was 10, at Duke and at Florida State.

"They're a team that you can't look past," quarterback Tyler Donovan said. "It's going to be another situation for this offense to grow. We need to grow within ourselves as a team and get back to the X's and O's. We need to worry about Wisconsin football and keep our 1-0 mentality and come out ready to play on Saturday."

The Citadel at. No.7 Wisconsin

Date/Time - Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11:00 a.m CDT

Stadium – Camp Randall (TurfTech / 80,321)

Television - Big Ten Network (Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Charissa Thompson)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas)

Series - First Meeting


Wisconsin has won 11 consecutive games, which is the longest active winning streak in the nation. Wisconsin's longest winning streak is 17 games from 1900-02 … This will UW's first-ever game against a school from South Carolina … This will be the first game against a school with military times for Wisconsin since they beat Air Force 38-0 in September 1979

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