Bulldogs pick up 6th season win against Mercer

COURTESY OF BILL DORTSEN

 

Coming off of a disappointing loss to the Chattanooga Mocs at home on Oct. 28, Samford was looking to get back on track as they headed down to Macon, Georgia, this past weekend to play a tough conference opponent, the Mercer Bears. Samford’s defense had arguably their best performance of the season, as they held the Bears’ offense to only three points and total of 191 yards on the day.

Samford’s offense had a very productive day moving the ball, as junior quarterback Devlin Hodges completed 36 of his 49 pass attempts for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Hodges also lead the way for the Bulldogs in the ground game with 10 carries for 39 yards.

Junior running back Roland Adams added 11 carries for 39 yards on the day. In the receiving game for Samford, freshman receiver Montrell Washington caught seven passes for 86 yards for his best performance of the season, while sophomore receiver Chris Shelling hauled in nine receptions for 73 yards to go along with two touchdowns.

Mercer was able to put points on the scoreboard first, as junior place kicker Cole Fisher kicked a 36-yard field goal to put the Bears up 3-0 with 12:04 left to go in the second quarter. Samford then tied the score at 3-3 when sophomore place kicker Jordan Weaver put a 21 yard field goal through the uprights with 4:24 left to go before halftime. The Bulldogs were able to get a late score right before the end of the first half, as Hodges found Chris Shelling for a six-yard touchdown throw. This gave Samford the lead 10-3 with 33 seconds left before the teams went into the locker room for halftime.

In the second half, Samford dominated on both sides of the ball, as they had been doing for most of, if not all the game. Samford’s strong defensive effort on the day was led by junior linebacker Aaron Davis who had 13 tackles on the day.

“We came to play,” linebacker Davis said. “It just feels real good especially coming off that loss (to Chattanooga). (We) just focused on what we had to do and doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.”

Senior linebacker Shaheed Salmon also provided a good showing with a 10-tackle performance. The Bulldogs’ defense was also able to muster up, not one, but two team safeties against the Bears’ offense on the day.

In the third quarter, Hodges was able to find Shelling for a touchdown throw again, this time for a 16-yard score in the back of the end zone. This gave Samford the lead 16-3 with 8:32 left to go in the third quarter. A bad snap by Mercer’s center, causing the football to go out of the back of the end zone, gave Samford the lead 18-3 with 4:09 to play in the third quarter. Samford’s second safety of the day was forced by freshman defensive end Brett Granger, who sacked the Bears’ redshirt freshman quarterback Kaelan Riley in the end zone to give the Bulldogs the lead 20-3 with 2:37 left to play in the game.

That would be the score as the clock hit triple zeros, giving the Bulldogs their sixth win of the season-their fourth in conference play (6-3, 4-2 SoCon). With the loss, Mercer fell to 4-5, 3-4 SoCon. Head coach Chris Hatcher said he was very pleased with how his team played.

“I’m really proud of all three phases,” Hatcher said. “We played good. We had a great week of preparation and they trusted the process and we came out of here with a hard-fought victory on the road in the Southern conference which is always very difficult.”

Samford will be back in action this upcoming weekend for homecoming to take on the East Tennessee State University Bucs. The game will be played in Seibert Stadium and is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Collin Reese, Staff Writer

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