Bulldogs win third in a row; defeat Elon in shootout

Sophomore running back Fabian Truss rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns against Elon. Truss was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Week.

Cornerback Corey White was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Elon.

Allison Hubbard
Sports Writer

The Samford football team earned its third straight win on Saturday, defeating Elon 43-31 at Seibert Stadium. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 4-2 on the season, and 2-2 in conference play, while Elon falls to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the SoCon.

It became a game of turnovers and Samford head coach Pat Sullivan knew that the Bulldogs had to play hard through the fourth quarter to win the game.

“This was a dog fight,” Sullivan said. “They are a good football team and we knew that going in. Our guys hung in there, and when they could have folded, they bowed up and that is something we are starting to learn to do. If we

can continue to do that, it will give us the chance to continue to have these kinds of wins.”

On offense, senior quarterback Dustin Taliaferro, completed 16-of-21 passes for 115 yards. Sophomore Fabian Truss had a career-high 191 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Truss was also named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week.

Rhett Lashlee, Samford’s offensive coordinator, was impressed with Truss’ performance.

“Fabian had a great performance and gave a tough effort,” Lashlee said. “He’ll be the first to tell you that he had great blockers who gave him good opportunities, but he took advantage of those opportunities, finished and did his job well.”

“It feels really great,” Truss said, “but even greater knowing that we played as a team to get the win. I believe the win is far greater than any career-high, especially seeing all my teammates happy and all working towards one goal.”

On defense, senior safety Corey White led the Bulldogs with 12 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. White was this week’s SoCon Defensive Player of the Week.

Samford also caused three additional Elon fumbles in the game off of hits from junior linebackers Darion Sutton and Keith Shoulders as well as senior defensive back Omar Johnson.

The Bulldogs jumped out with the lead on the opening drive off of a 21-yard field goal from junior placekicker Cameron Yaw, and widened the gap when junior Jonathan Sillers scored off of a two-yard run that capped an 80-yard Samford drive on their second possession.

On their first possession of the second quarter, Elon found the end zone to narrow the gap to 10-7, but Samford answered with a 64-yard touchdown run from Truss on their next drive.

Samford pulled ahead 24-7 when sophomore Kelsey Pope scored off of a 14-yard run, but Elon quickly answered with a five-yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-14 and added another three points with a field goal just before the end of the half.

Samford recovered an Elon fumble on their opening drive of the second half. Truss added a Samford touchdown off of a three-yard run, which gave the Bulldogs a 31-17 lead and Samford never looked back.

Elon’s second drive of the third quarter was no better. Shoulders picked off an Elon pass, which led to a 29-yard field goal from Yaw to put the score at 34-17.

Samford’s Michael Prendergast, a junior linebacker, recovered an Elon fumble on the following punt and managed to set the Bulldogs up on the Phoenix one-yard line. However, Samford was unable to capitalize and had to settle for a field goal, extending the lead to 20 points.

Just as Samford appeared to have run away with the game, Elon blocked and recovered a Samford punt for a touchdown to make the score 37-24, and the Phoenix scored again at the end of the third quarter to cut the lead to 37-31.

“Towards the end of the game, Elon seemed to have had the momentum,” Truss said. “When Darion Sutton stepped up and made a big interception for us defensively, the momentum was shifted and the offense knew that it was our turn to play our part, which was to finish.”

In the fourth quarter, Truss scored his final touchdown of the game, a one-yard run that put away Elon 43-31.

Samford must now prepare for their matchup against the seventh- ranked Appalachian State Mountaineers on Oct. 2 at 2:30 pm CST in Boone, N.C.

“We are going to treat them the same way we treat every other team,” Sutton said. “Yes, they are a talented team, but in the SoCon we face talented teams every week. A win against Appalachian State would be great for us.”

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