The Samford Bulldogs (5-4) took down the eighth ranked Wofford Terriers (6-3) last Saturday by a score of 35-20. This win was the Bulldogs’ fourth-straight victory after starting off the season 1-4.
Senior quarterback Devlin Hodges put on a show against the Terriers. He was 29-42 for 399 yards with four touchdown passes and one interception. He also ran for 29 yards and one touchdown. This homecoming matchup happened to fall on senior night. It was a very emotional night for some senior players, but not for fifth-year senior Hodges, who might have just played his last game in Seibert Stadium.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet,” Hodges said after possibly playing his last game at home. “Hopefully we win out, and coach said he put in a bid to play one more home game. But I just tried to think of it as any other game, but this is definitely a very special win.”
The Bulldog defense held Wofford to 146 passing yards and no touchdowns thrown by quarterbacks Joe Newman and Miller Mosley. Wofford was able to rush for 179 yards against Samford. The 20 points given up by the Bulldog defense was the least amount of points that they yielded to any SoCon team this year.
The Bulldogs started off the season 1-4, and playoff hopes seemed dim for head coach Chris Hatcher and his team. With this win over the Terriers, the Bulldogs’ playoff bid seems much more attainable. Coach Hatcher credits the Bulldogs’ recent success to utilizing their identity and playing style.
“I think we kind of found out who we are, and that’s to play up-tempo offense, and being ultra aggressive on defense,” Hatcher said. “We struggled, but our guys continued to trust the process and work hard, and now things are starting to really turn around for us. So figuring who we are and playing with great energy and excitement each and every Saturday has been the difference.”
There is no doubt that the Samford offense has been centered around Hodges, and when Hodges is clicking, so is the rest of the team. In the last four games, he has thrown for an average of 459 yards per game, compared to an average of 324 yards per game in the first five games of the season. The Bulldog offensive line must continue to protect Hodges and allow him to find one of his many talented receivers. As for Hodges, he must continue to find his top targets and keep the interceptions to a minimum.
The Citadel Bulldogs (3-5) are the first of the two remaining teams that Samford must defeat in order to make the playoffs. The Citadel is a run-heavy offense, a complete contrast to the Samford offense led by Hodges. If Samford can keep the Citadel’s run game controlled, then Hodges should have a great opportunity to pick apart yet another SoCon defense. The Citadel is beyond hungry for a win on Saturday. It will be their homecoming game, and on top of that, they have yet to win a home game this season. If the Bulldogs take down the Citadel this Saturday, then they must defeat ETSU the following week to capture a playoff bid.
The Bulldogs’ game against the Citadel will be this Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. in Charleston, South Carolina. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Carson Caulfield, Sports Writer