This past Saturday, the Samford Bulldogs took on conference rival The Citadel in a game played in Charleston, South Carolina. After Samford jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, The Citadel was able to use an enormous second-half comeback to secure the win by a final score of 42-27.
Samford scored on its first two drives of the game to take a 14-0 lead. They added another touchdown early in the second quarter to stretch the lead to 21-0 with 12:48 left to go before halftime. The Citadel finally got on the scoreboard late in the quarter to lessen Samford’s lead, making it a 21-7 game. Samford freshman kicker Mitchell Finneran connected on a 22-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining in the half to set the score at 24-7 heading into halftime.
The second half seemed to be dominated by The Citadel’s offense, in particular their running game. The Bulldogs from Charleston scored five rushing touchdowns in the second half, while only allowing a Samford field goal in the third quarter. The Citadel’s offense was able to amass 344 yards rushing, five rushing touchdowns, and a time of possession of 35:44, all of which were keys in their massive second-half comeback.
A big key in the win for The Citadel was sophomore quarter Brandon Rainey who amassed for 205 rushing yards and a touchdown as well another 88 yards and a touchdown in the air.
“It’s a very tough pill to swallow,” said head coach Chris Hatcher in a interview with Samford Athletics. “Defensively I thought we gave up too many big plays in the second half and they got the momentum and we couldn’t recapture (it). It’s very disappointing but I am very proud of our team.”
For Samford, senior signal-caller Devlin Hodges completed 43 of his 69 pass attempts for 404 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 57 yards on the ground. Hodges became the SoCon’s all time leader in pass attempts with 1,848, as well as the conference’s all time leader in total offense with 15,181 yards in his career. Hodges is now also only 317 yards shy of being the all time leading passer in FCS history. His 14,180 put him in second place behind only Steve McNair.
In the receiving game for Samford, senior receiver Kelvin McKnight caught 12 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was the 32nd of his career, which set a new school record for career touchdown receptions previously held by Karel Hamilton who had 31.
Receivers Chris Shelling and Yassar El-Amin also had good showings against The Citadel as Shelling had eight receptions for 82 yards and El-Amin with 7 receptions for 63 yards.
The loss puts Samford’s record at 5-5 (4-3 SoCon) for the season, while The Citadel improves to 4-5 (4-4 SoCon) on the season.
Samford will next be in action for their last game of the season this Saturday, Nov. 17, as they take on the East Tennessee State Bucs in Johnson City, Tennessee. A win against ETSU would give Samford its eighth-straight winning season. The game is set for a 12 p.m. (CST) kickoff and will be broadcast on ESPN3.