After a 4OT victory over The Citadel at home on Saturday, Samford will look to extend their winning streak to three games.
In Saturday’s victory, the Bulldogs were led by junior quarterback Liam Welch. Welch entered the game for the first time in the second half and threw three passing touchdowns and scored the game winning rushing touchdown.
It will be interesting to see who Coach Hatcher decides to give the start at quarterback on Saturday, as a season-long battle has ensued between Welch and South Florida transfer Chris Oladokun.
Oladokun has previously been selected as SoCon Offensive MVP two times. Up to this point in the season, he has thrown for 1,156 yards and 11 TDs with four interceptions. He has appeared in four games for the Bulldogs this year.
In comparison, Welch has played in two games and has passed for 336 yards and four TDs with four interceptions. Welch entered the season as the starting quarterback, but he was replaced by Oladokun midway through the second half of the Youngstown State game.
The Furman Paladins enter Saturday’s contest with a 3-2 (2-0 SoCon) record. In perhaps the biggest game of their season, they blew a 14-3 halftime lead over Virginia Tech, eventually losing by seven in Blacksburg.
In their most recent contest, the Paladins emerged victorious over East Tennessee State in a 17-10 game.
Offensively, Furman is led by quarterback Darren Grainger, who has passed for seven touchdowns with two interceptions along the way.
Defensively, Furman is led by lineback Jordan Willis. The St. Augustine, Florida native has 20 tackles on the year. Safety DiMarcus Clay has the team lead in interceptions with two.
A placekicker battle between Samford’s Mitchell Fineran and Furman’s Grayson Atkins will also be interesting to keep an eye on Saturday. Fineran is a perfect seven for seven while Atkins is a perfect four for four. Fineran’s longest field goal this season has come from 40 yards out, while Atkins nailed a 41-yard field goal earlier this season.
Furman relies heavily on stout defensive play, so it should be interesting how they go up against Samford’s overpowering, fast-paced offensive scheme.
If the Bulldogs win on Saturday, they will move to 4-2 overall (3-0 SoCon) and tied for the conference lead.
Saturday’s contest has a start time set for 2 p.m. at Seibert Stadium in Birmingham. The game can be streamed live on ESPN+.
Gunnar Sadowey is the sports editor for the Crimson. He is a junior journalism and mass communications major.