The Samford Bulldogs (2-3, 1-2) were defeated by the Mercer Bears (3-2, 2-0) in a tight Southern Conference bout on Saturday by a score of 45-42.
This was the Bulldogs’ second road SoCon game of the year, and they were looking to rebound from a close loss to ETSU last week. This game would have serious implications for the SoCon championship and FCS playoff standings going forward.
As per the usual theme of the Samford offense, quarterback Liam Welch led his team to a halftime lead, 14-10. Both touchdowns came through Welch, as he connected with Montrell Washington in the first quarter and then with a deep bomb to Chandler Smith in the second quarter.
A disastrous third-quarter would be the dagger in the heart of the Bulldogs. The Bears rallied to score 21 points in the quarter, while the Bulldogs somehow put up 14 of their own.
Though the Bulldogs put up two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the defense simply could not stop the Bears’ rushing attack. Led by running back Fred Davis, the Bears scored two touchdowns as well. The final score was 45-42, Mercer.
This was the second game in a row that Samford has allowed over 150 rushing yards to a single running back. Though the Samford defense has significantly improved in defending the pass, defensive coordinator Nick Benedetto certainly has some issues to fix with his front line.
The Bulldogs will have a much needed bye next weekend, followed by a road game against Wofford. That game will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
IMPACT STATS – Samford
QB Liam Welch: 312 YDS, 4 TD, 2 INT
WR Montrell Washington: 65 YDS, 2 REC TD, 1 RUSH TD
LB Noah Martin: 4 SOLO, 2 TFL, 1 FR
IMPACT STATS – Mercer
QB Fred Payton – 161 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT
RB Fred Davis – 278 YDS, 5 TD, 9.9 YDS/CAR
LB Isaac Dowling – 4 SOLO, 5 AST, 2 TFL