By: Anna Hope Bigham, Bulldog Blitz
Birmingham, Ala.— Last Saturday, the Samford Bulldogs met the Georgia Dawgs face-to-face in Sanford Stadium. This was the first home game for Georgia, coming off a brutal defeat of Oregon. It was the first away game for Samford after beating Kennesaw State in week one.
Many wondered why Samford agreed to show up to the seemingly obvious blowout game. This game did not seem like a manageable task for many; however, the Dawgs only beat Samford 33-0. Keep in mind they beat Oregon 49-3, which means the Bulldogs gave up fewer points to Georgia than the Ducks. Georgia is also ranked number one in college football and only scored 33 points against Samford’s defensive line.
Reasons for Playing the Dawgs
There is a heavy concern for teams like Samford when they enter games with heavily-funded, well-recruited state schools. Although it seems tortuous, these games benefit smaller schools, as well as players at lower levels. Funding is a large reason for playing these games. Samford received $500 thousand to play the Georgia Bulldogs, so some may say their trip to Athens was worth it.
It is also important for players to have exposure to challenging teams. Overcoming such adversity allows them to improve their skills and become better athletes, according to coaches. These more challenging matchups may help players move up, transfer to larger schools, or give some the chance to play professionally after college.
David Coleman, a free safety on the Samford football team, said: “I thought it went really good overall. It was awesome to experience a game at that high of a level, and the atmosphere was crazy. It almost didn’t feel real at times, but I felt like we played pretty good, considering they’re the top team in the entire nation. Definitely something I’ll remember forever.”
Road to Recovery
The recovery and improvement teams receive from games, like the one against Samford v. Georgia, is vital to the teams’ programs.
Wade White, a safety for the Bulldogs, said: “After the loss to UGA, we have become a more complete team than before; we are starting to find our identity on both offense and defense. We learned that we can compete at any level as long as we keep being physical on defense, airing it out on offense, and establish a solid running game. I wouldn’t say we are recovering, but we are improving to be champions at the end of the season.” David Coleman agrees: “I mean coming off the loss is weird cause you never want to be satisfied with a loss; however, this was the best team in the entire country, and I felt like we held our own pretty good, so that was encouraging for everybody.”
Moving forward, they’re optimistic and growing after the Georgia defeat. And that attitude seems to be paying off. After coming off their defeat in Athens, the Samford Bulldogs went on to beat Tennesee Tech 33-28.