Samford’s football team got revenge on the ETSU Buccaneers last week after a deflating loss in overtime against them last year. With quarterback Michael Hiers leading a team that is ranked 13th in the FCS and has matched the best start in the Chris Hatcher era with a 6-1 record, this Samford team has a newfound confidence. The team is not only contending for a SoCon Championship but is also projected to make it to the FCS Playoffs.
The Bulldogs defeated ETSU on the road in a 55-45 shootout. The point total was a season-best for Samford, as were the 609 yards of total offense. Hiers was on fire, as the quarterback went 45-51, throwing for 442 yards and four touchdowns. Hiers also made plays with his legs, running for 50 yards and a score.
“We were just rolling, which is our goal with the up-tempo, and they kept it close, which is why you saw me pass it 51 times,” Hiers said.
Hiers’s output was incredible, and he averages around 25 pass attempts a game.
While this was an offensive slugfest, Samford’s defense also made key plays to help the team win. They had a big stop going into halftime, allowing Samford to get a late first-half score. The defense also caused three turnovers and two fumbles, and a late interception by Brayden Devault-Smith sealed the game.
On the offensive side, the stars came to play, as running back Jay Stanton rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Kendall Watson had 11 receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown.
On the team as a whole, Hiers said, “We’ve had some good performances, but we haven’t been consistent through the whole game, but we were consistent all four quarters almost every drive.”
Samford’s consistency and talent are being recognized both on the SoCon and national stages. Hiers, the reigning SoCon Offensive Player of the Month, was named the FCS National Offensive Player of the Week and the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week after his stellar game against ETSU, and Zach Williams was awarded SoCon Special Teams Player of the Week after netting 13 points against the Buccaneers.
Samford football is on an unprecedented streak, with their lone loss this season coming to the Georgia Bulldogs, a national powerhouse and the defending FBS national champions. With Hiers proving to be one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS, a high-powered offense, and an opportunistic defense, the Bulldogs expect to contend on the national level and add to Chris Hatcher’s historic tenure with the team.
NOTE: This article was written before the outcome of the Samford-Citadel game on Oct. 29. Records and stats may have changed.