The Samford Bulldogs took down the Chattanooga Mocs 35-24 on Nov. 12 to secure their spot in the FCS playoffs and their first SoCon Championship since 2013.
With the win, Samford moved to 9-1 for the year, as their only loss came on the road to Georgia, an FBS powerhouse and the reigning national champions. The season for Samford has been historic, as the team has the most conference wins (seven) and the longest winning streak (eight games) in program history.
The Bulldogs were again led by the stellar play of their quarterback, Michael Hiers. The junior signal-caller threw 353 yards and four touchdowns against Chattanooga. With the fantastic performance, Hiers was awarded SoCon Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time this season.
Hiers said, “It is definitely big because it hasn’t happened in a while, but more importantly, we have a big game this weekend because I do not want to share a SoCon title.”
This weekend’s game against the Mercer Bears might be Samford’s most crucial game to date. If they win, the Bulldogs will claim the SoCon Title outright and clinch a first-round bye in the FCS Playoffs. Furthermore, with a win over Mercer, Samford will host an FCS Playoff game in Birmingham. Playoff predictions currently have Samford hosting the winner of Furman and Elon.
To clinch a 10-1 record, the Bulldogs must have a balanced effort from both sides of the ball. While Samford’s offense has been incredible, the Bulldogs’ defense will likely be the x-factor for the team. Noah Martin and Isaiah Richardson have been the leaders on the defensive side of the ball, as Martin leads the team with 71 tackles, and Richardson has two interceptions. As a team, Samford ranks fourth in scoring defense and sixth in total defense. If the Bulldogs want to make a deep run in the FCS Playoffs, their defense will need to be on pace with the nearly impeccable play of their offense.
NOTE: This article was written before the Samford-Mercer game on Saturday, Nov. 19. Statistics and records may have changed.