Samford Football finished its regular season with a double-overtime win against Mercer on Saturday, Nov. 19, giving the Bulldogs their first outright SoCon title and the sixth overall seed in the FCS playoffs. This Saturday, Dec. 3, the Bulldogs will play Southeastern Louisiana University in the first ever playoff game held at Seibert Stadium.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs have been recognized for various awards nationally and in the SoCon. Head Coach Chris Hatcher is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, awarded to the Coach of the Year in the FCS. Hatcher was also unanimously voted SoCon Coach of the Year.
Quarterback Michael Hiers said, “He is very deserving of that; I definitely think he should win the coach of the year.”
Hatcher has had his best season at Samford by far, leading the team to a 10-1 record, their first outright SoCon title, and passing Pat Sullivan for all-time wins.
Hiers was unanimously named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Walter Payton Award. This award is the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, as it is awarded to the best offensive player in the FCS. Hiers, the two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Month, threw for 3,290 yards and 35 touchdowns and ran for 161 yards and three scores. The junior ranks Top 10 nationally in completions per game, passing efficiency, passing touchdowns, passing yards
, and total offense.
11 Bulldogs received All-SoCon honors, including star receivers Chandler Smith and Kendall Watson and defensive stalwarts Nathan East and Hakeem Johnson. But, despite all the success, the Bulldogs aren’t resting on their laurels.
“Everyone is going to have to play their game if we are going to win,” Hiers said.
The Bulldogs will likely need maximum effort from their stars, including Hiers, who is coming off of an undisclosed injury from the Mercer game. Southeastern Louisiana has a high-powered offense, so a shootout may be in the cards this Saturday at Seibert Stadium.