Samford Football’s magical season came to a close Friday night, as the Bulldogs fell to North Dakota State at the FargoDome 27-9.
North Dakota State looked and played like the better team, as they dictated the game’s pace and dominated both sides of the ball. The Bison defense stood out in particular, as they held the normally potent Samford offense scoreless for three quarters.
Despite the tough loss, the football program and its rabid fanbase should be proud of their effort this year.
“We’ve had a great season that can’t be taken away from our football team,” said Samford head coach Chris Hatcher. “After having two subpar years leading into this one, we had a great ride. Unfortunately, it ended today. We played a great football team; they are extremely well coached, a very physical team.”
Samford Football had one of the best years in program history, finishing season 11-2. The win total is the second-most in program history, and the 2022 squad also claimed Samford’s first outright SoCon title.
Quincy Crittendon and Michael Hiers both played QB against NDSU. Crittendon started the game, but after a mediocre first half, Hiers was subbed in after halftime. This sub was surprising, as Hiers was dealing with a hand injury that was initially ruled season-ending. However, Hiers threw for 227 yards and a touchdown, giving Samford a spark of hope toward the end of the game.
Chandler Smith ended his senior season with a bang, as he caught six passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Samford’s defense was aggressive and stingy in the first half, as they allowed 10 points and created multiple stops, including a forced fumble by Isaiah Richardson that Samford recovered.
Overall, Samford’s season was one for the ages; the Bulldogs, unfortunately, ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the North Dakota State Bison. The Bison have won 9 of the last 11 FCS Championships, an absurd clip we rarely see in sports. Nevertheless, Chris Hatcher and the Bulldogs will return in the fall of 2023, looking to build on a record season.