Monday, October 19, 2015

Game #7: Samford Bulldogs

For the seventh game of the season, the Catamounts return to Cullowhee to meet the Samford Bulldogs on  Homecoming weekend for the Catamounts.

The Bulldogs visit Western after losing three of their last four games, and are coming off an embarrassing 25-44 loss to the Citadel in Birmingham last Saturday.

The Cats are 1-11 overall against the Bulldogs since winning the first outing back in 1969, but Samford owns an eleven game winning streak against Western and the Cats are 0-5 in games played in Cullowhee against Samford. Since they joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 0-7 against the Bulldogs. This is the first time the Bulldogs have traveled to Cullowhee since 2012, as the two teams played at Seibert Stadium the last two years due to conference realignments.


Where : E.J. Whitmire Stadium. Cullowhee, NC
Radio : Catamount Sports Network
TV / video:   SoCon Digital Network
Game Notes:      Western Carolina        -          Samford

Head Coach: Chris Hatcher
Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. His career record is 121-57 in 15 years as a college head coach at Murray State, Georgia Southern and Valdosta State. Hatcher served as the head coach at Murray State since 2010.and had five seasons with the Racers, Hatcher’s teams employed the high-powered “Hatch Attack” offense to top the Division I-FCS football charts. In 2014, the Racers ranked second in the nation in passing offense, averaging 327.2 yards per game. The team also ranked 15th in total offense at 468.3 yards per contest.

Last year’s record (Samford):  7-4 overall (home 5-1, road 2-3), 5-2 SoCon

Last Season's Game vs. Samford (Nov 8, 2014): Strong First Half Leads Samford Past Western Carolina, 34-20  -  Samford's Denzel Williams scored two touchdowns on the ground as a part of a 156-yard rushing performance and quarterback Michael Eubank tossed a pair of first half touchdown passes as the Bulldogs rode a 28-point outburst in the opening half to a 34-20 victory over Western Carolina in Southern Conference action at Seibert Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3  - The Bulldogs lost the following starters: left guard Kyle Champion, center Jordan Boatright, and wide receiver Kelvin Clay to graduation.
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 7 / 4  - On defense, the Bulldogs lost starters Brinson Porter, NG Jerry Mathis, DE Brandon Wilkinson, and safety Jaquiski Tart to graduation
Specialist - Returning/Lost: 3  / 4 - The Bulldogs lose punter Greg Peranich, kickoff  Michael O'Neal, punt returner Robert Clark, to graduation
Offensive Formation: Multiple  (Is the "Hatch Attack" gone?)  "I had to kind of change my thinking a little bit to try and keep the continuity as close to what it was last year as possible," Hatcher said. "There weren't many adjustments, many modifications. It was me that learned."
Defensive Formation: 4-3

The Bulldog offense returned a trio of playmakers from 2014 in dual-threat quarterback Michael Eubank, along with his top target Karel Hamilton and the workhorse running back Denzel Williams, Collectively, these three accounted for 34 of the team's 44 touchdowns last season. "We want to be up-tempo, want to get the ball in space to people who can make big plays, who know how to score,"

In the preseason SoCon polls, the coaches picked Samford to finish second and the Southern Conference Sports Media Association (SCSMA) picked Samford to come in third.

Samford senior defensive lineman Michael Pierce was named the Southern Conference's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year when the league released its preseason awards at the SoCon's annual Media Day Wednesday. A total of nine Samford players were named to the All-Conference teams. Pierce was joined on the first team by running back Denzel Williams, offensive lineman Gunnar Bromelow, wide receiver Karel Hamilton, linebacker Justin Cooper and defensive back James Bradberry. Samford's second team representatives were Tony Philpot, Alec Hulmes and Jamerson Blount.

2015 Samford Statistics (YTD - 6 games):
Rushing Offense: 874 yards
Yards per game: 146
Yards per rush: 4.0 yards
TDs rushing: 12
Passing Offense: 1935 yards  or 323 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 167-241-8
Total Offense: 2809 yards or 468 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 78
Rushing 1st downs: 51
Fumbles-Lost: 19 - 6
Penalties-Yards: 30 - 273 yards
3d Down Conversions: 44 of 90
4th Down Conversions: 2 of 6
Red-Zone Scores: 17 of 20 (85%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 11 of 20 (55%)
Punts (No. Yards): 30 (1283 yds)
Avg, per punt: 42.8 yds

Who has the Bulldogs played prior to Western?  

This season, the Bulldogs are 3-3 overall, and 1-2 in the SoCon.  They are 2-2 at home, and 1-1 on the road.

First up was Central Arkansas. Samford opened the 2015 season and the Chris Hatcher era with a 45-16 win over the Bears. Samford quarterback Michael Eubank completed 21-of-37 passes for a career-high 372 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Eubank completed touchdown throws of 66, 55, 35 and 16 yards in the contest.

Next, the Bulldogs welcomed Florida A&M to Birmingham. Samford rolled up a school-record 752 yards of total offense on its way to a 58-21 win over A&M  at Seibert Stadium. With the win, Samford improved to 2-0 on the season..Michael Eubank completed 24-of-32 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Karel Hamilton caught eight passes for 104 yards. Denzel Williams rushed 11 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, while K'rondis Larry had 16 rushes for 98 yards and a score.

In game three, the Bulldogs opened their SoCon schedule against Chattanooga, again in Birmingham. The Bulldogs dropped their first game of the season in the 31-21 decision to 10th-ranked Chattanooga in the Southern Conference opener for both teams. Chattanooga was led by quarterback Jacob Huesman, who rushed 23 times for 150 yards and a touchdown, and he completed 14-of-23 passes for 181 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. C.J. Board caught six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

The next weekend, the Bulldogs traveled to Louisville, where they dropped a 45-3 loss to the Cardinals for the second straight Bulldog loss.

The Bulldogs then traveled to Lexington, VA and VMI. where the got back to winning with a 49-13 road Southern Conference win. Michael Eubank completed 31-of-42 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns, Emmanuel Obajimi had seven catches for 109 yards and two scores. Gavin Sinclair hauled in three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs returned home to meet the other Bulldogs, The Citadel.  The Citadel football team rushed for 424 yards on its way to a 44-25 win in Birmingham. Samford played two quarterbacks in the game. Starter Michael Eubank completed 14-of-20 passes for 137 yards and an interception, and he led the team in rushing with 36 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Backup Devlin Hodges completed 23-of-31 passes for 277 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

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