Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Game #11 - Samford Bulldogs

For the eleventh game of the season, the Catamounts wrap up conference play with back-to-back home games, as the Bulldogs travel up the mountain to Cullowhee for the Cats final conference game of the season.

Since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 3-13 against the Bulldogs after last season's beatdown of the Cats by the Dogs in Birmingham, 28-66. Revenge is in order.

Game #11 - Samford

When: Saturday, November 16 - Time  2:00 pm
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP),  Greg McLamb (Color)
TV/video:  ESPN+
-TV Announcers: Daniel Hooker (PBP);
Live Stats:  WCU live stats
Game Notes:   WCU   -    Samford  
Samford Message Board:  The Dog Pound

The Series: The Cats are 3-13 overall against the Bulldogs since winning the first outing back in 1969. Samford owned an eleven game winning streak against Western until 2015 when the Cats broke that streak in Cullowhee with a 56-36 win over the Dogs. The Cats are 2-5 against the Dogs in Cullowhee.

Last game played vs. Samford: Oct. 6, 2018 - EARLY TURNOVERS PROVE COSTLY IN ROAD LOSS AT SAMFORD, 66-28  - Birmingham, Ala. – Three lost fumbles in the first quarter by Western Carolina aided a strong offensive output by Samford on Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs claimed a 66-28 victory over the Catamounts at Seibert Stadium. Samford cashed in the early takeaways that came on three of WCU’s first four possessions for a decisive 35-0 first-quarter lead in halting a four-game slide with the victory. Samford’s Devlin Hodges – the SoCon preseason Offensive Player of the Year – set or tied six school records and a pair of SoCon benchmarks in the win. Hodges set or tied school records for passing yards (562), total yards (586), touchdown passes (6), touchdowns responsible for (7), completions (44) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He set SoCon records for passing yards (562) and total yards in a single-game (586).

Last Season's Record - 2018 (Samford): 6-5 overall, 4-1 home, 2-4 away,  5-3 SoCon  -  In 2018, the Bulldogs had wins over,  Shorter, WCU, VMI, Furman, Wofford, & ETSU.  Samford beat all three teams that tied for first place.

This Season's Record - 2019 (Samford):  4-6 overall,  3-2 home, 1-3 away, 3-4 SoCon

Head Coach: Chris Hatcher.  Chris Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. Now entering his fourth season at Samford, Hatcher boasts a career record of 140-72 in 18 years as a college head coach, having previously coached at Murray State, Georgia Southern, and Valdosta State. Hatcher's 2018 team posted the program's eighth-straight winning season, the longest streak in program history. Also during the season, quarterback Devlin Hodges became the FCS' all-time leader in career passing yards. Hodges also earned the highest individual honor at the FCS level, winning the Walter Payton Award.

Offensive Formation: Multiple
-2018 Offense: 38.5 ppg. (9th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 4-3
-2018 Defense: 26.4 ppg. (48th in FCS)
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  /  4
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  6  /  5

Samford was picked to finish sixth in the league by both the coaches and media for the 2019 season and had four players named to the preseason All-SoCon teams. Offensive lineman Nick Nixon and place-kicker Mitchell Fineran were named to the first team, while defensive linemen Justin Foster and Nelson Jordan earned second-team honors.

The Bulldogs have not been a good road team this season, having won only one road game in 2019,  However that road win was in Spartanburg against the Wofford Terriers, in the third game of the season.  The Bulldogs have lost road games against Tenn Tech (5-3), as well as at Furman, VMI, &  at Mercer.  Samford is currently in a two-game skid and has lost 4 of their last 5 games.

The Bulldogs are currently averaging 35.6 points per game, but are allowing 38.8 ppg, last in the SoCon. Samford comes in #5 in rushing offense with 165.7 ypg and 8th in rushing defense giving up 246.6 yards per game on the ground.  The Bulldogs leading rusher is freshman Jay Staton, averaging 66 yards per game.

2019 Samford Statistics (10 games)
Rushing Offense: 1657 yards
Yards per game: 165,7
Yards per rush: 4.2 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 109
TDs rushing: 20
Passing Offense: 2669 yards or 266.9 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 110
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 221-364-12
TDs Passing: 23
Total Offense: 4326 yards or 423.6 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 15-5
3d Down Conversions: 55of 140
4th Down Conversions: 18 of 27
Field goal attempts:  14 - 18
PAT-Attempts:  42 of 43
Red Zone Scores: 412 of 48 - 850%
Red Zone Touchdowns: 30 of 48 - 63%
On-Side Kicks:  0 - 1
Penalties-Yards:  38 - 363 - Avg. per gm 35.3
Punts-Yards: 37 - 1454 - Avg. punt: 39.3
Sacks:  15

Game prediction:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 26% probability of winning (31-38) against the Bulldogs. I'm going to disagree, Western wins this home game and finishes with 3 straight conference wins


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