Friday, July 24, 2020

2020 Football Preseason Preview: Samford Bulldogs

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2020 football opponents.

For the season's seventh game, the Cats are on the road for the second week, as they travel to
Birmingham for the fourth conference game

Since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 3-14 against the Bulldogs after last season's 31-13 beatdown by the Dogs in Cullowhee.

Game #7 - Samford

When: Saturday, October 24 - Time  TBA
Where: Seibert Stadium, Homewood, AL
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video: TBA

The Series: The Cats are 3-14 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 1-8 in games played in Birmingham. Coach Speir is 2-6 as a head coach vs. Samford.

Games that will be played by the Bulldogs this season before the WCU contest:  (6 games)  - The Bulldogs will have played 6 games before the Cats visit Homewood.  The Bulldogs open the season at home against Tenn Tech, before a two-game road trip, first to Florida State, then on to ETSU in Johnson City.   Then, it's back home to face Wofford, before hitting the road for two more games, first at Kennesaw State, then to Traveler's Rest to face the Paladins.

Last game played vs. Samford: November 16, 2019 - Catamount Football Senior Day Spoiled by Samford, 31-13  Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina struck early in its home finale on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 10-0 lead over Samford in the first quarter. However, the usual aerial Bulldog attack was traded for a run-heavy, ball-control effort as back-up QB Liam Welch guided Samford to 24-unanswered points as the visitors outscored WCU 31-3 over the final three frames, spoiling WCU's Senior Day with the 31-13 victory in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

Head Coach: Chris Hatcher Chris Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. Entering his sixth season at Samford in 2020, Hatcher boasts a career record of 153-83 in 20 years as a college head coach, having previously coached at Murray State, Georgia Southern and Valdosta State. In his time at Samford, his team's have consistently been among the Southern Conference and FCS leaders in several categories. In 2019, the Bulldogs led all of FCS football in punt return average (19.41 ypr.), and the team ranked second nationally in fewest penalties per game (3.58). Samford also led the SoCon in first downs (22.6 pg.), and the team ranked second in the league in scoring offense (32.2 ppg.) and passing offense (239.2 ypg.)..

Last Season's Record - 2019 (Samford): 5-7 overall, 3-2 home, 2-4 away,  4-4 SoCon  -  In 2019, the Bulldogs had wins over,  Wofford, Alabama A&M, the Citadel, ETSU & Western Carolina.  Samford ended the season in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference.

Offensive Formation: Multiple
-2019 Offense: 32.3 ppg. (28th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 4-3
-2019 Defense: 37.8 ppg. (117th in FCS)
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  6  /  5
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8  /  3

-QB Chris Oladokun (169 cmp., 2,064 yards, 18 TD, 127 rushes, 493 yards, 8 TD)
-RB Jay Stanton (122 rushes, 690 yards, 7 TD, 16 rec., 135 yards, 2 TD)
-WR Montrell Washington (28 rec., 405 yards, 3 TD, 155 Kick Return Yards, 328 Punt Return Yards)

-LB John Staton (116 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 Fumble Recovery)
-LB Nathan East (82 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 4 QB hurries, 3 PBU, 1 Fumble Recovery)
-DB Ty Herring (73 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 INT)

Nine Samford players were named to Phil Steele's preseason All-SoCon teams. Samford had four players named to the first team, with Armond Lloyd (DL), John Staton (LB), Mitchell Fineran (PK) and Montrell Washington (PR) earning first-team nods. Washington was also named second team as both a wide receiver and all-purpose performer. The other second team members were Mike Williams (OL) and Bradley Porcellato (P). Samford's third team members were Chris Oladokun (QB), Jai'Rus Creamer (WR) and Nathan East (LB). Montrell Washington was named first team preseason All-American as a punt returner by Phil Steele.

2019 Samford Statistics
Rushing Offense: 1974 yards
Yards per game: 164.5
Yards per rush: 4.0 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 135
TDs rushing: 22
Passing Offense: 2870 yards or 239 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 119
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 248-415-14
TDs Passing: 24
Total Offense: 4844 yards or 403.7 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 22 - 10
3d Down Conversions: 68 of 172
4th Down Conversions: 23 of 34
Field goal attempts:  15 - 21
PAT-Attempts:  46 of 47
Red Zone Scores: 44 of 55 - 80%
Red Zone Touchdowns: 33 of 55 - 60%
On-Side Kicks:  0 - 1
Penalties-Yards:  43 - 408- Avg. per gm 34
Punts-Yards: 44 - 1768 - Avg. per gm 40.2
Sacks:  16

Game prediction:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 22% probability of winning (27-38) against the Bulldogs.