Friday, July 16, 2021

2021 Football Preseason Preview: Samford Bulldogs

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2021 football opponents.

For this season's third game, the Cats return home for Family Day Weekend in Cullowhee to face the Samford Bulldogs.  This game will also opens the conference season for both the Cats and Dogs.

Since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 3-15 against the Bulldogs after last February's 27-55 beatdown of the Cats by the Dogs in Homewood, AL.

Game #3 - Samford Bulldogs

When: Saturday, September 18, 2021 
Time:  3:30 pm
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video:  Nexstar / ESPN+
 - WCBD (Charleston), WGHP (Greensboro/High Point), WJHL (Johnson City), WMYT (Charlotte), WWCW (Lynchburg/Roanoke), WYCW (Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville), WBTW (Myrtle Beach)
Live Stats:  WCU Live Stats
Bulldog Message BoardThe Dog Pound

The Series: The Cats are 3-15 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 1-9 in games played in Birmingham. Coach Speir is 2-6 as a head coach vs. Samford.

Chris Hatcher's record vs. Western Carolina: 4-2
Kerwin Bell's record vs. Samford:  0-0

Last game played vs. Samford: February 27, 2021 - Strong Second Half Leads Samford Past WCU, 55-27 - Birmingham, Ala. – Samford quarterback Liam Welch rushed for three touchdowns while throwing for two scores as the Bulldogs broke open a one-point game at halftime, outscoring Western Carolina 34-7 in the second half to hand the Catamounts a 55-27 setback in Southern Conference football action at Seibert Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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.).

Chris Hatcher's Record:  157-86 overall (22d season)

Last Season's Record - 2020-21 (Samford): 4-3 overall, 3-1 home, 1-2 away,  4-3 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Multiple
Defensive Formation: 4-3

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.

Samford added six transfers for the 2021 fall season. Evan Craighead (Navy Prep), Jayme Motley-Simmons (UAB), Coby Neenan (UAB), Chris Noble (UAB), Sylvaughn Turner (Murray State) and Zach Williams (North Texas) have transferred to Samford and will play for the Bulldogs this fall. 

"We are excited to add this group of student-athletes to our team," Hatcher said. "They are all players who have experience and understand how the process of being a student-athlete work. We expect all of them to come in and add value to our team."

2021 Samford Statistics (Spring - 7 games)
Rushing Offense: 1299 yards
Yards per game: 160.7
Yards per rush: 4.4 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 58
TDs rushing: 18
Passing Offense: 2472 yards or 353.1 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 103
Passing Att-Comp-Int:  294-199-7
TDs Passing: 13
Total Offense: 3597 yards or 513.9 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 4  - 3
3d Down Conversions: 44 of 107 (41.1%)
4th Down Conversions: 6 of 12 (50%)
Field goal attempts:  15 - 21
PAT-Attempts:  15 of 18
Red Zone Scores: 25 of 33 
Red Zone Touchdowns: 17 of 33
On-Side Kicks:  0 - 0
Penalties-Yards:  35 - 284- Avg. per gm 40.6
Punts-Yards: 33 - 1273 - Avg. per gm 38.6
Sacks:  21

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