Story and photo courtesy of Samford Athletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin hit Kelsey Pope for a 12-yard touchdown in double overtime, and Alvin Hines II recovered a Wofford fumble on the Terriers ensuing possession to give the Bulldog football team a thrilling 24-17 victory over sixth-ranked Wofford Saturday afternoon at Seibert Stadium.
“I can't say enough about the way our defense played,” Samford head coach Pat Sullivan said. “The offense played well and the special teams played well all day. This was truly a team win, and that is what we have needed around here.”
The win is Samford's first win over a top-10 ranked team since 1994 when the Bulldogs took down sixth-ranked UCF, 36-35. The win also guarantees Samford of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
Wofford took a 17-9 lead with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter on Eric Breitenstein's two-yard run. Samford then started its final drive of the fourth quarter with 1:45 to go at its own 28-yard line. The Bulldogs marched 72 yards in 10 plays, with Summerlin hitting Trett Hardman on a one-yard touchdown on the final play of regulation to bring Samford to within two points at 17-15. Summerlin then hit Chris Cephus for the two-point conversion to tie the score at 17-17 and force overtime.
In the first overtime possession, Wofford drove to the Samford 16-yard line, but Kasey Redfern missed a 33-yard field goal attempt. On Samford's first OT possession, the Bulldogs likewise drove to the Wofford 16-yard line, but Cameron Yaw's 34-yard attempt went wide left to send the game to a second overtime.
For the game, Samford was led by Summerlin, completing 29-of-35 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Fabian Truss rushed 26 times for 120 yards. Pope led all receivers with 12 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
For the Samford defense, Justin Shade led the way with 13 tackles, including six solo stops. Jaquiski Tartt and Darion Sutton finished with nine tackles each. Hines had seven tackles to go along with his fumble recovery.
Samford's Yaw made three of his four field goal attempts, making kicks from 24, 40 and 31 yards out. Punter Greg Peranich averaged 44.8 yards on five punts in the contest.
Wofford was led by Breitenstein with 35 rushes for 168 yards and one touchdown. James Zotto led the Terrier defense with 12 tackles, while Mike McCrimon had 11 tackles for Wofford.
After a scoreless first quarter, Samford put the first points on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. Yaw kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with 9:49 to go in the second quarter. The score capped a 14-play, 86-yard drive that took 5:58 off of the clock.
Wofford took the lead with a touchdown late in the second quarter. James Lawson scored on a six-yard run with 3:29 left in the half. Redfern added the extra point to give the Terriers a 7-3 lead. The scoring drive for Wofford was 13 plays, 75 yard and took 6:20.
The Terriers struck again just before halftime. Redfern kicked a school-record 53-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 10-3, Wofford heading into halftime.
“In the first half, we made some mistakes and had some penalties,” Sullivan said. “I came in and really challenged them at halftime that if we came out and played every play like it was the fourth quarter, because we've been winning all of our fourth quarters, we were good enough. Then we go out there and the defense just played lights out, and the offense really moved the ball, and we didn't get it in, but we got points every time and that just kept the momentum going.”
Samford scored on its first drive of the second half. Yaw kicked his second field goal of the game, this one from 40-yards out with 7:15 to go in the third quarter to cut the Wofford lead to 10-6. Yaw added a 31-yard field goal to make the score 10-9 with 14.4 seconds to go in the third quarter.
With the win, Samford improves to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in Southern Conference play. Wofford drops to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in SoCon play.
Samford will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 10, when the Bulldogs play at Elon. The game is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. (CT) start from Elon, N.C.