LEXINGTON, Va. - Despite an early seven-point lead for the VMI Keydets, the 20th-ranked Samford Bulldogs prevailed 26-7 in SoCon football action between the teams Saturday at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Va.
The Keydets (0-6, 0-3 SoCon) started the game with perhaps their best offensive drive of the season, a 10-play, 77-yard push that redshirt freshman quarterback Duncan Hodges ended with a three-yard run. The 7-0 lead was short-lived, however, as Samford (4-2, 2-1) tied the game just 57 seconds later and went on to score the game's final 26 points on the way to the win.
The VMI defense held Samford to just 2 of 13 on third-down conversions and did not allow a touchdown inside the red zone for the first time this season. The Keydet offense, however, could not overcome six sacks and three turnovers, two of which came in Samford territory, in the loss.
The Keydets scored on their opening drive, the first offensive drive VMI had posted of at least 10 plays this year. Hodges, making his second career start and first at home, was involved in eight of the 10 plays and finished the drive with his first career rushing touchdown for a 7-0 VMI lead.
Samford then took just 57 seconds to go 63 yards, tying the game at 7-all on a 33-yard touchdown run by Moise Satine. The Bulldogs would take on the first of four Jordan Weaver field goals and led, 10-7, after one quarter.
That margin grew to 20-7 at halftime, as Devlin Hodges - Duncan's brother and the current SoCon Offensive Player of the Year - threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Harris and Weaver tacked on a 31-yard field goal just before the break.
The second half was a defensive struggle and saw Samford move to a running attack, as the Bulldogs held the ball for some 18 minutes over the final two quarters. Weaver kicked a field goal in each to account for the final margin, 23-6.
Duncan Hodges threw for 121 yards and ran for another 39, but was intercepted three times by an opportunistic Samford defense. His brother, Devlin, was 26 of 37 for 262 yards and a touchdown, completing passes to 11 different receivers along the way. Satine ran for 97 yards for the Bulldogs, while Tyain Smith had 52 yards on the ground for VMI.
VMI football will return to action next Saturday, when the Keydets travel to Greenville, S.C. to face Furman. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
QUOTES - VMI Head Coach Scott Wachenheim
"Samford is an excellently coached football team. Devlin Hodges is one of the top quarterbacks in FCS football. I think his play today would change anybody’s mind. They have a very talented group of wide receivers. They have a lot of seniors and juniors on their roster and huge defensive linemen that do a tremendous job."
"I thought our kids fought extremely hard out there today. I’m very proud of the offense and how they drove down the field for an early 7-0 lead. I’m very proud of how our defense played in the red zone – they were outstanding down there. Our defense also played well on third down and limited Samford to 2-13 on third down conversions. In the first half we did a nice job with the possession battle and staying on the field because the best way to defend Devlin Hodges is to keep him off the field."
"I thought our team played with energy today and we practiced with energy and enthusiasm all week. We went out there, fought, and believed we could win the game and never doubted and never backed down from a very good opponent. Duncan Hodges competed and played a good game. He gave us a chance to win the game, stayed alive in the pocket, kept his eyes downfield and made a lot of critical throws for us. We got better today. We’re looking forward to moving further into conference play with Furman next week."