BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Averaging over 35 points per game entering Saturday’s Southern Conference football matchup with VMI, Samford’s prolific offense kept rolling against the Keydets as the Bulldogs earned a 73-22 win Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama.
Although the Keydets kept the game close in the first half, the Bulldogs scored on their first seven possessions of the second half and pulled away for the victory.
The Keydets (0-6, 0-5 SoCon) played toe-to-toe with their host for most of the first half. VMI took a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter when junior Grant Clemons booted a 40-yard field goal, and the Keydets enjoyed a 9-7 advantage after sophomore quarterback Reece Udinski connected with junior Javeon Lara to complete a 72-yard touchdown pass with 6:53 to play in the opening period.
The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-2) responded with three straight scores to take a 28-9 lead, but VMI roared back. Udinski and Lara teamed up again for an 18-yard TD pass at the 8:17 mark of the second quarter. Less than two minutes later, the Keydets struck again, this time with redshirt junior Quan Myers bulling his way into the end zone from a yard out to trim the Samford lead to 28-22.
The Bulldogs scored twice more before intermission and then had the seven straight scores to start the second half to pull away.
After scoring 66 points a week ago, Samford piled up 776 yards of total offense. Quarterback Devlin Hodges accounted for much of that total, completing 32 of his 41 pass attempts for 476 yards and seven touchdowns. He also carried the ball nine times for 32 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs also ground out 289 rushing yards. Running back Demarcus Ware finished the game with 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 10 carries, while Roland Adams tallied 90 yards on 10 tries.
VMI’s offense found the going tough after halftime. The Keydets crossed midfield just twice in the final two quarters, and their deepest threat ended at the Samford 9-yard line as time expired.
Udinski, who threw for over 400 yards in each of VMI’s last two contests, finished Saturday’s game 22-for-34 through the air for 270 yards and the two touchdowns. Lara, VMI’s leading receiver, finished the game with five catches for 141 yards.
Defensively, VMI was led by redshirt sophomore linebacker Elliot Brewster, who had 11 tackles and an interception in the second quarter that led to VMI’s final touchdown of the half. Freshman safety Ethan Caselberry notched on 10 tackles.
The Keydets return home this Saturday to face The Citadel in The Military Classic of the South. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Foster Stadium.
Head Coach Scott Wachenheim quotes:
"We started the game well and I thought we would be able to keep pace with them. Javeon Lara and Reece Udinski were hooking up for some big plays. Devlin Hodges is a very good player and Kelvin McKnight a very good receiver and (Ahmad) Gooden heated up with some pass rush stuff. We just couldn't keep pace.
“We didn't come here to play close - we came here to win so we took some chances that didn't pay off for us and they capitalized on them like good teams do. Good job for Coach Hatcher and the Samford Bulldogs. We're going to regroup and get ready for a big week to play The Citadel Bulldogs for the Silver Shako in Lexington."