LEXINGTON, Va. - Coming off a huge win last weekend at The Citadel, the VMI football team kept the momentum going with a benchmark 48-41 overtime victory over the visiting Samford Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.
The win was VMI's (4-3, 3-1 SoCon) fourth of the season, marking the most wins in a season since the 2008 squad went 4-7. It was also VMI's first ever win over the Bulldogs (3-4, 2-2 SoCon) to improve to 1-6 in the all-time series with the school.
It was another career day for redshirt junior running back Alex Ramsey, who gained 163 yards on the ground on a new career-high 37 carries and six touchdowns. The Salem, Virginia, native earned school records in single game points scored (36), most touchdowns scored (6), most touchdowns responsible for (6) and most rushing touchdowns (6).
Junior quarterback Reece Udinski also had a big day contributing to his career totals by going 37-of-46 through the air for 390 yards and has now thrown 298 passes without an interception. Last week he already broke the SoCon record for consecutive passes without an INT with 252. The North Wales, Pennsylvania, native now has eight career 300-yard passing games and five career games with 37 or more completions.
“How much fun was that game?” asked VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. “Even if the score didn’t come out in our favor, I would have said the same thing. It was fun to coach and we kept fighting. I thought it was a championship ball game the way that it was played back and forth with numerous momentum swings and both teams competing at high levels. Samford came in ready to play and they played hard to the very end, but we found a way to make one more play than they did.”
After Ramsey tied the game at 38-all on a one-yard scamper with 4:16 to play in the game, Samford drove down the field and converted a 45-yard field goal with only 41 seconds left on the clock.
Udinski then drove the Keydets to the Samford 39-yard line with five seconds on the board to set up Grant Clemons for a 56-yard field goal to tie the game. The Daleville, Virginia, native split the uprights for a new career-best mark, topping his 46-yarder from last week at The Citadel to send the game into overtime.
“I thought Grant Clemons attempting the 56-yard field goal was our best chance to tie the game and try to win in overtime,” Wachenheim said. “He has the leg, had the wind at his back and had made all of his kicks from the right-hash all week in practice. Grant came through like a champion.”
In overtime, the Keydets were given the ball first and quickly scored on a 25-yard run around the left edge by Ramsey to put VMI up 48-41 in what proved to be the game-winning score.
On the Bulldog’s possession facing a 2nd-and-5, VMI’s Liam Kauthen earned a huge sack for a loss of 10 yards to put Samford in a 3rd-and-15 scenario. Bulldog quarterback Chris Oladokun found A.J. Toney for a 12-yard pass to set up a 4th-and-3 with the game on the line. A trick play on fourth down resulted in the Bulldogs’ Yassar El-Amin throwing the ball over the outstretched hands of a wide open Chris Shelling in the endzone to give VMI the win and opportunity for the corps of cadets to rush the field in celebration.
VMI returns to Southern Conference action next Saturday at Mercer with a 3 p.m. contest in Macon, Georgia.
*Alex Ramsey now has 15 rushing touchdowns for the season, equaling the second most since Thomas Haskins claimed 15 in 1996. Haskins holds the all-time mark with 17 rushing TDs from the 1995 season. Ramsey is accountable for 92 points scored this year, also tying Haskins’ mark of 92 from the 1996 season. Haskins earned 106 in 1995 for the all-time mark. Ramsey’s 810 yards rushing for the season is also the most since 2009 when Howard Abegesah earned 954 yards on the ground.
*Reece Udinski’s career total offense mark of 5,492 yards ranks No. 3 all-time at VMI moving past Tony Scales’ mark of 5,488 from 1989-92.