Chase Cochran | Samford Athletics
Chris Edmonds (47) and Noah Martin (32) celebrate an interception in last week’s win over Tennessee Tech.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Samford football team will travel to Martin, Tenn., to take on former Ohio Valley Conference rival UT Martin Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hardy M. Graham Stadium.
Samford enters the game with a record of 1-0. The Bulldogs opened the season last Thursday night with a resounding 52-14 win over Tennessee Tech at Seibert Stadium.
“I really thought we played well, especially for the first game,” Samford head coach Chris Hatcher said. “You go through summer camp and no two teams are ever the same. We came off a couple of good wins there at the end of the spring season, and our guys picked up where we left off. I thought it was a complete game.”
The Samford offense was led in the win by graduate quarterback Liam Welch and senior wide receiver and kick returner Montrell Washington. Welch passed for 370 yards and four touchdowns. Washington earned National Special Teams Player of the Week honors after accounting for 245 all-purpose yards, including returning a punt 62 yards for a touchdown.
“Montrell is very deserving of all of the accolades he gets,” Hatcher said. “He’s a game changer. He made some big plays on the offensive side, and of course the punt return really got the crowd into the game and ignited our football team. So, we’re very happy for him and the award we won this week.”
The defense also had a big night. The unit held Tennessee Tech to just 14 points. After the first drive of the third quarter, with the score 17-14, the defense held the Golden Eagles to just 36 yards and led Samford to 35-unanswered points.
“I think it goes back to last spring when we really started playing complimentary football,” Hatcher said. “Nick Benedetto, our defensive coordinator, does a fabulous job. The guys rally behind him. He teaches in such a way that they know what to do and it allows them to go out and execute and fly around.”
UT Martin has a mark of 0-1 entering Saturday’s game after a season-opening 59-21 loss at FBS Western Kentucky. Skyhawk quarterback Keon Howard passed for 195 yards and a touchdown in the game. Wide receiver Colton Dowell hauled in six passes for 102 yards and one touchdown.
“Jason Simpson, their head coach, does a phenomenal job,” Hatcher said of UT Martin. “They’re very athletic. Defensively, they try to cause a lot of confusion with a lot of movement. Offensively, they pretty much do it all. They have good play makers that we’re going to have to keep in check.”
Samford and UT Martin are meeting for the 20th time, with Samford holding a 15-3-1 advantage in the series. The teams last met on Oct. 13, 2007, with UT Martin taking a 31-21 victory. The teams were co-members of the Ohio Valley Conference from 2003 until Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008.
Saturday’s game at UT Martin is set to start at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN+ at the following link: WATCH LIVE.
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