Chase Cochran | Samford Athletics
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Samford football team will go back on the road to take on the Mercer Bears in a key Southern Conference contest Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) at Five Star Stadium.
The game can be seen live on ESPN+. Fans can also follow the game online at the following link: LIVE STATS.
Samford enters the game with a record of 2-2 overall and 1-1 in SoCon play. The Bulldogs are coming off a 55-48 overtime loss to 15th-ranked ETSU last week. Mercer has a mark of 2-1 overall and 1-0 in league play after a 24-3 win at Furman last week.
Samford and Mercer are meeting for the 28th time with Samford owning a 14-12-1 series lead. The teams last met on April 17, 2021, with Samford earning a 44-20 win at Seibert Stadium in the final game of the spring season. The first meeting in the series came on Nov. 2, 1907, with Mercer taking an 11-6 win in Macon, Ga. Since Mercer joined the SoCon in 2014, Samford is 5-2 against the Bears.
“They are a very physical team,” Samford head coach Chris Hatcher said of Mercer. “They do run a little different style of offense than what you see each week. They run a little option, a little Wing-T, a lot of misdirection with motions. Defensively, their front is extremely good. It’s like each week in the Southern Conference, it’s going to be a battle. We have to go on the road, a night game on the road in October. So, it provides its own challenges in itself, but we expect a really good football team.
“It goes back to us executing well,” Hatcher said. “We need to make a few more plays here and there in all three phases of the game.”
WELCH A RECORD BREAKER
During last Saturday’s 55-48 overtime loss to 15th-ranked ETSU, Samford quarterback Liam Welch set Samford and Southern Conference records for passing yards (582), total offense (655), completions (56) and attempts (73). The 582 passing yards broke the old record of 570 set by Welch in last season’s game against VMI.
EAST IS A BEAST
Through the first four games of the season, Nathan East leads the team and is tied for second in the Southern Conference in total tackles with 35. His average of 8.8 tackles per game is tied for third in the league.
PUTTING UP POINTS
Over the last six-plus seasons under head coach Chris Hatcher, the Samford offense has scored at least 30 points 37 times. The unit has put up at least 40 points 22 times, and at least 50 points a total of 10 times.
In six-plus seasons under head coach Chris Hatcher, Samford has made a habit of quick scoring drives. In Hatcher’s time at Samford, Samford has had 149 scoring drives of two minutes or less and 68 that have lasted one minute or less.
WASHINGTON PRODUCING POINTS
Entering Saturday’s game at Mercer, senior wide receiver Montrell Washington leads the Southern Conference in scoring, averaging 10.5 points scored per game.
WELCH EARNS NATIONAL AWARD
Samford graduate quarterback Liam Welch was named the Stats Perform National Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. In last week’s game, he set Samford and SoCon records for passing yards (582), total offense (655), completions (56) and attempts (73). This is the second time a Samford player has been named National Player of the Week, as Montrell Washington earned the honor following the season opener against Tennessee Tech.
Samford has made a habit of playing overtime games over the last three seasons. Saturday’s 55-48 overtime loss to 15th-ranked ETSU last week was the team’s seventh overtime contest in the last three seasons, playing four overtime games in 2019, two in the spring season and one so far in 2021.
GRADUATE STUDENTS MAKING AN IMPACT
Samford has eight graduate students on its 2021 roster. Dakota Chapman (RB), Nathan East (LB), Armond Lloyd (DL), Coutrell Plair (CB), Tyler Russell (LS), Seth Simmer (DL), Liam Welch (QB) and Deandre Williams (RB) are all earning graduate degrees at Samford.
SAMFORD AGAINST GEORGIA TEAMS
Samford has a record of 32-36-2 against teams from the state of Georgia, including a mark of 14-12-1 against Saturday’s opponent, Mercer.
AGAINST SOUTHERN CONFERENCE TEAMS
Since joining the Southern Conference in 2008, Samford has posted a record of 57-46 in conference games. All-time against the current members of the SoCon, Samford has a mark of 83-76-4, including a 14-12-1 record against Mercer. Samford’s record against each current SoCon team is: Chattanooga (10-32-3), The Citadel (7-7), ETSU (6-3), Furman (11-12), Mercer (14-12-1), VMI (6-2), Western Carolina (16-3) and Wofford (13-5).
SPREADING THE BALL AROUND
Samford graduate quarterback Liam Welch has done a good job of spreading the ball around so far this season. Welch has completed passes to 14 different receivers, throwing touchdown passes to four different receivers. Montrell Washington leads the group with 25 catches for 393 yards and four touchdowns.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST MERCER
Samford and Mercer last met on April 17, 2021, in the spring season finale for both teams. Samford earned a 44-20 win in the game. Liam Welch completed 39-of-49 passes for 443 yards and a touchdown. Montrell Washington had 147 receiving yards, and Jay Stanton rushed for 96 yards.
ON THIS DATE
Samford has a record of 7-6 in games played on Oct. 2. The last time the Bulldogs played a game on the date was in 2010, a 24-19 loss at 21st-ranked Elon. The first time a Samford football team played on the date was in 1909 when the Bulldogs dropped an 11-0 decision to Auburn in a game played in Montgomery.
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