Eagles Fall at Samford
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Georgia Southern could not find an answer for Samford in the second half, getting held scoreless in a 31-10 Southern Conference loss Saturday afternoon (Nov. 7) at Seibert Stadium. The Eagles (4-5 overall, 3-3 SoCon) suffered consecutive losses for the first time this year.
Samford (4-5, 2-4) successfully recovered its onsides kick attempt to start the game but was flagged for being offsides. Following the 5-yard penalty Ronnie Wiggins took the kick and raced a career-long 54 yards into Samford territory. Six plays later Adrian Mora converted a 39-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Later in the quarter Samford drove inside the Georgia Southern 10-yard line, but the defense held on third-and-short thanks to a stop by sophomore Tavaris Williams and the Bulldogs settled for a 25-yard field goal by Cameron Yaw to tie the score.
Right before the first quarter ended, Bryce Smith intercepted a Lee Chapple pass and Samford took over on the Eagles' 20. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the eight, Dustin Taliaferro found Richie Fordham in the back of the endzone for a touchdown and 10-3 lead.
Samford forced another Eagle punt, but returner DeMarcus Covington had the ball stripped by Ronnie Wiggins and senior lineman Josh Barker recovered on the 26. On the first play, Brandon Nolley took the handoff and raced to the endzone untouched for his first TD as an Eagle. Mora's extra point tied the game.
Charlie Edwards' 41-yard punt set up Samford on its own 31 with three minutes left in the half. Wasting no time, on the first play from scrimmage Taliaferro found a wide open Riley Hawkins down the right sidelines and raced in for a 69-yard touchdown and 17-10 lead.
Right before half Mora set up for a 49-yard attempt but came up short, snapping the sophomore's streak of nine consecutive field goals made and the Bulldogs took the seven point lead into the locker room.
Samford drove down the field to start the half, and when facing 4th-and-inches from the three Taliaferro rolled out and scored the touchdown with 9:20 left.
After taking possession on Corey White's interception, Fordham took a pitch and found Alex Barnett for a 57-yard touchdown with 11:14 remaining.
The Eagles drove down to the Samford five on the following drive. Facing 4th-and-1, Adam Urbano took the direct handoff and looked to have the first down but the officials stopped play on a flag, which was later waived off. The Bulldogs stopped Urbano for no gain and took over on downs.
After alternating a win with a loss all season long, the Eagles are looking to end a two-game losing streak heading into the final two home games of the season.
"The story of the day is we got nothing going on offense, no consistency and no rhythm. They had some big plays. I said earlier in the week we would have to be able to move the ball consistently and limit their big plays. You have to give them credit, they came out and played hard," said Eagles head coach Chris Hatcher.
Chapple completed 29-of-43 passes for 212 yards, but threw three interceptions. It was the third-most pass completions in program history, and his fifth career 200-yard passing game. However, the Samford defense recorded eight sacks on the day, seven of Chapple.
Nolley entered the game with nine net rushing yards (on six carries) and 18 receiving yards (on five receptions) on the season. The junior running back finished with 40 yards on six carries and caught three passes for 36 yards.
"They (Nolley and Zeke Rozier) had the best practices last week so we gave them an opportunity to go out there and play... If there was a bright spot today, it was Nolley. He played really well," stated Hatcher.
Urbano finished with a career-high nine receptions (one off the program record) for 55 yards. Patrick Barker finished with six receptions for 36 yards while fellow true-freshman Jamere Valentine caught five passes for 40 yards.
Bryce Smith made 12 tackles and two interceptions for the defense. J.M. Clay recorded three of the sacks.
Taliaferro completed 11-of-20 passes for 151 yards and two scores. Hawkins caught five passes for 101 yards. Chris Evans fell shy of breaking the Samford career rushing record, but wound up with 96 yards on 26 carries.
Samford travels to Wofford next Saturday (Nov. 14). The Eagles return to Paulson Stadium for Homecoming 2009 next Saturday (Nov. 14). Kickoff against Furman is scheduled for 2 p.m.
"We have to go back to the drawing board, go back and try to find a way to put our guys in a position to beat Furman and then beat The Citadel. We are going to play to win and we are going to continue to coach hard," said Hatcher.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore Nico Hickey not only made his first collegiate start, but on the first play of scrimmage caught his first-ever pass (seven yards)... Taliafero floated a pass on the Bulldogs' first drive that true-freshman Darius Eubanks picked off for his first interception as an Eagle... The Eagles were out-gained in the first quarter 82-3 but closed the gap to 341-291 in the game. GS actually had five more first downs, 19-14... Nolley's second quarter TD run marked the first time this year GS scored a touchdown on the first play of a drive... Late in the first half, Chapple completed his 265th career pass tying him with Raymond Gross for second place on the GS career 'Top 10' list. That same drive Chapple surpassed the former standout. He has 281 and counting (Tracy Ham, 352)... When Mora missed from 49 yards right before halftime that was the third-longest field goal attempt of the sophomore's career. He came up three shy of equaling Tim Foley's record of 12 consecutive FG made in a season (1985)... The Eagles were 0-for-7 on third down conversions in the first half while Samford was 3-for-7. GS was 4-of-15 in the game while Samford was 4-of-13... With 1,556 passing yards this year Chapple moved into fifth place on the season 'Top 10'. The sophomore now has 2,343 career passing yards, good for sixth place on the career 'Top 10' list... Valentine moved into second place among the season 'Top 10' reception leaders with 41. Urbano is right behind, tied for third place with 39. Patrick Barker moved into a tie for eighth place recording 35. Raja Andrews set the record finishing with 64 following his senior year... Georgia Southern finished the season 1-5 on the road, but is 3-0 at Paulson Stadium this year with two games remaining.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 07 November 2009 19:29