Samford head coach Chris Hatcher told the media that preseason polls are based on the previous season and his team backed that statement up on Thursday night against #8 Kennesaw State. Samford entered their Thursday night matchup against #8 Kennesaw State as +7.5 point underdogs, but shocked the FCS world with a 27-17 upset win over the Owls.
QB Michael Hiers stepped into his first start as the Bulldogs’ quarterback and delivered an impressive performance against the talented Kennesaw State defense. Hiers completed 75% of his passes for over 289 passing yards and tossed 4 passing touchdowns as he led the Bulldogs to an impressive Week 1 win. WR Kendall Watson had a spectacular night for the Bulldogs with 9 receptions for 187 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. RB Jay Stanton led the rushing attack for the Bulldogs with 90 yards on 16 carries.
The defensive line had a dominant night as Kobe Stewart and Nick Jackson combined for 12 total tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for loss. LB Noah Martin led the Bulldogs with 8 total tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Defensive back Kourtlan Marsh sealed the game for Samford with a clutch interception in the back of the endzone late in the 4th quarter.
Xavier Shepherd throws a costly INT in the end zone as Samford looks to pull off a huge upset over #8 Kennesaw State ? pic.twitter.com/7AnBrfHKsQ
— The Bluebloods (@The__Bluebloods) September 2, 2022
Kennesaw State struggled on the defensive side of the ball as the Bulldogs offense totaled over 400 yards on the night. FCS All-American Xavier Shepherd totaled 199 yards and 1 rushing touchdown, but threw a costly interception that ended the game for the Owls. Preston Daniels led the Owls on the ground with 64 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown. The 4th quarter was costly for Kennesaw State as Samford outscored the Owls 13-0 in the final frame.
Samford moves to 1-0 on the season and will travel to Athens, GA to face #3 Georgia in Week 2. #8 Kennesaw State will ultimately fall in the FCS STATS Top-25, but will travel to face a reloaded #23 Cincinnati team in Week 2.