In a battle of the Bulldogs, Samford (6-4, 4-4) picked up a conference road victory after scoring with less than six seconds to beat The Citadel (4-6, 2-6) 19-14.
The Samford Bulldogs did not get off to a good start against The Citadel, fumbling away the ball on its second possession and allowing the other Bulldogs to put a quick score on the board. Ben Dupree would score his seventh touchdown of the season. Dupree would add another score for The Citadel in the first half before giving way to Aaron Miller in the third quarter. The Citadel took a 14-10 lead into halftime after Samford’s Cameron Yaw connected for a 22-yard field goal, and Dustin Taliaferro found Chris Cephus for an 18-yard score.
In the second half, Yaw hit a 44-yard field goal in the third quarter to pull Samford to within one point heading into the final frame. The Citadel may have been kicking itself after turning the ball over on downs inside the Samford 20-yard line and having a field goal attempt blocked on the 30-yard line.
In the fourth, Taliaferro would fumble the ball away late, giving The Citadel prime field position for the game-clinching points; however, The Citadel’s Miller lost five yards before fumbling back to Samford with just minutes to go. Durell Hill forced the fumble and Darion Sutton recovered at the Samford 20-yard line to give Pat Sullivan’s Bulldogs one final shot.
Taliaferro passed it five times and Jeremiah Gates then rushed it six times for 39 yards down to the two-yard line. With 5.6 seconds left Taliaferro ran left on a two-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone to cap a 15-play, 80-yard drive for the 19-14 advantage. A two-point conversion attempt was no good, but Samford would stop The Citadel’s kick return to earn its sixth win of the season.
Taliaferro connected on 34 of 45 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for the game-winning score, though he did have a huge fumble. Jeremiaha Gates led the Samford Bulldogs with 58 yards on 12 carries. Fabian Truss ran it nine times for 48 yards. Kelsey Pope was once again Taliaferro’s favorite target, hauling in 17 catches for 113 yards. Five other receivers had multiple catches.
The Citadel did not go to the air much, instead choosing to pound it on the ground. Darien Robinson had 22 rushing attempts for 84 yards. Vandyke Jones had nine carries for 48 yards. The two quarterbacks combined for just 21 yards on 3-4 passing with one interception thrown by Dupree. Dupree had both touchdown runs while racking up 39 yards on 11 carries. Miller had 44 yards on six attempts, but he got most of those yards on a 39-yard dash.
Defensively Justin Shade led Samford with 11 tackles while Joseph Boatend had 13 tackles to led The Citadel. Chris Billingslea did recover two fumbles for The Citadel Bulldogs. Omar Johnson picked off the only pass for either team, coming away with one of Ben Dupree’s attempts.
This was the conference finale for each team as both will go on the road to face SEC foes next week. The Citadel travels to meet South Carolina while Samford will visit Auburn.