Saturday, October 18, 2014

Terriers take gritty 24-20 road win at Samford

Today, from Seibert Stadium in Birmingham, Ala., the Terriers look to face a tough opponent in the Samford Bulldogs.

Terrier defense the headliner early on in tie ball game at the half

The Bulldogs had some struggles early with the Terrier defense, as they were forced a speedy three-and-out, and Greg Peranich came on to punt it away. His kick went for 41 yards, effectively setting up the visiting Terriers at their own 35-yard line.

However, the same fate that came to Samford happened to the Terriers as well, as the entire series netted a disappointing -2 yards.

Samford's ensuing possession had a bit more promise, as Michael Eubank launched a 12-yard pass to Kelvin Clay for a first down. A few rushing plays later, though, the Bulldogs again found themselves punting it away, this time after being mired just inside Wofford territory.

Lorenzo Long and Will Gay's rushing power helped lead the Terriers to a quick first down on the ensuing drive, and an eight-yard pass from Michael Weimer to tight end Zach Muller on the next play set up a short second down that was converted with ease by Long. The next set of downs wasn't as frutiful, though, and Wofford and Brian Sanders were forced to punt it away on fourth-and-six.

After the punt, Robert Clark was pushed back for negative yardage on his return for the Bulldogs, setting the tone for another three-and-out series for Samford.

Lorenzo Long helped lead the Terriers to the Samford 26-yard line on the next series, which conluded with a 44-yard field goal from David Marvin that granted an early advantage to Wofford.

Terrance Morris knocked the ball out of Michael Eubank's hands on the first play of Samford's next set of downs, and the fumble was recovered by Tarek Odom at the Samford 16-yard line, giving the Terriers some prime field position.

Cam Flowers punched it in from three yards out to cap off a short 5-play drive and give Wofford an exciting 10-0 lead.

A drive that was looking to be a promising instance for the Bulldogs, as they brought the football near midfield from deep in their own side of the field, before being stopped up at the 41-yard line.

Wofford's next set didn't see much, as the ball was advanced only five yards before Sanders was brought on to punt once again.

The momentum, though, had largely stayed with the Terriers and their impressive defensive showing early on. That is, until Eubank stung together an 11-play, 54-yard drive that brought the Bulldogs inside the Wofford 10. On fourth-and-three from there, Warren Handrahan cut the Bulldog deficit to 10-3 with a 23-yard field goal.

The Terriers made three first downs on the ensuing drive, bringing the ball across midfield into Samford territory, before things began to go the wrong way, both figuratively and literally, and Sanders booted a short 23-yard punt.

From their own 25-yard line, the Bulldogs put together an 11-play, 75-yard drive that effectively tied things up prior to the half. The series was completed by Eubank's 8-yard scamper into the end zone. Although Handrahan's extra point try hit one of  the uprights, it found its way through and the score was knotted at 10.

That's where we stand in Birmingham at the half.

Everything comes together in far-reaching, gutsy win over Samford

The Terriers came out absolutely swinging during the initial minutes of the second half. After some early success with a nine yard pass from Weimer to Will Irwin and a nine yard rush from Lorenzo Long, things were broken open by the latter, who busted a 48-yard scamper that gave the Terriers the opportunity to take a lead. They did just that, as Weimer connected with Zach Muller for a three-yard touchdown strike that capped off an 8-play, 75-yard drive that extended Wofford's lead to 17-10.

However, Michael Eubank found some rhythm in the passing game, as he quickly led the Bulldogs into the red zone. An apparent Brion Anderson interception was erased by a Terrier offside infraction, one of three of that variety on the afternoon, and Denzel Williams reached the endzone from one yard out a few plays later, tying the ballgame once again.

Wofford was forced three-and-out on their next series, as were the home team. The latter occurrence was spurred in part by a nice Tarek Odom sack, the first of a few from him in the game.

Samford's next possession, although decent-looking early on, was doomed by a holding call, which set them back ten yards and was something that the Bulldogs couldn't recover from, as they were soon forced to punt the ball away.

Michael Weimer's pass, thrown from deep in Wofford territory, was intercepted by James Bradberry and returned twenty-four yards to the 18-yard line. While this effectively cut the Terriers' ensuing drive well short, Samford's offense was held, due largely in part to a Drake Michaelson sack, forcing them to settle for a 34-yard Warren Handrahan field goal that gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the afternoon, at 20-17.

A 20-yard pass from Weimer to Muller on second down helped set the tone for the Terriers' next drive. They quickly drove into Samford territory, aided greatly by Lorenzo Long, and took the lead back with a 1-yard quarterback-keeper for Weimer.

With the score at 24-20 in the Terriers' favor, Wofford's defense had their job cut out for them. Samford drove as far as the Terrier 24-yard line, where Michael Eubank was stacked up a few inches shy of the first down marker on fourth-and-one.

Brian Sanders booted a 46-yard punt that was downed at the Samford 23-yard line, giving the Bulldogs thirty-two seconds and a long field to work with.

Needless to say, Brion Anderson achieved something that seemed to be long overdue: an interception unmarred by penalty.

The clock expired, and the Terriers clinched a crucial road SoCon victory over the much-favored Samford Bulldogs.

Here's a look at some additional points of interest:

  • Wofford advances to 4-3 (2-1 SoCon), while Samford falls to 3-3 (2-2 SoCon).
  • The win snaps a two-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.
  • The Terriers were outgained by Samford, 354-264. Of the Terriers' yardage, 197 came on the ground, while 67 were gained through the air.
  • Wofford gained twelve first downs, were 6-17 on third-down conversions, and 2-2 on fourth-down conversions.
  • Both sides committed three penalties. Samford's cost them 24 yards, while Wofford's cost them 14 yards.
  • Samford turned the ball over twice, and the Terriers turned over a single time, on an interception.
  • Wofford won the time of possession battle, 33:41-26:19.
  • Michael Weimer was 7-for-13 on his passes, averaging 5.2 yards per pass while throwing for 67 yards and a touchdown.
  • Lorenzo Long rushed for 128 yards on 20 carries.
  • Zach Muller had a solid outing, making four receptions for 38 yards. Ray Smith caught two passes for 20 yards.
  • Both Cam Flowers (51 yards) and Lorenzo Long (34 yards) logged a pair of kick returns.
  • David Marvin made his only field goal attempt (44 yards), and went a perfect 3-for-3 on his extra point attempts.
  • Brian Sanders punted seven times for 263 yards (37.6 average).
  • Tarek Odom came in for a few offensive plays, laying a few choice blocks in the old-style wishbone formation the Terriers were running later in the game.
  • Chris Boudreaux sustained an injury late in the game.
Next Saturday, Wofford will have a home game against the VMI Keydets (1-7, 0-3 SoCon), who fell to Gardner-Webb 47-41 in double overtime earlier this afternoon.

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