SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford College football team was defeated 24-21 by Samford on Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium to end a six-game winning streak. The game was tied at 21 when the Bulldogs kicked a field goal with 1:11 left in the game to take the lead. Wofford drove down the field, but was intercepted in the end zone with six seconds to end the scoring chance.
Wofford, ranked fifth in the nation, opens the season 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Southern Conference. Samford is 5-2 on the season and 3-1 in the league, with a #14 national ranking. The Terriers were led by Joe Newman with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with 49 passing yards. Andre Stoddard added 85 rushing yards and a touchdown as the offense ran for 383 yards on the day. The Bulldogs were led by Devlin Hodges, who completed 37-of-57 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns. Kelvin McKnight and Chris Shelling each had over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“I am proud of our guys for fighting all the way to the end,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “The bottom line is we helped them win the game. You can’t put the ball on the ground the way we did. We did a good job of stopping them and forcing the field goal. We had some time and made some big plays, but at the end we did not close the deal. All being said, we will learn from the film. We have a tough challenge from here on out every week. We have to take care of business and if we play like we are capable of playing we will achieve what we want to achieve. I want to thank all the people who came out to the game – they saw a great one, we just came up a little short.”
The Bulldogs had the ball to open the game and gained one first down. Faced with a fourth-and-one, Samford fumbled and it was recovered by the Bulldogs but Wofford took over on downs. The Terriers had one first down, but failed to convert a fourth-and-three pass. Samford went three-and-out and punted. Wofford After four first downs, Brandon Goodson ran 26 yards, but had the ball stripped at the one-yard line. The ball went out of bounds and Wofford retained possession. Chase Nelson capped the 13-play drive with a touchdown for a 7-0 lead at 2:38 in the first quarter.
Samford drove inside the red zone, but Mason Alstatt picked off a pass by Devlin Hodges at the four-yard line. Wofford was unable to gain a first down and punted back to the Bulldogs with 12:34 left in the second quarter. Samford put together an eight play drive to move inside the ten, but missed a 27-yard field goal wide right at 9:07 in the second quarter. Wofford took over at the 20 and faced a fourth-and-one, but failed to convert and Samford took over at the Terrier’s 29-yard line. With the short field, the Bulldogs had one first down before coming up short on a fourth-and-one. Wofford began their next drive on the 12-yard line and moved across midfield before having to punt. With 1:23 left in the half, the Bulldogs had three plays and three passing first downs. A nine-yard touchdown pass by Devlin Hodges to Kevlin McKnight tied the game at 7-7 with 38 seconds on the clock. Wofford gained one first down before the end of the half.
A long kickoff return by Lennox McAfee gave the Terriers the ball at midfield to open the second half. After a first down, a Terrier fumble was recovered by the Bulldogs. Samford had one first down and then punted. Brandon Goodson had a 36-yard run for a first down. Another first down by Blake Morgan moved the Terriers across midfield, but another fumble was recovered by the Bulldogs. Samford converted the turnover into points on an 11-yard touchdown reception by Chris Shelling for a 14-7 lead at 6:59 in the third quarter.
Wofford had a pair of first downs before having to punt back to the Bulldogs. Samford went three-and-out and punted. The Terriers had two first downs, then converted a fourth-and-one with a run by Blake Morgan. After two more first downs, Andre Stoddard scored from four yards out to tie the game at 14 with 11:28 left in the fourth quarter. Samford drove 75 yard in eight plays and scored on a 23-yard pass from Devlin Hodges to Chris Shelling for a 21-14 lead with 8:23 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
Ellis Pace had a 41-yard kickoff return to begin the next drive by the Terriers. Joe Newman added a 27-yard run for a first down. After a first down on a pitch to Lennox McAfee, Joe Newman scored from ten yards out and tied the game at 21 with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter. Samford had a first down on a penalty by Wofford and moved into the red zone after another two first downs. A 27-yard field goal by the Bulldogs gave them a 24-21 lead with 1:28 left in the game. With the ball back, Blake Morgan caught a pass for first down and Joe Newman ran for a first down. A pass to R.J. Taylor picked up a first down and moved the ball across midfield. Andre Stoddard added a first down and Lennox McAfee caught a pass to move into the red zone. A pass in the end zone was intercepted by Samford and the Bulldogs took a knee to end the contest.
Wofford had 465 total yards, with 383 rushing. Samford had 437 total yards, 427 of which were passing. Wofford had 25 first downs to 23 for Samford. Wofford was 6-of-15 on third downs and 1-of-3 on fourth down. Samford was 4-of-11 on third down and 0-of-2 on fourth down. Wofford was called for three penalties to two for Samford. Wofford had a 34:56 to 25:04 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. Samford Post-Game Notes
The Terriers were defeated for the first time this season. Wofford had won six straight to open a season for the first time since 1990 (eight straight). Six of the seven games this season have been decided by a single possession.
The game was the 72nd Homecoming contest at Wofford … The Terriers are 46-24-2 all-time in Homecoming games … Mike Ayers is 21-9 in Homecoming games at Wofford.
Malik Rivera led the Terriers with ten tackles. Mason Alstatt recorded his first career sack and he had his second career interception. Brandon Curtis also had a sack.
Game captains were Justus Basinger, Armani Helligar, Mikel Horton, and George Gbesee.
Attendance was 7,236 at Gibbs Stadium.
The Terriers continue Southern Conference play next weekend as the team travels to East Tennessee State University for a 1:30 p.m. game.