Samford’s best Southern Conference football season in school history ended in spectacular fashion.
You expected something different?
The Bulldogs, who haven’t met a close game they couldn’t win this season, did it again on Saturday with a 50-44 double overtime victory over Mercer at Seibert Stadium. There were expected heroes and unexpected heroes, probably none more unexpected than backup quarterback Quincy Crittenden, a walk-on redshirt freshman from Austin High in Decatur, Alabama, who ended the game with a 25-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second overtime.
It was an incredible ending to an incredible day and an incredible regular season. Samford (10-1) are the outright SoCon football champs for the first time ever and will find out their FCA playoff path on Sunday morning.
As you would guess in a game that included 94 points, there was a ton of offense. Samford had 34 first downs, 633 yards on 101 plays and was 12 of 23 on third and fourth down. Mercer had 33 first downs, 695 yards on 86 plays and punted just twice.
Samford quarterback Michael Hiers was 43-of-55 for 454 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks. Mercer quarterback Fred Payton was 30-of-51 for 514 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Samford receivers Chandler Smith (14 catches for 114 yards) and D.J. Rias (8 catches for 117 yards, two touchdowns) had big days. Mercer receivers Ty James (13 catches for 351 yards, two touchdowns) and Devron Harper (12 catches for 125 yards) also had great days.
The topsy-turvy afternoon, believe it or not, had some crucial defensive plays. Samford was leading, 37-34, late in regulation when Mercer drove the length of the field to set up first-and-goal from the 2-yard line with about 30 seconds left. Seth Simmer and Noah Martin stuffed Mercer’s Al Wooten for a yard loss on first down and the Bulldogs forced two incompletions. The second incompletion was broken up by cornerback Fred Flavors. Mercer settled for a 20-yard field goal by Devin Fosler with seven seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Samford scored on a 21-yard pass from Hiers to Judd Cockett on the first overtime possession. Mercer countered with a 19-yard touchdown run by Wooten. Samford forced a field goal in the second overtime and Flavors blocked the 38-yard attempt. Crittenden completed a pass to Smith on the first play of the second overtime before winding his way to the game-winning touchdown.
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