Samford cruises past UWA

Published 1:41 pm Sunday, September 9, 2012

Samford rang up 452 yards of total offense and limited West Alabama to 21 yards rushing on the way to a 34-6 victory Saturday at Seibert Stadium.

“This was just a good old-fashioned butt whipping in every phase,” UWA head coach Will Hall said. “We got outclassed in every area and that’s on me as the head football coach. We have to start getting better immediately.”

“I am disappointed about how we came out and played. I am disappointed for the Tiger nation and everyone who showed up to see us tonight,” Hall said.

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Five Samford sacks for 62 yards helped account for UWA’s anemic rushing totals on 31 carries. Matt Willis battled a bruised shoulder to run for 24 yards on 12 carries to lead the Tigers.

“They were a lot faster than we thought. It’s hard to judge speed on film,” Tiger quarterback Kyle Caldwell said. “We just have to put this game behind us. We have to put this in our memory bank to make sure we don’t have this feeling again.”

Samford opened the scoring on a 2-yard run by Fabian Truss at the 10:30 mark of the first quarter to cap a 14-play, 68-yard drive. The scoring drive by Samford produced just 10 less yards than the UWA defense gave up in all of a week-one win at Clark Atlanta.

West Alabama answered on its first drive, moving 70 yards in 14 plays to the Samford 5-yard line before settling for a 22-yard field goal by Ryne Smith.

“We had a great opening drive on offense,” Hall said. “We went down for a field goal and I thought we were in the game.”

Aided by two personal foul penalties on UWA, the Bulldogs took just four plays to go 60 yards to take a 14-3 lead on another 2-yard run by Truss at the 2:44 mark of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 21-3 midway through the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Jeremiah Gates. The seven-play, 35-yard drive was set up when Jaquiski Tartt recovered a West Alabama fumbled punt return.

“It was a back and forth game,” Hall said, “but the fumble on special teams obviously hurt and swung it into a three-score game. We never recovered.”

Six plays after Alvin Hines intercepted Tiger backup quarterback Gary Johnston at midfield, Stanley Robinson scored on an 8-yard run to cap a six-play, 50-yard drive to give the Bulldogs a 28-3 lead at halftime.

The Bulldogs threatened again, driving to the UWA 3-yard line before Butler intercepted Bulldog quarterback Andy Summerlin in the end zone to end the threat. Butler also had 10 tackles to lead Tiger defenders.

Three field goals were the extent of the scoring in the second half. Smith kicked a 25-yard field goal on West Alabama’s first drive. The Bulldogs answered with 19 and 20-yard field goals from Cameron Yaw to stretch the lead to the 34-6 final.

Caldwell completed 16-of-29 passes for 207 yards. He was intercepted twice. Marcus Brown had five catches for 61 yards to lead the Tigers.

Truss had 82 yards on 16 carries for the Bulldogs, while Summerlin completed 21-of-27 passes for 190 yards. Chris Cephus caught six passes for 65 yards to lead Samford receivers.

“The good thing about this is these games don’t count on your Division II record. Last year we lost to South Alabama and beat Georgia State, neither one helped us or hurt us,” Hall said. “We lost to a FCS team tonight. That doesn’t hurt us or help us as far as the Division II playoffs.

West Alabama hosts Mississippi College in its 2012 home opener next week at Tiger Stadium. Samford plays its first road game of the year at Gardner Webb.