MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Samford football team dropped a 45-22 decision to Youngstown State in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff on Saturday afternoon at Cramton Bowl.
With the loss, Samford falls to 0-1 on the season, while Youngstown State improves to 1-0.
Samford committed four costly turnovers (one fumble and three interceptions), with Youngstown State picking up 14 points off those miscues.
For Samford in the game, starting quarterback Liam Welch completed 13-of-22 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Chris Oladokun came in during the fourth quarter and completed 7-of-10 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Oladokun also rushed five times for 14 yards and a score.
DeMarcus Ware led the running game, gaining 61 yards on 12 carries. Robert Adams, a Montgomery native, had four receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Montrell Washington caught two passes for 80 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown.
The Samford defense was led by John Staton with 12 total tackles, including seven solo stops. Jaleel Laguins totaled 10 tackles, including nine solo. Freshman Trimarcus Cheeks had the team’s lone sack of the day.
For Youngstown State, quarterback Nathan Mays rushed 13 times for 90 yards. Mays also completed 10-of-18 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Samuel St. Surin had five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Defensively for YSU, Zaire Jones intercepted two passes, while John Harper picked off one.
Samford jumped on top first, scoring a touchdown on the Bulldogs’ second drive of the game. Welch hit Adams for a 55-yard touchdown over the middle to give Samford a 7-0 lead with 9:09 to go in the first quarter.
YSU knotted the score when Mays connected with St. Surin for a 16-yard score to make the score 7-7 with 2:12 left in the opening period. On the second play of Samford’s ensuing drive, YSU’s Cash Mitchell recovered a Welch fumble and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown for a 14-7 Penguin lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter.
Colten McFadden added to the Penguins’ lead with a 43-yard field goal to push YSU’s lead to 17-7 with 10:57 left in the second quarter. Mays threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Josh Burgett with 36 seconds left before halftime to give Youngstown State a 24-7 lead at the break.
After a scoreless third quarter, YSU’s Braxton Chapman scored a 1-yard run with 14:29 to go in the fourth quarter to make the score 31-7. Samford’s Oladokun then hit Washington for a 64-yard touchdown pass, and the two-point conversion was good to cut the lead to 31-15 with 13:37 left in the game.
YSU’s Chapman scored on a one-yard run with 5:16 left to push the lead to 38-15. Oladokun scored on a 10-yard run with 3:17 to go to cut the lead to 38-22. YSU added one final touchdown on a 3-yard run by Christian Turner to make the final score 45-22.
Samford will travel to Cookeville, Tennessee, to take on former Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech next Saturday, Aug. 31. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. Central kickoff.