Home VMI football blasted at Samford, 63-21

VMI football blasted at Samford, 63-21


vmi_logo2The Samford Bulldogs scored 49 points in the first half and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets, 63-21, in Southern Conference football action Saturday at Seibert Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. The game was the SoCon opener for both schools, and was VMI’s first game in the conference since rejoining the league prior to the season.

Unfortunately for the Keydets (1-3, 0-1 SoCon), the tone was set early when Denzel Williams ran 61 yards for a touchdown on SU’s (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) second play from scrimmage. Samford would score the game’s next 49 points, helped by four first-half Keydet turnovers, en route to the eventual win.

In his team’s win, Williams led all individual efforts by posting 178 yards on 16 carries. Krondis Larry gained 128 yards on just 10 carries, and quarterback Michael Eubank ran for four of Samford’s eight rushing touchdowns on the day. All told, the home team gained 433 of their 525 yards on the ground.

In the loss, the Keydets were led by Jabari Turner, who ran for two scores in the second half and now has five rushing touchdowns over VMI’s last two games.

VMI took the opening drive and was forced to punt after three plays. The game started with a good play for the VMI defense – a six yard sack of Eubank by John Washington and Robert de Wolff on Samford’s first play from scrimmage. One play later, Williams ripped off a 61-yard run up the middle to the end zone to open up the scoring with just 3:17 into the game and the extra-point made it 7-0 for the hosts.

VMI on its next possession converted a third-down pass to Dane Forlines at the VMI 39, but Cobb’s long ball over the top on the next play intended for Matthew Nicholson was picked off by Josh Kimberlin and returned 33 yards to the VMI 23. Samford wasted no time as Eubank found the end zone on a 23-yard keeper up the middle and the Bulldog offense had two scores on its first three snaps from scrimmage.

The Bulldogs made it 21-0 on a 5-play, 55-yard drive capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Eubank to Karel Hamilton at the 5:47 mark of the opening quarter.

Kimberlin agonized Cobb again later in the quarter as he picked off a sideline throw at the VMI 45. Eubank and Hamilton connected again on a 24-yard strike to the VMI 4 and Williams raced around the right end for his second touchdown one snap later to make it 21-0 after the extra point.

The Keydets forced Samford to punt on  its first drive of the second quarter, but fumbled it away at its own 15-yard line on its next drive. The Bulldogs made the Keydets pay, but not without a fight from the Keydet defense. Samford was lined up for a 44-yard field goal and elected to run a fake but failed to reach the first down marker on a fourth-and-22. But a personal foul on VMI wiped out the stop and revived the Samford drive at the VMI 16 and Eubank rushed for a seven-yard TD run to extend the margin to 35-0 with 8:41 left in the half.

VMI turned the ball over on its next drive with another fumble when Watts had the ball stripped after catching a pass from Cobb. The Keydet defense forced the Bulldogs to run seven plays to cover 27 yards, but the Bulldogs were able to capitalize when Eubank dove over the top for a one yard score and his third rushing TD of the half. He added his fourth score on a 23-yard fake handoff and run up the middle capping a 6-play, 79 yard drive with :04 left in the first half.

Samford’s 49-0 advantage at halftime was keyed by the 28 points off the four VMI turnovers and the Bulldogs scored on seven of their first eight possessions.

After an exchange of punts to start the second half, Bulldog back Larry Krondis raced around right end for a 68-yard TD dash four minutes into the half.

VMI was able to get on the board with 7:12 left in the third quarter when Turner bounced out of a pile and ran to the right corner for a 5-yard TD. The Keydets added another score on a Turner 1-yard dive that was set up by Watts who rushed four times for 28 yards on the possession. .

The Keydets closed out the scoring on a four-yard TD run by Watts who helped his cause with a 24-yard catch-and-run to the Samford 4.

Watts ended up as VMI’s leading receiver with 6 catches for 50 yards.

VMI returns home next Saturday to face Mercer at Foster Stadium. Kickoff is 1:30.

Head Coach Sparky Woods – “ I was really disappointed in our play. They certainly have a good team. We have to be better than what we showed today. The thing that was so disappointing was the interceptions and the turnovers in the first half and the first long runs that we let them break off. I thought we came back and tried hard in the second half. Proud of our guys for coming back. It was a bad start in the conference. We have to compete better than that.  We have a lot of work to do and we’ll see the film.”



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