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Samford Athletics | September 2, 2022

FCS football scores: Samford stuns No. 6 Kennesaw State in Week 1 upset

FCS football season preview: Players to watch, potential upsets and more

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Samford football team thrillingly opened the 2022 season as the Bulldogs toppled No. 6 Kennesaw State 27-17 at Seibert Stadium on Thursday night.
 
With the win, moves Samford to 1-0 on the young season and 6-2 in season openers under head coach Chris Hatcher. The victory also marks the Bulldogs' first win over a Top 25 opponent since the spring 2021 senior day win of No. 23 Mercer. 

👀: 7 storylines to know heading into the 2022 FCS football season

"All around, we just kept playing and never panicked," Hatcher said. "All in all, Our guys just believed. It was just a complete team win over a really good football team and we are excited to get this one under our belts. 

In his Samford debut, quarterback Michael Hiers completed 18-of-24 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Kendall Watson caught nine passes for a career-best 187 yards and two scores, while Chandler Smith hauled in a pair of touchdowns and 67 yards on three receptions.

Jay Stanton paced the Bulldogs on the ground with 16 carries for 90 yards.

RANKINGS: Check out the latest FCS rankings

Following a Samford punt on the opening drive of the game, Kennesaw State drove 80 yards on eight plays to take an early 7-0 lead when the Owls' Presto Daniels scored from 26 yards out with 8:55 left in the opening frame.

The Owls held a 7-0 advantage after opening 15 minutes before Hiers found Watson for a 28-yard touchdown to tie the game before the aerial duo linked up on six-yard to put Samford on top 14-7 at the break.

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In a game of runs, Kennesaw State took a 17-14 lead into the ever-important fourth quarter after splitting the uprights on a 38-yard field goal and two-yard touchdown plunge. 

Over the final 15 minutes, it was all Samford. Hiers found Smith for back-to-back touchdowns putting the Bulldogs up 27-14 with 3:10 remaining.

WATCH: The first FCS kickoff return for a touchdown of 2022
 
Kourtlan Marsh sealed the upset victory with a game-winning end zone interception on KSU's final drive to preserve the Bulldog 27-14 win.

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