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Samford Athletics | September 2, 2022

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

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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. 

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"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.

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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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