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Samford Second Half Rally Downs Furman, 38-25

Grayson Atkins
Grayson Atkins

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Samford capitalized on a pair of third quarter turnovers to erase a nine-point deficit en route to a 38-25 victory over Furman in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.

Quarterback Devlin Hodges completed 40-of-52 pass attempts for 402 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for a score as the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-2 SoCon) compiled 479 yards of total offense.

Paladin placekicker Grayson Atkins matched an NCAA Division I record for most 50-yard field goals in a game by connecting on attempts of 50, 51, and 53 yards — part of a four-field goal performance — for Furman (2-4, 2-2 SoCon), which had its six-game home winning streak halted with the setback.

The Paladins lost starting quarterback Harris Roberts, the SoCon's reigning player of the week, to an apparent concussion late in the first quarter but managed to rally from a 10-3 deficit to take a 12-10 lead on Atkins' fourth field goal of the first half — a career-best 53-yarder set up by an Elijah McKoy interception at the 50-yard line with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.

Roberts' replacement, true freshman Darren Grainger, extended Furman's lead to 19-10 lead when he connected with Thomas Gordon on a 77-yard touchdown pass five minutes into the third quarter.

The Paladins appeared set to add to their lead after safety Aaquil Annoor extended Samford's run of scoreless possessions to six when he intercepted a Hodges pass and returned it to the Samford 37.  Following a Devin Wynn 12-yard run to the Bulldog 25, Grainger fumbled an option pitch, which Ahmad Gooden scooped up and returned 58 yards for a touchdown.

Gooden's score ignited a run of four straight touchdowns by Samford, including scoring tosses of 9 and 30 yards by Hodges, who also reached the end zone on a 7-yard run to help the Bulldogs build a 38-19 advantage.

Grainger completed 4-of-10 passes for 92 yards in his first action since Sept. 22 against East Tennessee State.  Devin Wynn paced all rushers with 13 carries for 83 yards, and Corey Watkins had eight carries for 78 yards.  Furman finished with 233 yards rushing.

Atkins backed up his 4-for-4 field goal performance by averaging 45.8 yards on six punts and six kickoffs, four of which went for touchbacks.

Elijah McKoy and Jordan Willis registered 11 and 10 tackles, respectively, to lead Furman's defense.

Furman plays at The Citadel next Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. contest.