Cats earn huge upset victory over the vicious Bulldogs

Fun preceded the SoCon opener with live entertainment and snacks, such as funnel cakes, for students and their families, but it only intensified as the Catamounts went into battle with the No. 17 ranked Samford Bulldogs on Sept. 23.

Catamount fans expressing their love by cheering. Photo by Marcus Smith. Sept. 23, 2017

There was no love loss by Catamount fans as they made sure the refs and Bulldog players know they were in attendance. The student section especially showed respect toward Samford as a portion were shouting expletives at them.

This game was a grind-it-out affair that saw the Catamounts come up with a huge upset against the Bulldogs. Both teams showed grit and determination as it came down to the final minute for WCU to pull out the win 38-34.

It took four defensive stops inside the 5-yard line in that closing minute in order for the Cats to get the job done. This is the first top-25 win in the Mark Speir-era, with the last win of this magnitude being in 2006 against Eastern Kentucky. This is only WCU’s third win against the Bulldogs as its most recent win came in 2015.

Detrez Newsome running up the middle. Photo by Marcus Smith. Sept. 23. 2017

The teams displayed heart because members from both teams were banged up throughout including Cats running back Detrez Newsome. Newsome was quiet in the first three quarters, but played like himself through the pain in the fourth quarter ending up with 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

“Detrez is Detrez. The whole time when he did step up in the last quarter, he was injured. When he needs to step up, that’s exactly what he does,” said WCU quarterback Tyrie Adams.

Coach Mark Speir addressed the extent of Detrez Newsome’s injury:

“Don’t know yet, but it was his shoulder. He came back at full strength. We were saying don’t be a hero. We’ll see, but he was in there dancing in the locker room,” said Speir.

For Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges, he was a man on a mission as he passed for 516 yards and four touchdowns without throwing a single interception. Hodges delivered a performance that led him to have the 3rd-most passing yards in SoCon history, as well as set a school record.

Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges prepares to throw the ball downfield. Photo by Marcus Smith. Sept. 23, 2017

The Cats defense did give up 620 yards of total offense, but made up for it when it counted the most. Senior defensive back Keion Crossen feels that the defense is coming around after those big stops and he’s just focusing on continuing to make plays.

Furthermore, the weather was just as electric as the game itself with a lightning delay lasting roughly 20 minutes in the fourth quarter as the Cats were leading 31-27 with 7:23 remaining.

Tyrie Adams on the huge victory against Samford before heading on the road to face Chattanooga:

“We have to celebrate tonight, and then forget about it tomorrow,” said Adams.

The Cats (3-1) head into Finley Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 to face off against the Chattanooga Mocs (1-3) in hopes of keeping its three game winning streak intact.