Georgia is off to a 2-0 start following its 20-19 road win over No. 24 Notre Dame this past Saturday. Up next the Bulldogs play host to the Samford Bulldogs (2-0), fresh off wins over Kennesaw State and West Alabama. Georgia enters the weekend as No. 13 in both the AP and USA Today coaches polls. Kickoff for the game on Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 PM and will be televised on the SEC Alternate channel.
Samford University is located in Birmingham, AL, and has an enrollment of approximately 5,500 students. Samford is coached by Chris Hatcher, who is in his third season as head coach of the Samford program. Chris Hatcher gave Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart his first full-time coaching job at Valdosta State. Hatcher was the head coach of at Valdosta State from 2000-2006, and he hired Smart to be his defensive backs coach in 2000 and the promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2001. In addition, the Smart and Hatcher families are good friends as Kirby’s dad Sonny, and Chris’s father, Edgar, were both high school coaches in Georgia.
Samford competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and its first season playing football was in 1902. This is the second-ever meeting with Georgia as the schools played in 1943 in Athens as Georgia won 39-0. Back then, Samford was known as Howard. The school changed its name in 1965 to Samford. Samford has an impressive list of former head coaches, including: Bobby Bowden, Pat Sullivan and Terry Bowden.
Samford returns 12 starters from a team that went 7-5 in 2016. Samford qualified for the FCS playoffs last season, but they dropped four of their final five games. Coach Chris Hatcher is known for his wide-open passing attack and brings and experienced signal-caller to Athens in 2016 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year Devlin Hodges. The junior quarterback passed for 340.7 yards per game last year, along with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Hodges’ favorite target so far this season has been Kelvin McKnight. The junior receiver is Samford’s top returning receiver from a year ago.
Currently Vegas does not have a line on this game as Samford is an FCS team and lines on games involving FCS teams generally don’t get posted until game day.