Samford takes down Gardner-Webb, remains unbeaten


BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.Samford junior running back Fabian Truss scored four touchdowns, three rushing and one on a kickoff return, to lead the Bulldog football team to a 44-23 win at Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon. {} With the win, Samford improves to 3-0 on the season, marking the first 3-0 start for the Bulldogs since 1995. Gardner-Webb falls to 0-3 with the loss. {} Truss' four touchdowns tie a Samford single-season record, accomplished by seven different players, most recently by Kelsey Pope against Stillman in 2011. Truss tallied 262 all-purpose yards, 84 rushing, 32 receiving and 146 on kickoff returns. Truss scored on runs of three, three and 42 yards, and on a kickoff return of a career-long 97 yards. {} Samford's Andy Summerlin completed 23-of-33 passes for 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Pope had six receptions for 45 yards. {} Jaquiski Tartt and Darion Sutton led the Samford defense with 11 tackles each. Tae Lewis had an interception for the Samford defense. {} "I thought we played well in the first half," Samford head coach Pat Sullivan said. "This was a pretty good football team we played. We needed some plays in the second half, and we made a few big plays. Obviously, Fabian made some plays in the kicking game and the one big run he had, and then Tae Lewis made a big play for us with the interception." {} Truss' kickoff return for a touchdown was the second of his career, with the other score coming on an 82-yard return against Western Carolina in 2011. {} "I saw a seam and I just hit it," Truss said of the kickoff return. "I just gave it my all and tried to take it back all the way." {} Gardner-Webb quarterback Lucas Beatty completed 30-of-43 passes for 320 yards and an interception. Seth Cranfill caught nine passes for 75 yards, while Carlton Heard had seven catches for 107 yards. Kenny Little rushed 23 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. {} Samford jumped on top first when Truss scored on a three-yard run with 4:19 to go in the first quarter. Cameron Yaw added the extra point to give Samford a 7-0 lead. Gardner-Webb tied the score with just 10 seconds to go in the first quarter when Little scored on an 11-yard run. Trever Austin added the extra point to make the score 7-7. {} Samford took the lead again on its first drive of the second quarter. Summerlin hit Riley Hawkins for a 14-yard touchdown, and Yaw added the PAT for a 14-7 Samford lead with 12:31 to go in the second quarter. {} The Bulldogs added another touchdown when Truss scored on his second three-yard run of the game. Yaw's extra point pushed Samford's lead to 21-7 with 6:12 to go in the second quarter. GWU's Austin kicked a 30-yard field goal with 16.8 seconds to go in the second quarter to send the teams to halftime with Samford holding a 21-10 lead. {} Gardner-Webb scored the first touchdown of the third quarter when Juanne Blount scored on a six-yard run, and Austin added the PAT to cut the Samford lead to 21-17 with 9:39 left in the third quarter. The drive was set up when Gianni Olivas intercepted a Summerlin pass, giving GWU the ball at the Samford 23-yard line. {} Samford's Truss took the ensuing kickoff back for a career-long 97 yard touchdown. Yaw added the PAT to give Samford a 28-17 lead with 9:27 left in the third quarter. Truss struck again, this time on a 42-yard run for his third rushing touchdown of the game. Yaw's PAT made the score 35-17 with 3:26 left in the third quarter. {} Gardner-Webb's Little scored on a three-yard run with 6:55 to go in the game. Samford's Alvin Hines II, however, intercepted the two-point conversion and returned it 100 yards to give Samford two points and make the score 37-23. {} Samford added one final score on a two-yard run by Stanley Robinson to make the final score 44-23. The score was set up when Lewis intercepted a Beatty pass and returned it to the GWU four yard-line. {} Samford will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 22, when the Bulldogs play at Western Carolina. The game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. start from Cullowhee, N.C.