BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Liam Welch threw for 443 yards and a touchdown, Jay Stanton ran for three scores, and Samford throttled No. 23 Mercer 44-20 on Saturday.
Mercer (5-6, 5-3 Southern Conference) entered needing a win against the Bulldogs combined with a VMI defeat against The Citadel to clinch its first-ever conference championship. But Samford (4-3, 4-3) raced to a 31-7 halftime lead to squash Mercer's hopes.
After Mitchell Fineran's 44-yard field goal put Samford up 3-0 with 4:02 left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs' defense forced a three-and-out. Samford went on a seven-play, 72-yard drive that ended when DeMarcus Ware ran 30 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.