The game ended with a wild fourth quarter where the teams scored a combined 41 points, capped by Spearman Robinson's 49-yard return of a failed Samford onside kick attempt with 46 seconds left.
The Catamounts (5-2, 3-1 Southern) took the lead on Logan Howard's 42-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Mitchell tossed a 9-yard TD pass to Jordan Mathis early in the third quarter. Mathis followed with a 39-yard strike to Karnorris Benson that gave Western Carolina a 35-16 third-quarter lead.
Devlin Hodges was 42 of 61 for 399 yards passing with three touchdowns for Samford (3-4, 1-3), and ran 94 yards on 16 carries.