There are three Southland Conference games on the schedule this week, including league openers for Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State. Lamar will play host to Southeastern Louisiana Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Toyota Game of the Week on the Southland Conference Television Network.
Stephen F. Austin welcomes Central Arkansas Saturday at 6 p.m. and Northwestern State visits McNeese State Saturday at 7 p.m. The only other conference game pits Sam Houston State at Texas Southern Thursday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston at 7 p.m. Nicholls State is off this week before visiting Central Arkansas for its league opener Oct. 6.
Week Five Matchups:
Southeastern Louisiana and Lamar are meeting for just the eighth time in their history. The Lions hold a 4-3 lead in the series, but the Cardinals have won the last two games in the series, winning 29-28 in 2010 and 48-38 last year.
After beating last year's conference champion Sam Houston State last Saturday, Central Arkansas visits Stephen F. Austin, which won league titles in 2009 and 2010. Saturday will be the seventh meeting between the schools. UCA holds a 4-2 edge in the series after snapping a two-game skid in the series last year with a 38-28 win in Conway.
McNeese State will try to bounce back from its stunning 25-24 loss at Southeastern Louisiana last week by welcoming Northwestern State to Lake Charles in the Demons' conference opener. The Cowboys lead the all-time series with Northwestern State 40-20-1 and have won the last seven games dating back to a 47-17 win by Northwestern in 2004. McNeese won 20-18 last year.
Sam Houston State steps out of conference for a Thursday night game against Texas Southern at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The Bearkats and Tigers are meeting for the 14th time but for the first time since 1997. Sam Houston holds an 8-5 lead in the series and won the last meeting 40-7.
Lions and Cardinals Meet on Southland TV:
Southeastern Louisiana will try and ride the momentum of its 25-24 come-from-behind win over McNeese State last week when it visits Lamar Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Toyota Game of the Week on the Southland Conference Television Network.
Three Southland Teams Ranked in FCS Top 25 Polls:
Central Arkansas climbed as many as nine spots in this week's FCS polls after its 24-20 win over defending conference champion Sam Houston State last Saturday. The Bears are No. 16 in the Sports Network poll and rose seven spots to No. 14 in the FCS Coaches' Poll. Sam Houston State remains in the top 10 of the two polls, checking in at No. 9 in the Sports Network rankings and No. 10 in the coaches' poll. McNeese State slipped to No. 24 in the Sports Network poll and No. 21 in the coaches' poll after its 25-24 loss at Southeastern Louisiana. Stephen F. Austin continues to receive votes in the Sports Network poll this week.
Streaks Come and Go:
Central Arkansas ran its conference win streak to seven games when it snapped Sam Houston State's nine-game Southland Conference win streak last Saturday in Conway. The Bears, who won 24-20, also remained unbeaten in seven games on its purple-and-gray striped field that was installed prior to the 2011 season. UCA has the longest win streak in the conference at three games. Nicholls State, which had one of the longest losing streaks in the FCS, snapped its 12-game slide a 73-17 win over Evangel in its home opener. McNeese State's six-game win streak went by the wayside with its 25-24 loss to Southeastern Louisiana, which ended a a six-game skid against the Cowboys.
Sam Houston State Notes:
Sam Houston, the preseason conference favorite, has dropped back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game slide against Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State and McNeese State in 2010
Walter Payton Award candidate Timothy Flanders, who already is Sam Houston's all-time rushing leader, moved up to No. 11 in all-time Southland Conference rushing yards with a career total of 2,918 in 28 games ... he is 82 yards away from becoming the 10th Southland running back to gain more than 3,000 career yards ... he ranks fifth in the conference in career rushing touchdowns (39) and sixth in league annals in total touchdowns (42) ... two more touchdowns will allow Flanders to pass kicker Billy Hayes as the all-time leading scorer in Sam Houston history ... Flanders has scored 252 points ... Flanders leads the conference and ranks 18th in the nation in rushing yardage per game with a 108.7 average including two 100-plus yards performances this season.
WR Trey Diller leads Bearkat receivers with 16 catches for 235 yards and stands 17th nationally in punt returns with a 10.6 average (9 for 95) including a long return of 49 yards ... QB Brian Bell now stands fifth in Bearkat career passing with 4,091 yards in the air including 30 TD passes. Reggie Lewis (1984-87) is the next target standing fourth in the SHSU passing records with 4,269 career yards.
Bearkats step out of conference action to take on Texas Southern Thursday at 7 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston ... Sam Houston leads the all-time series 8-5, but the teams haven't met since the Bearkats claimed a 40-7 win in 1997.
"Battle of the Piney Woods"
The 87th renewal of the SHSU-SFA football rivalry called "The Battle of the Piney Woods" takes place Saturday, Oct. 6 at Reliant Stadium. Crowds of more than 24,500 have attended both previous matchups in Houston and the crowd this year is expected to be even larger.
Tickets for the "Battle of the Piney Woods" are available on line now at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone is (936) 294-1729.
Week Five Southland Conference Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 27
No. 9/10 Sam Houston St. vs. Texas Southern, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29
Southeastern La. at Lamar*, 3 p.m. (SLCTV)
No. 16/14 Central Arkansas at Stephen F. Austin*, 6 p.m.
Northwestern St. at No. 24/21 McNeese St.*, 7 p.m.
All times Central