Huntsville, TX- In a meeting between two of the top-ranked Football Championship Subdivision teams in the country Saturday, No. 4 Sam Houston State beat No. 2 Eastern Washington, 49-34.
SHSU running back Timothy Flanders ran for 280 yards, two touchdowns and became just the 22nd back in FCS history to record 5,000 career yards on the ground.
Brian Bell completed just four of eight pass attempts, but two of those went for touchdowns of 18 and 50 yards, respectively.
Both offenses jumped out to strong starts with each scoring a touchdown in the first three offensive plays. Richard Sincere, lined up in the read option set, faked the handoff to running back Timothy Flanders and took a 51-yard run to the end zone.
Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams responded with a pass in the middle of the field to Cory Mitchell, who went for a 48-yard reception down to the SHSU 2-yard line. The Eagles took the lead with a 33-yard pass play to Ashton Clark.
But the Kats dominated the second quarter. Bell kept the ball on a read option play to score from eight yards out. De’Antrey Loche intercepted a pass by Adams and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Bell and Williams connected for an 18-yard touchdown pass with just 21 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Cooper Kupp caught a 59-yard pass from Adams earlier in the quarter and the Kats took a 28-20 into halftime.
SHSU picked up where it left off after intermission. Flanders scored on a 60-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. After Eastern Washington running back Demitrius Bronson rushed for a three-yard touchdown, Bell and Williams connected for another score, this time on a 50-yard pass.
Flanders ran for his second touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter, taking it from 12 yards out.
The win improves the Kats record to 4-1. For the Eagles (2-2), it’s the first loss of the season against a non-FBS opponent.