FOUR GAME WINNING STREAK
Sam Houston takes a four-game winning streak and a No. 5 national ranking to Beaumont to take on the Lamar Cardinals Saturday.
The Kats own a 3-1 record to stand in third place in the Southland football race. Southeastern Louisiana (3-0) and Central Arkansas (4-1), the league's first and second place teams duel in Hammond this weekend in another big Southland contest.
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE TV NETWORK GAME
Saturday's game will be telecast to a four-state audience by the Southland Television Network. The KUBE in Houston (Channel 15 on SuddenLink in Huntsville) is the local area outlet.
Sam Houston will be making its 14th television appearance in the past two seasons. Overall, Bearkat games have been telecast 42 times since SHSU moved up to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and the Southland Conference. The Kats have won 24 of those games.
SERIES WITH LAMAR
Sam Houston leads the all-time football series between the Kats and the Cardinals with 23 victories to Lamar's nine wins. There has been one tie between the pair.
The Bearkats are 11-7 against the Cardinals in Beaumont.
KSAM 101.7 FM will broadcast all Sam Houston games home and away again. The broadcast also may be heard anywhere in the world online at www.gobearkats.com. Streaming video of home games at Bowers Stadium is also available at a modest rate.
KATS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Sam Houston stands No. 5 in both the Sports Network Poll and the NCAA FCS Coaches national rankings this week.
SHSU has been in the top 25 in the FCS polls a total of 20 consecutive weeks since debuting in the national poll on Sept. 9, 2011.
During an 11-0 regular season, the Kats rose all the way to No. 1 at just before the national playoffs. Sam Houston has ranked among the FCS top 10 for 17 consecutive weeks.
SHSU AMONG NATION'S STATISTICS LEADERS
The Sam Houston offense ranks No. 4 nationally in scoring (40.6), No. 6 in rushing (272.4) and No. 8 in total offense (473.0).
The defense's national rankings include No. 3 in rushing defense (64.4), No. 20 in total defense (320.6).
Sam Houston leads the Southland in rushing offense and defense, scoring and rushing defense.
LAST WEEK'S STARS IN McNEESE VICTORY
Southland 2011 "Offensive Player of the Year" Richard Sincere (who was slowed early in the season with a nagging injury) exploded back on to the scene Saturday with 12 carries for 132 yards including TD scampers of 44 and 65 yards. The junior produced 155 all-purpose yards for Kat offense rolled up 348 yards rushing and 541 total offense against the nation's No. 2 rushing defense.
With Sincere gaining 132 yards rushing and Timothy Flanders picking up his 19th 100-yard performance with 105 yards, the game marked the fifth time in SHSU history the Kats have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game.
Defensive tackle J. T. Cleveland led a Bearkat defense that allowed McNeese State just 210 yards total offense and 79 yards rushing. After a field goal with 9:47 in the second quarter, the Kats shut out the Cowboys the rest of the game. McNeese netted just three yards on the ground and only 90 yards total offense in the second half. Cleveland totaled three tackles for losses including back-to-back QB sacks on a fourth quarter drive. He ended the night with seven tackles.
Wide receiver Trey Diller totaled 135 all-purpose yards, returning a 44-yard kickoff return that set up the Bearkats' go-ahead touchdown drive in the second quarter. His 20-yard punt return set up the first SHSU TD drive. Diller had caught three passes and fielded five McNeese punts in traffic to help SHSU win the field position war.
Sam Houston's 45-10 victory over McNeese marked the first time in the Kats have defeated the Cowboys in back-to-back calendar years. The win was SHSU's ninth over McNeese in 34 meetings. The 35-point margin also was a record in series history.
Saturday's game marked just Sam Houston's second game at home at Bowers Stadium this season and the Kats' first home game since the opener Sept. 8. The Bearkats played before 10,155 fans Saturday.
Walter Payton award candidate Timothy Flanders now ranks as the 9th all-time leading rusher in Southland history Saturday. Flanders' career total now stands at 3,264 yards. Claude Mathis who gained 4,694 yards rushing from 1994-97 at Southwest Texas State is the all-time Southland career leader. Flanders now stands No. 5 in Southland career rushing TDS (43) and tied for 4th in career total TDS (with Todd Pendland of McNeese) with 46. Flanders chalked up his 19th career 100-yard rushing performance Saturday vs. McNeese with 19 carries for 105 yards and a TD.
Junior quarterback Brian Bell threw his 39th career TD pass Saturday vs. Nicholls to tie previous all-time leader Dustin Long (39 TD passes in 2004) for the school record. Bell, now with 4,840 yards, ranks behind Rhett Bomar (5,964 yards in 2007-08) and Arthur Louis (4,902 yards in 1977-80) in SHSU career passing. Bell stands No. 2 in all-time SHSU career total offense with a total of 5,569 yards now. Bomar rolled up the school record of 6,160.
Senior kicking specialist Miguel Antonio is closing in on a school career record. His 256 points (130 PAT 42 FG) is two points behind all-time leader Billy Hayes (258 points in 1985-88).
Senior safety and last year's Southland "Defensive Player of the Year" Darnell Taylor totaled six solo and two assisted tackles in the McNeese victory to become only the fourth Bearkat defender to chalk up more than 200 career solo stops. Taylor has 205 solo tackles. The school career record is 215 by Stan Blinka (1975-78)
Wide receiver Trey Diller has shown big-play potential as well this year. The senior leads the Bearkats in both all-purpose yards (950 - 135.7 per game), receiving (30 catches for 453 yards), punt returns (11.0 per return) and kickoff returns (31.1 average)
Junior cornerback Bookie Sneed snapped Sam Houston record that had stood since 1968 with his 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter of the SFA game Saturday. Paul Wenzel returned an interception 90 yards against Sul Ross for the Kat mark that stood for 44 years.
Senior cornerback Dax Swanson intercepted passes against Baylor and Texas Southern to up his career total to 12 interceptions. Ronnie Choate (1955-59) holds the SHSU career interception record with 13. Gary Kimble (1981-84) and Mark Hughes (2001-04) also picked off 12 career interceptions.
Junior Preston Sanders blocked a field goal and an extra point to move into fourth place in career blocks with five. Four of the five blocks have been field goals, a school mark.
Senior Kenneth Jenkins picked up Sanders' PAT block after Texas Southern's only TD and returned it for a defensive PAT return, only the second in SHSU school history. The first was by Courtney Boston against Mississippi Valley State in 2001.
SOUTHLAND PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Sam Houston players have received weekly Southland Conference "Player of the Week" honors six times this year.
WildKat back Richard Sincere and defensive tackle J. T. Cleveland were the league's offensive and defensive selections, respectively, after the 45-10 win over No. 21 McNeese.
Sincere produced 155 all-purpose yards and scored two rushing TDs while Cleveland posted seven tackles including three for losses.
Linebacker Jesse Beauchamp won the defensive honor after a 41-0 shutout at Nicholls State. Beauchamp recovered two fumbles, both of which set up SHSU touchdowns, and totaled seven tackles including two for losses.
Sam Houston State swept the weekly Southland Conference football player of the week honors after its 51-43 win over SFA.
Junior quarterback Brian Bell was the offensive player of the week, junior cornerback Bookie Sneed won defensive honors and senior punter Matt Foster was the special teams player of the week after the Kats' 51-43 win over rival Stephen F. Austin Oct. 6.
Bell picked up 22nd career victory as starting quarterback for Sam Houston against SFA, directing the offense to 51 points.
Sneed returned an interception 92 yards for touchdown that put SHSU in the lead, 20-14, with 5:55 remaining in 2nd quarter. .
Foster helped Sam Houston win the field position battle with a 45.1 average, including long of 61 yards. The senior from Melbourne, Australia, landed three punts inside the 20.
Sam Houston is the favorite to repeat as Southland Conference champions according to the 2012 preseason poll of the league's head coaches. The Bearkats' 2011 Southland football championship was their fourth in the program's 25 years in the league. However, the first three were co-championships, making the 2011 title the Bearkats' first undisputed league crown.
Sam Houston has 29 players with at least one start in the lineup. Bearkat offensive players have combined for 248 total starts while the defense has totaled 265.
Ten Bearkats have totaled more than 20 starts in their careers.
BLOCK PARTY RETURNS
A Bearkat tradition established by head coach Willie Fritz when he was an assistant at Sam Houston in the early 1990s has returned.
The SHSU "Block Party" produced six blocks last season and three this year. Preston Sanders has a PAT and FG block while Vincent Dotson blocked a punt against Texas Southern.
The school record for blocks in one season is five by Trey Woods (1993) and DeJuan Davis (2002).
After Fritz started the "Block Party" in 1991, Sam Houston blocked 80 punts, field goals and extra points in the 14 seasons up to 2004.