College Station – Walter Payton Award candidate Timothy Flanders moved into second place in all-time Southland Conference rushing Saturday in a 65-28 Sam Houston loss to FBS No. 7 Texas A&M.
Flanders’ 166-yard total on 18 carries marks only the third 100 yards-plus rushing performance by a Bearkat against an FBS opponent. Flanders rushed for 194 yards in a victory at New Mexico in 2011. Charles Harris netted 117 yards again Rice in 1990.
The performance marked the 26th 100-yard rushing game of Flanders career.
The senior running back ran for touchdowns of 11 and 68 yards. He also caught a 33-yard scoring pass to tie the Southland record for career touchdowns (59 set by Brent Grimes of Central Arkansas).
Flanders’ career rushing total now stands at 4,451 yards. He passed Henry Field of McNeese (4,358 yards in 1992-95) to move into second place all-time in Southland annals. Claude Mathis (Southwest Texas 1994-97) holds the conference career mark of 4,694 yards.
Quarterback Johnny Manziel showed why he is a Heisman trophy winner, throwing for 426 yards (including 326 in the first half alone). A crowd of 86,800 attended, the third largest gathering ever to see Sam Houston play football.
Bearkat quarterback Brian Bell completed six passes for 137 yards. Wide receiver Torrance Williams caught three passes for 86 yards. Bell and Williams connected for a 75-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Johntel Franklin led the Bearkat defense with 11 tackles. Eric Fieilo totaled 10 stops and intercepted a Manziel pass. Bookie Sneed added nine tackles.
The Aggies and the Bearkats traded touchdowns on the game’s opening drives. A&M went 81 yards in 11 plays for a one-yard Trey Carson TD run at the 10:52 mark. Then, Sam Houston went 71 yards in 11 plays as Flanders scored from the 11 to tie the game 7-7 at 7:51. Keshawn Hill’s 36-yard run was the big play on the drive.
A&M scored 20 unanswered points on Manziel TD passes to Sabian Holmes for 27 yards and Ja’Quay Williams for 20 yards. Ben Malena scored on a one-yard run.
Bell hit Flanders over the middle for a 33-yard TD pass with 1:59 to play in the half. The five-play, 75-yard scoring drive cut the Aggie margin to 27-14. A 35-yard field goal by Taylor Bertolet on the final play of the half gave A&M an 30-14 lead.
Flanders broke for a 68-yard touchdown run on the third play of the second half to put SHSU within nine, 30-21. The score was the play that moved Flanders into second place in all-time Southland Conference rushing.
Carson scored on another one-yard run and Manziel passed to Brandon Williams for a 10-yard tally to put A&M up 44-21.
Bell passed to Williams for a 75-yard scoring strike on the next play to put the score at 44-28. The pass was the third longest pass in Bell’s four-year career at Sam Houston.
A&M added three more touchdowns on a Manziel six-yard run, a Nate Askew 30-yard interception return and a 14-yard pass from Kenny Hill to Travis Labhart.
Sam Houston begins a four-game home stand next Saturday, hosting Texas Southern at 2 p.m. at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium.