79TH SHSU HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME
Sam Houston hosts its 79th homecoming football game Saturday in a 7 p.m. duel with McNeese State at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. Since the first SHSU alumni event was played at Joseph Pritchett Field in 1931, the Bearkats stand 37-41-1 in SHSU homecomings.
The Kats' record on the artificial turf at Bowers in homecoming games is 17-9 with SHSU riding a three-game homecoming win streak. However, McNeese State has proved to be a tough homecoming foe. In their six appearances at Bearkat homecomings, the Cowboys have won five times (1994, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2008). SHSU's only homecoming win over McNeese came in 1996.
COMCAST SPORTSNET HOUSTON TV GAME
Saturday's game is being televised on Comcast SportsNet Houston, a new regional sports network based out of Houston and will have a six state regional coverage area. The network launched on Oct. 1 and will also be the new home of the Houston Astros and Houston Rockets.
SERIES WITH McNEESE STATE
McNeese State is the "winningest" Southland football team with 151 victories. They also have the most Southland football titles with 13 including six since 2001. They also lead the league in NCAA Division I playoff appearances with 14.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series 24-8-1, Bearkats won 38-14 last year in Cowboy Stadium. McNeese has never lost football games to Sam Houston in back-to-back seasons. The only time SHSU has ever won two games in a row over the Cowboys was in 1958 and 12 years later when the series was renewed in 1970.
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.
SAM HOUSTON AT BOWERS STADIUM
The Kats went 9-0 at Bowers Stadium in 2012 during their 14-0 run to the NCAA Division I National Championship Game. The feat marked the sixth time SHSU has gone unbeaten in a season at Bowers. The other five seasons were 1986 (6-0), 1987 (4-0), 1990 (4-0), 2001 (6-0) and 2004 (8-0). Sam Houston won it's 2012 season opener at Bowers on Sept. 8, defeating Incarnate Word 54-7 before 11,016 fans, the largest regular season crowd ever at the facility.
KATS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Sam Houston stands No. 6 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 19 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 16 consecutive weeks.
LAST WEEK'S STARS IN NICHOLLS VICTORY
Running back Timothy Flanders ran for three touchdowns as he carried 15 times for 67 yards to become Sam Houston's all-time scoring leader. The junior's career point total now stands at 270, passing kicker Billy Hayes who tallied 258 points between 1985 and 1988. The performance marked Flanders' third time to score three or more touchdowns in one game.
Linebacker Jesse Beauchamp totaled nine tackles including two for 10 yards in losses and a quarterback sack to lead an SHSU defense that produced its second shutout in the past two seasons (the other a 66-0 win over Lamar last year). Sam Houston limited Nicholls to 20 yards rushing and 238 total yards. Beauchamp recovered two Colonel fumbles. One of the recoveries set up SHSU's second touchdown. He also had two pass breakups.
Wide receiver Trey Diller showed his stuff on special teams with a 30-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter and a 49-yard punt return. Both plays set up Bearkat touchdown drives. The senior also caught seven passes for 72 yards to lead SHSU in receiving. Diller now leads Southland in KO returns (30.5 average) and is third in punt returns (10.7)
For the first time since Sept. 8, Sam Houston returns to its home field at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium next Saturday. The Kats will play host to McNeese State for SHSU's annual Homecoming game.
Walter Payton award candidate Timothy Flanders now ranks as the 10th all-time leading rusher in Southland history Saturday. Flanders' career total now stands at 3,159 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 (42) and tied for 5th in career total TDS (with Jordan Buford of McNeese) with 45
Junior quarterback Brian Bell threw his 37th and 38th career TD passes Saturday at Nicholls. He passed Rhett Bomar (37 TD passes in 2007-08) in SHSU's career annals and is one touchdown throw behind all-time leader Dustin Long (39 TD passes in 2004).
Bell, now with 4,467 yards, ranks behind Rhett Bomar (5,964 yards in 2007-08), Arthur Louis (4,902 yards in 1977-80) and Long (4,588 yards in 2004) in SHSU career passing. Bell stands No. 2 in all-time SHSU career total offense with a total of 5,340 yards now. Bomar rolled up the school record of 6,160.
Senior Miguel Antonio is closing in on the school career record for kicking points. His 247 points (124 PAT 41 FG) is 11 behind all-time leader Billy Hayes (258 points in 1985-88).
Wide receiver Trey Diller has shown big-play potential as well this year. The senior leads the Bearkats in both all-purpose yards (808 - 134.7 per game) and receiving (27 catches for 404 yards). He also leads the Southland in kickoff return average (30.6) and has produced 122 yards on 19 punt returns including a long of 49.
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.
Senior safety Darnell Taylor leads Sam Houston in tackles this season with 41. He now ranks No. 7 in Bearkat career tackles with 277.
SOUTHLAND PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Sam Houston State swept the weekly Southland Conference football player of the week honors after its 51-43 win over SFA a week ago and picked up a fourth honor this week as junior linebacker Jesse Beauchamp received "Defensive Player of the Week" honors.
Beauchamp recovered two fumbles, both of which set up SHSU touchdowns, and totaled seven tackles including two for losses in the Kats' 41-0 shutout of Nicholls State last Saturday in Thiboudaux.
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 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.