Bearkats prepare for PV in season opener

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Saturday, Sept. 8 • Huntsville • 6:05 p.m. • Bowers Stadium (12,975)
No. 4 Sam Houston State (0-0, 0-0 SLC) vs Prairie View (1-1, 0-0 SWAC)

BEARKAT BYTES
- With its 7-0 record at home in 2017, Sam Houston extended its win streak at Bowers Stadium to 20 games, setting a new mark for the second longest home win streak in school history. Entering 2018, the streak is the longest current streak in the FCS with the last loss coming to Lamar on Sept. 19, 2015 by a 49-46 score. Since the start of 2011, the Kats have been nearly perfect on the Bowers Stadium turf, having won 47 of their last 49 games in front of their home crowd.

- The Kats opened up the 2018 season ranked No. 4 in the preseason STATS FCS poll, keeping a trend going of being ranked in every STATS FCS poll since K.C. Keeler took over the program in 2014. Additionally, the last poll without the Kats ranked inside the top 10 was on Nov. 9, 2015.

- Offense has not been a problem under K.C. Keeler. In 57 games since 2014, the Kats have scored 30 or more points 46 times, going 42-4 in those games. They have reached the 40-point mark 33 times, going 31-2 in those games. They have exceeded the 50-point plateau at Bowers Stadium 12 times under Keeler and 15 times overall.

- The Kats surpassed the 600-yard mark of total offense seven times in 2017, setting a new program record for the most 600-yard games in program history. Of the 21 total times it’s happened in school history, 16 times have come since Keeler took over for the 2014 season.

- As a true freshman, cornerback Zyon McCollum picked off 3 passes in 2017, including a pair in the FCS playoffs. He became the first Bearkat freshman with 3 INTs in a season since Mark Hughes had 4 during his redshirt freshman season in 2001. McCollum was the first Bearkat true freshman to do so since Mike Nelms had 5 in 1973. He is a preseason all-SLC second team choice for 2018.

- McCollum started 10 games in 2017 but was not the only true freshman cornerback to see significant time in 2017 for the Kats. Jaylen Thomas also started 12 games in 2017 as a true freshman, eventually earning honorable mention all-league honors. Between them, there were eight games last season that saw SHSU start the true freshman duo at cornerback.

- K.C. Keeler has won 9 playoff games with the Bearkats. Sam’s second-round win over South Dakota was his 8th, breaking a tie with Willie Fritz for the most playoff victories as the most ever by a Bearkat head coach.

SHSU just missed out on becoming the fourth team in FCS history with three 1,000-yard receivers on its roster, but bring back two of their big three from a year ago. Davion Davis and Nathan Stewart combined to top all of FCS with 2,854 yards as a duo and will be looking to continue their assault on the SHSU and Southland record books this fall.

WITH A BEARKAT WIN …
- K.C. Keeler would win his 221st career game. He is currently 16th all-time among FCS head coaches, 2 wins ahead of former Wofford coach Mike Ayers and former SHSU coach Ron Randleman. Next up on the list is former Wagner head coach Walt Hameline who is 15th with 223 wins from 1981-2014.

- Sam Houston would pick up its fifth straight win in a season opener played at home. The last time the Kats lost a season opener played at Bowers Stadium was in 2009 vs Western Illinois.

- The Kats would move to 18-7 all-time against opponents out of the SWAC and 2-1 all-time against Prairie View.

- Sam Houston would run its home win streak to 21 games in a row. The last SHSU home loss came vs Lamar by a 49-46 score on Sept. 19, 2015. Sam Houston is approaching its all-time record win streak of 23 games that stretched from 2010 to 2014, while the current 20-game win streak is the longest current streak in all of FCS. Since 2011, Sam Houston is 47-2 in 49 games at home.