Kats return home to host UIW

Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 2:13 PM CDT
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Game 4

Saturday, Sept. 21 • Huntsville • 6:05 p.m. CT • Bowers Stadium (12,975)

Sam Houston State (1-2, 0-0 Southland) vs Incarnate Word (1-1)

Southland Conference play will kick off for the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Saturday when they host Incarnate Word at Bowers Stadium in a game presented by Bill Fick Ford.

The game will air live in the and can be viewed on ESPN3. Tom Franklin will be on the call, in addition to Shea Walker providing color commentary.

It can also be heard locally on KSAM 101.7 FM with Rob Hipp and Brian Adams in the booth bringing the action over the airwaves, and Dave Fanucchi on the sidelines.

Fans are also encouraged to follow @BearkatsFB and @BearkatSports on Twitter and Instagram for updates and behind-the-scenes looks throughout the weekend and the 2019 season.


- Sam Houston enters Saturday ranked eighth in the FCS in rushing defense (76.7 ypg). They have allowed 230 yards rushing on 94 attempts for the season. Of those 230 yards rushing allowed, 152 have come on just 3 plays with the remaining 91 attempts yielding just 78 yards for the year.

- Defensively the Kats are also holding firm on third down, ranking second in the nation in opponent’s third-down conversions, allowing just 8 for 46 (17.4 percent).

- Sam Houston State entered 2019 having posted a winning season in each of the past 9 years, not having a sub-.500 season since the 2009 team went 5-6. The streak is the longest in school history, with the next most being 5 years in a row from 1952-56 under Paul Pierce.

- Currently, Jacksonville State holds the most consecutive years with a winning season in all of the FCS, entering 2019 with 16 straight (last losing season in 2002), while Eastern Washington has 12 (last losing season in 2006) and North Dakota State also has 9 (last losing season in 2009).

- Senior wide receiver Nathan Stewart is 1 of just 4 players in FCS history to reach 1,000 yards receiving as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Should he reach 1,000 receiving yards again in 2019 he would join Terrell Hudgins (Elon) and Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) as the only players in FCS history to do so in 4 straight years. Through 3 games in 2019 he has 108 yards receiving on 12 catches.


- K.C. Keeler would win his 228th career game. He is currently 15th all-time among FCS head coaches, 7 wins ahead of former Wofford coach Mike Ayers and former SHSU coach Ron Randleman. He is 2 wins behind former Ohio State and Youngstown State head coach Jim Tressell for 14th all-time among coaches who spent at least 10 years at FCS schools. Keeler’s 227 victories are the second most among active coaches in the FCS behind only Al Bagnoli of Columbia.

- Keeler would win his 54th game as head coach of the Bearkats and would be 4 wins behind former Lamar head coach Vernon Glass for seventh all-time among Southland Conference coaches. It would also move him into sole possession of third place in coaching wins all-time at SHSU, breaking a tie with former SHSU head coach J.W. Jones.

- The Kats would avoid dropping back-to-back games for the third time in the last 2 seasons. Prior to last year the Kats had not dropped consecutive games since 2015 and had not dropped back-to-back game against FCS opponents since 2013.

- Sam Houston would move to 16-17-1 in Southland Conference openers. The Kats have won 7 of their last 10 league openers dating back to 2009.


- Through its first 2 games of the year the Bearkats had not thrown an interception, but that all came to an end quickly against North Dakota. Eric Schmid threw the first of his 2 interceptions of the day on the game’s opening drive and Ty Brock was picked off on the Kats’ ensuing drive. Of the Kats’ 3 interceptions thrown, 2 led to North Dakota touchdowns.

- The Bearkat defense held North Dakota to just 281 yards of offense, including 91 on the ground. It was the seventh time in the K.C. Keeler era that the Bearkats have held an opponent under 300 yards, and the least amount of yards allowed in a true road game since the Kats allowed just 177 yards at Houston Baptist in 2014.

- Even though interceptions were a hindrance on the offensive side, the Kats also got a big interception of their own late in the game from junior Zyon McCollum. It was the second interception in as many weeks for McCollum and the eighth of his career, putting him in a tie for eighth all-time at SHSU with Billy Anderson, Frank Fryer and Don Villars. Next on the list is Charles Stanley in seventh place with 9 picks from 1976-77.

- SHSU came up short on a 4th & 2 from the UND 10-yard line with a minute to play, but prior to that play they had been successful on those money downs. In fact, the Kats converted on each of their first 3 fourth-down tries of the game prior to the final play.

- The Fighting Hawks exploded for a 56-yard touchdown by Brock Boltmann in the opening quarter, but aside from that lone play, had very little success on the ground as their other 29 rushing attempts for the game yielded just 35 yards.

- Nathan Stewart had 3 grabs in the game and now has 194 for his career. He needs just 6 more catches to become the fourth Bearkat in program history and the ninth in Southland Conference history with 200 career catches.


- The Bearkats committed 7 turnovers (4 fumbles, 3 INT) against the Cardinals, the most by the Bearkats since they committed 7 (4 fumbles, 3 INT) in a 38-14 loss to then No. 18 Northern Arizona on Nov. 15, 2003.

- The Bearkat wide receiving corps was one of the highlights from the game as 7 players hauled in at least 2 passes in the game. Three of those players were freshmen at the time, including former Carthage teammates Dee Bowens and Dewaylon Ingram. Bowens turned in what was his second straight 100-yard game of the year with 108 yards on 7 grabs, while Ingram pulled in his first touchdown as a Bearkat.

- Nathan Stewart had his biggest day of the season, catching 7 passes for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both coming on big plays. His 75-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the longest play of the year for the Bearkats, surpassing a 73-yard touchdown catch he had as a true freshman in 2016 vs SFA. The game also marked the second straight game that both Bowens and Stewart had surpassed the 100-yard mark together.

- UIW took advantage of the Bearkats’ miscues, scoring 23 of its 43 points off thee Kats’ 7 turnovers, including all 16 points in the first half. They started 6 of their drives inside of SHSU territory, and managed to put up 43 points despite being just 1-for-13 on third downs.

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