Kats set to open 2019 at New Mexico

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HUNTSVILLE – Game 1
Saturday, Aug. 31 • Albuquerque, N.M. • 5:06 p.m. CT • Dreamstyle Stadium (39,224)
Sam Houston State (0-0, 0-0 Southland) at New Mexico (0-0, 0-0 Mountain West)
Live Stats • Mountain West Network • KSAM 101.7 FM
@BearkatsFB on Twitter • SHSU Game Notes • New Mexico Game Notes

A new season begins for the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Saturday, when they travel to Albuquerque, N.M. to open up 2019 against New Mexico at Dreamstyle Stadium.

The game will be steamed on the Mountain West Network, while fans can also listen on KSAM 101.7 FM with Rob Hipp and Brian Adams bringing the action over the airwaves.

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.

For those unable to attend the game, an official watch party will be held at The Big E-Z Crawfish and Oyster Bar, located at 2707 Sam Houston Avenue in Huntsville, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

QUICK HITTERS
- Sam Houston State enters 2019 having posted a winning season in each of the past nine 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 winning seasons (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).

- SHSU will open up the 2019 season at New Mexico, marking the first time the Kats have battled an FBS opponent since opening the 2015 season at Texas Tech. The last time SHSU took on the Lobos the Kats left Albuquerque with a 48-45 overtime win in 2011 on its way to the first of back-to-back FCS Championship Game appearances.

- The Kats are 3-28 all-time vs FBS opponents dating back to 1987. Along with defeating New Mexico in Albuquerque in 2011, the Kats also own a 20-9 win over ULM in 2001 and a 21-14 over Louisiana in 2000.

- Since 2011 the Kats have scored at least 23 points in 5 of its 6 FBS games with 3 of those games coming vs teams ranked in the top 12 of the FBS polls. They have averaged 28.7 points per game vs those 6 FBS opponents in that span.

- Senior wide receiver Nathan Stewart is one of just four 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 four straight years.

WITH A BEARKAT WIN …
- K.C. Keeler would win his 227th career game. He is currently 15th all-time among FCS head coaches, 6 wins ahead of former Wofford coach Mike Ayers and former SHSU coach Ron Randleman. He is 3 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 226 victories are the second most among active coaches in the FCS behind only Al Bagnoli of Columbia.

- Keeler would also win his 53rd game as head coach of the Bearkats and would move into sole possession of eighth in the all-time among Southland Conference coaches, breaking a tie with former ULM head man Pat Collins. His 53rd win would also put him just 1 win back of J.W. Jones for third place all-time at SHSU.

- Sam Houston would win its fourth consecutive season opener, not having lost to kick off a season since 2015 at Texas Tech. That game in Lubbock was also the last time the Bearkats opened up a gridiron season in a true road game, with only 2017’s opener vs Richmond (McLane Stadium - Waco, Texas) being a game away from Bowers Stadium.