Kats set to open FCS playoffs

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HUNTSVILLE – Game 11 – FCS Playoffs Second Round
Saturday, Dec. 2 • Huntsville • 2:00 p.m. • Bowers Stadium (12,593)
No. 6 Sam Houston State (10-1, 8-1 SLC) vs South Dakota (8-4, 4-4 MVFC)
Live Stats • ESPN3 • @BearkatsFB on Twitter • Complete SHSU Game Notes

The Sam Houston State Bearkats will begin their playoff push on Saturday when they host the South Dakota Coyotes at Bowers Stadium in the second round of the 2017 FCS Playoffs.

The Bearkats were awarded the No. 6 overall seed in the playoff bracket following a 10-1 regular season and were off last week during the first round. Meanwhile, South Dakota traveled to Thibodaux, La., where they held off Nicholls, 38-31, to advance to take on the Bearkats on Saturday.

It is the seventh straight playoff appearances for the Bearkats, with each of those seasons including at least one home game. Sam Houston is 17-10 all-time in the FCS Playoffs, including a perfect 11-0 at Bowers Stadium.

Saturday’s game will mark the first time the two teams have ever met and will pit two of the nation’s top offenses in the nation against each other. The Kats rank No. 1 in the nation in total offense and scoring, while the Coyotes are second in the FCS in offense and fifth in scoring.

The primary reason of the success of the offenses is the play of the quarterbacks with Jeremiah Briscoe and USD’s Chris Streveler being two of the top signal callers in the FCS. Briscoe, last year’s Walter Payton Award winner, currently leads the FCS with 353.9 passing yards per game and 37 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Streveler was the Missouri Valley Player of the Year in 2017 and comes to Huntsville ranking second in the FCS in total offense with 356.9 yards per game, including 301.2 through the air. He has thrown 27 touchdowns to just six interceptions while accounting for another 10 scores on the ground.

Unlike the Kats, whose receiving trio of Yedidiah Louis, Nathan Stewart and Davion Davis account for nearly 75 percent of the team’s receiving yards, the Coyotes do their work in bulk outside of Streveler. They sport 13 players with at least 100 yards receiving this year with no player accounting for more than Shamar Jackson’s 690 yards.

Defensively South Dakota is led by defensive end Darin Greenfield who ranks in the top 10 nationally in both sacks and tackles for loss. Under second year head coach Bob Nielson the Coyotes have held teams to just 146 yards per game on the ground with five teams finishing with less than 100 yards of rushing.

Tickets may be purchased at GoBearkats.com, by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at (936) 294-1729 or at the West Box Office of Bowers Stadium.

Playoff ticket pricing will be $18 for general admission, $23 for bleacher reserved and $30 for reserved chairbacks. Premium seating is available in the Bearkat Champions Football lounge for $150 per seat.

The first 500 student tickets will be complimentary courtesy of the Division of Student Affairs. Students may pick up tickets at the West Box Office and during ticket office hours during the week until the allotment runs out. Student tickets will be $5 for the playoff game once the 500 complimentary tickets are gone.

Saturday’s game will be aired live on ESPN3 with David Saltzman on play-by-play and Dustin Fox providing color analysis. Fans can also listen live on KSAM 101.7 FM with Kooter Roberson and E.P. Garth in the booth, and Brian Adams patrolling the sidelines.

Live stats are available to fans, in addition to live updates being provided by following @BearkatsFB on Twitter.

- K.C. Keeler would win his 219th career game. He is currently tied for 16th all-time among FCS head coaches with Wofford’s Mike Ayers and former Bearkat head coach Ron Randleman. Next up on the list is former Wagner head coach Walt Hameline who is 15th with 223 wins from 1981-2014.

- K.C. Keeler would win his eighth playoff game with the Bearkats. He is currently tied with Willie Fritz with seven playoff victories as the most ever by a Bearkat head coach.

- Sam Houston would win its 79th game since the beginning of the 2011 season. The Kats and North Dakota State are the only two teams in the FCS with 70 victories since the beginning of the 2011 campaign.

- Sam would extend its win streak at Bowers Stadium to 19 games, setting a new mark for the second longest home win streak in school history. The streak is the longest current streak in the FCS with the last loss at Bowers 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 45 of their last 47 games in front of their home crowd overall. The current school record for consecutive home victories is 23 in a row that stretched from 2010 to 2014.

- The Kats would move to 12-0 all-time in playoff games played in Huntsville. The Kats have played, and won, at least one home playoff game in each of the last seven seasons.

- Sam Houston would advance to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs for the fourth straight season. Only the Bearkats and North Dakota State have been in the FCS quarterfinals each of the past three seasons entering 2017.

- Sam Houston would get its first win over a Missouri Valley Football Conference School since 2011. That year the Kats knocked off Western Illinois, 20-6, to open the season on Sept. 1 in Huntsville on their way to a 15-1 season and a berth in their first FCS Championship game. SHSU is 0-3 all-time against the MVFC in the FCS Playoffs with each loss coming to North Dakota State, twice in the FCS Championship game (2011 & 2012) and in Fargo in the FCS semifinals in 2014.

- The Kats reached 10 wins in 2017, hitting double-digit wins for the fourth consecutive season and the sixth time in the last seven years. In its now 102-year history, Sam Houston has won at least 10 games 9 times (1956, 2001, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017).

- For the first time since Oct. 13, 1979, three Bearkat receivers surpassed the century mark. Nathan Stewart hauled in 3 touchdowns to go alongside 198 yards while Yedidiah Louis accounted for 125 yards and a score. Davion Davis also added 108 yards and a touchdown.

- Jeremiah Briscoe’s career accolades just continue to grow, and he added to them against HBU. The senior signal caller threw for 5 touchdowns, giving him 108 for his career and surpassed the 10,000-yard mark in passing yards for his career. He is now second all-time in the history behind SFA’s Jeremy Moses for the most in league history and is one of just 3 quarterbacks in SLC lore to throw for 100 scores. Only he and SFA quarterbacks Brady Attaway and Moses have reached 10,000 passing yards as members of the SLC.

- Corey Avery’s had just 124 rushing yards on the ground against HBU, giving him 3,077 yards and 36 touchdowns for his career. He holds sole possession of second place all-time at SHSU, trailing only Timothy Flanders in both categories. Flanders’ 5,644 yards and 66 rushing touchdowns are both the most in Sam Houston and Southland Conference history. He needs just 47 yards to join Flanders as the only 2 Kats ever with 3,000 yards rushing.