Kats to close regular season with HBU

By  | 

HUNTSVILLE – With the FCS Playoffs looming, the No. 4 Sam Houston State Bearkats have one final chance to impress the committee and solidify a potential opening-round bye in its regular season finale on Saturday afternoon against Houston Baptist.

The game will serve as Faculty & Staff Appreciation Day, presented by HBI Office Solutions, providing Sam Houston faculty and staff up to four free tickets by presenting their Bearkat OneCard to the west box office by the end of business on Friday.

Fans attending the game should be aware of the closure to all traffic at the intersection of Bobby K. Marks Drive and Bowers Boulevard.

The Kats have won six games in a row since stumbling at Central Arkansas and have climbed back up to No. 4 in both the STATS FCS and NCAA Coaches polls. They are one of just four teams in the nation along with James Madison, North Dakota State and Jacksonville State to have maintained a spot inside the STATS FCS top 10 all season.

SHSU will honor this year’s senior class prior to the game, the first four-year class to come through SHSU under head coach K.C. Keeler, and they have rewrote the record book in that span. With 43 wins since 2014, it is the winningest senior class in Bearkat history.

Directed by quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe, the Bearkat offense continues to pace the nation in total offense and scoring after its dramatic 44-35 victory last week at Abilene Christian. The Kats squandered a 31-7 third-quarter lead as ACU scored 28 unanswered points to take a 35-31 lead with under six minutes to play in the game. But the Kats answered on the following drive with a 15-yard score from Briscoe to Yedidiah Louis and after a defensive stop, Davion Davis unleashed a 52-yard punt return score to cap the win.

Meanwhile, the Huskies will close out what has been a tough season that still has them looking for their first Southland win. They have been close in a number of games, dropping their last three contests by an average of just five points, including a 10-7 loss to Northwestern State on a Demon field goal on the game’s final play.

They rank fourth in the Southland in scoring defense, but is averaging a league-worst 256 yards per game on offense with only 11 offensive touchdowns scored this season. Linebacker Garrett Dolan headlines the Husky roster, leading the Southland with 131 total tackles, 34 more than any other player in the league.

Saturday’s game will be aired live on ESPN3 with Tom Franklin on play-by-play, Ken Moore providing color analysis and Maya Golden on the sidelines. 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.

Wide receivers Yedidiah Louis and Davion Davis each have 26 career touchdown receptions entering Saturday. The current school record for career touchdown catches is 27 set by Matt Dominguez.

Corey Avery needs just 47 more rushing yards to join Timothy Flanders as the only Bearkats in history with 3,000 career rushing yards.

With a win, the Kats would pick up their 10thwin of the season. It would be the fourth consecutive season the Kats have done so, and six of the last seven years. Sam Houston has won 10 games in a season 8 times entering this year.

With a win, the Kats would extend their home win streak to 18 games. The current school record is 23 wins in a row at Bowers Stadium.

Sam Houston has been dominant in four games in the series against the Huskies after HBU began football in 2013. In four games the Kats have outscored the Huskies 265-30, including a 52-16 win in Houston a year ago.

- K.C. Keeler would win his 218th career game. He is currently tied for 17th all-time among FCS head coaches with Wofford’s Mike Ayers. One spot ahead of them on the all-time list is former SHSU head coach Ron Randleman, who sits 16th with 218 career wins.

- Sam Houston would win its 78th 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.

- The Kats would reach 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 8 times (1956, 2001, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016).

- Sam would extend its win streak at Bowers Stadium to 18 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 44 of their last 46 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.

- It was a record-setting day for senior defensive lineman P.J. Hall in Abilene. Hall set a new FCS record with his 81st career tackle for loss in the first quarter, snapping a tie with Southern Utah’s James Cowser for that mark. He also blocked a field goal, the 13th blocked kick of his career. That snapped a tie with former Bearkat Trey Woods and set a new Sam Houston State record in that category.

- Jeremiah Briscoe’s career accolades just continue to grow, and he added to them against ACU. The senior signal caller threw for five touchdowns, giving him 103 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 three quarterbacks in SLC lore to throw for 100 scores. His 350 yards in the game also left him just 86 yards away from reaching 10,000 for his career. Only SFA quarterbacks Brady Attaway and Moses have reached 10,000 passing yards as members of the SLC.

- The Bearkats were all over the field defensively and picked off four passes against ACU. It was the most interceptions in a game for Sam Houston since picking off four in a win over Stephen F. Austin in Houston in 2011.

- Yedidiah Louis has already set records as a senior, but set the bar a little higher for himself on Saturday. Louis tied his career high with 11 receptions, but set a new career high with 187 receiving yards. He has been spectacular after missing 2 games due to injury, catching 27 passes for 365 yards and four scores in his last 3 games.

- Sam Houston racked up 7.0 tackles for loss against the Wildcats. They have gone 37 consecutive games with at least 3.0 TFLs and have totaled 31.0 TFLs over the last 4 games.