Cowboys brand Kats 47-10

Homecoming was forgettable for the Sam Houston State Bearkat football team Saturday afternoon, as the McNeese State Cowboys used a dominating second half performance in a 47-10 win.The nation’s No. 2 team scored 23 third quarter points and added another 10 in the fourth quarter to open up what appeared to be a close contest in the first half.”Now, why can we play the way we did for two quarters and not sustain-that is what troubles me,” said Ron Randleman, Bearkat head coach in the post game press conference. “Is our football team the one I saw for six quarters, four against SFA and two against McNeese, or are we what I saw those last two quarters? Which I thought was as bad as I have seen. I was embarrassed.”After SHSU kicker Joey Price’s 39-yard field goal at the end of the first half, the McNeese lead was cut to four at 14-10. The Kats were in the game with one half to play. The Cowboy’s however, kicked their game into a higher gear in the second half.”I guess I could say they weren’t ready for us in the first half,” SHSU defensive lineman Kelvin Randall said. “We came out and showed them what we could do, and in the second half they must have had a come-to-Jesus speech. They came out ready to play and we weren’t up to the task of playing with them.”McNeese’s Jermaine Martin opened the second half by returning the kick off to the Sam Houston 49 yard line. Eight plays later, the Cowboys found the end zone on quarterback Scott Pendarvis’ one-yard run. The extra point kick by John Marino put McNeese on top 21-10.On the Kats ensuing possession, quarterback Travis Tobaben fumbled a snap, which was recovered by McNeese’s Ryan Garrison at he 12-yard line. Two plays later, the Cowboys scored again on a thee-yard run by fullback Luke Lawton.”It’s over,” Randleman said about the game after the two scores in the second half. “You can’t do that against McNeese. You can’t do that against a good football team. Very disappointing. They were able to gain the momentum right there with two quick scores.”On the opening drive of the game, the Kats offense was close to perfect, scoring in six plays. Stevie Smith got the Kats on the board when he broke free and ran untouched for a 46-yard touchdown.The opening drive proved to be the only touchdown drive of the game for the Kats.”We took a real nice first drive and put some points on the board,” Randleman said. “We had some nice rushing numbers in the first half. We came back and we wanted to run the football in the second half. I wanted to run it a good deal in the third quarter, if nothing else but to keep the game close. Then anything can happen in the fourth if it is close, and you go with whatever works.”Offensive lineman Billy Williams said the difference for the Bearkats on Saturday was the lack of mistakes in the first half and the presence of them in the second.”In the first half, we played mistake free,” Williams said. “It wasn’t mistake free, but it was limited. In the second half, they scored and actually, we scored for them when we turned the ball over. We have to learn have to play mistake free.”The Bearkats finished the game with 207 total yards while McNeese finished with 336. After having two consecutive strong rushing performances, the Kats gained 149 yards on the ground and finished the game with 85 yards of net rushing.In the passing game, Tobaben was 12-22 for 122 yards while Vance Smith was 0 for 3. The Kats picked up just 15 first downs on Saturday, 10 of which came in the first half.”On any possession, your first first down is the hardest to get,” Randleman said. “You come out and get some movement and you get a first down, and then you get another one and then things are working. However, execution-wise, I thought we missed some opportunities that we needed to convert on.”The Bearkats will now have a short week to prepare for the nation’s No. 3 team, Northwestern State. The Kats and Demons will square off Thursday night in Natchitoches, La.”We now have a monumental task getting ready to play a very good Northwestern State team in their house on Thursday,” said Randleman.

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