Despite a fantastic performance from freshman running back Steve Smith, Sam Houston State was unable to overcome some costly turnovers as the Bearkats fell to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 29-22. Smith, making his first collegiate start, was able to jump start the SHSU ground game by rushing for 145-yards on 22 carries. The Bearkats ground game has been far from spectacular this season, with the team averaging a conference low 54-yards a game. “Steve ran the ball really well,” said Ron Randleman, SHSU head coach. “He has a lot of quickness and he was able to do some good things.”The Bearkats were able to get on the scoreboard first when senior quarterback Vance Smith completed a four-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Vincent Cartwright in the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Bearkats, that would be all they would get from Vance Smith because he broke two bones in his hand in the second quarter. “Vance was off to a good start; I think he was 5-of-9 for 35-yards and a touchdown with no interceptions before he got hurt,” Randleman said. “The preliminary report that I got was that he will be out four to six weeks, but he is getting it checked out again today.”SHSU held on to a 13-0 lead for most of the first half, thanks to a five-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Jason Godfrey. The Gamecocks stole the momentum going into half time, thanks two 14 unanswered points in the last five minutes of the half.With four minutes left in the second quarter, sophomore Travis Tobaben was sacked and fumbled the ball on the 16-yard line.However, the Bearkat defense came up with a crucial fourth down stop and took over on downs at the one-yard line.The Bearkats very next play resulted in a safety when Tobaben was sacked in the end zone. The Gamecocks added a 49-yard touchdown pass from Stancil to Jenkins on the last play of the first half. ” There were four plays that we did right before the end of the half that shifted the game,” Randleman said. “We allowed a long kick return and it gave them good field position.”They then beat us on a little screen for a touchdown and we gave up a safety and a fumble. They were also able to hit a Hail Mary.”The Bearkats got the ball to start the second half, but six plays into the drive Tobaben was intercepted by Markee Coleman and he returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. The Bearkats turned the ball over four times in the game. The Kats were able to pull within two after Godfrey added his second touchdown of the game, a one-yard scoring plunge to start the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion pass from Tobaben to Steve Smith failed, leaving the game at 21-19. The Gamecocks were able to put the game away with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by a four-yard Chapman touchdown run.The Bearkats added a 41-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Joey Price to pull within six points with over eight minutes left in the game. However, SHSU was unable to get anything going on its final three possessions. The Bearkats fall to 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in Southland conference play. The Bearkats next game is against rival Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches on Saturday at 4 p.m.