This past Saturday, over 10,000 fans packed into Bowers Stadium to witness the No. 23 Northwestern State Demons spoil the Bearkats’ Homecoming 10-6.
Two field goals were not enough to overcome a 10 point Demon third quarter, as the Bearkats were handed their third straight loss and their first Southland Conference defeat of the season.
In his debut as a Bearkat, transfer quarterback Phillip Daugherty completed 24 of 35 passes for 254 yards but failed to lead the team into the end zone.
In their only trip inside their opponents’ 20 yard line, running back Stevie Smith fumbled the ball for the only turnover of the game.
“It’s a tough deal, but that one play didn’t lose the game,” said Daugherty. “One play doesn’t lose a game. We had a lot of chances to execute and we didn’t.”
Throughout the contest, the Kats made many crucial mistakes that affected the final outcome. They were penalized ten times for 92 yards. They also failed to control the line of scrimmage.
Daugherty was sacked five times, and the Kats were unable to convert two fourth downs on less than two yards apiece.
“We had some chances to get into the end zone, but we couldn’t execute. On some of those sacks, I maybe could have gotten rid of the ball sooner, and there were some guys open that I just didn’t hit,” Daugherty said. “We moved the ball well. We had some big plays, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.”
One bright spot for the Kats was their defense. The Kats were able to keep the dangerous Demon quarterback Davon Vinson contained for most of the game. Both a threat on the ground and in the air, Vinson ran for 52 yards and passed for another 148. In the third quarter, he finally got the best of the Bearkat defense, running in the only touchdown of the game from six yards out.
Kicker Lance Garner attempted three field goals, all 44 yards or more. He made two of those, one from 48 yards out and the other from 52. The 52-yard kick was the longest of his career and the third longest in school history.
SHSU led the game in total offense, converted more third downs and also accumulated more first downs. The Kat defense only allowed the Demons to convert four out of 16 third down opportunities and held them to only 13 first downs throughout the entire game. Junior defensive back D.D. Terry led the way for the Kat defense. He had eight solo tackles, two of which were for losses.
Next week, the Kats will head back to the road where they will try to get their first conference win against Nicholls State.