Most people knew it was coming; the only question was how bad it would be. In the first ever meeting between Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas, the Bearkats found out in a matter of minutes why exactly the Longhorns are the seventh ranked team in the nation and stand as one of the most prominent teams in college football history.
On the Kats first possession, Tyrell Gatewood blocked a Curtis Parks punt and the ball bounced back nearly 20 yards into Sam Houston’s end zone and was recovered by Texas’ Robert Killebrew for his first career touchdown. The play sent Darrell K. Royal stadium and 88,913 fans into a frenzy and the Kats never really did recover.
“We knew we could potentially get in a bind playing against a Texas team that is so athletic,” Sam Houston State head coach Todd Whitten. “Texas is so good. They were going to move the ball and get things done regardless. I thought are kids played hard, but we were just beaten by a very good football team. We had a good effort and we didn’t have a lot of penalties. We just got outmatched.”
The Kats had four turnovers in the game (two fumbles and two interceptions) and also gave up a 61-yard punt return for a score to Quan Cosby early in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Kats were manhandled and never really got anything going until their first drive of the second half. Brett Hicks struggled completing 16-of-26 passes for only 105 yards and two interceptions. D.D. Terry was undoubtedly the bright spot for Sam Houston, rushing for 85 yards on 21 carries. Blake Martin hauled in three catches for 39 yards.
For the Longhorns, freshman sensation Colt McCoy picked apart the Kats’ defense. The New Mexico native completed 13-of-15 passes for 178 yards and two scores. He split time with freshman Jevan Snead, who was equally impressive going 7-of-8 for 122 yards and a 56-yard TD pass to Jordan Shipley in the third quarter.
The ‘Horns built up a 42-0 lead at the half, mainly working with a short field. Henry Melton also added two rushing TD’s in the first half.
The Kats’ lone score came on their first possession of the second half when Taylor Wilkins nailed a 36-yard field goal, ending any hopes the Longhorns had of completing the shutout.
Regardless of the outcome, Whitten was extremely pleased with how the special day went. “Our team, our fans and the community were so excited about this day,” Whitten said. “This is the biggest stage our kids can play on.”
With the game now in the rear view mirror, the Kats and Whitten can focus on Southland Conference play, beginning this Saturday at Northwestern State. “We’re extremely excited about our chances in conference this year,” Whitten said. “If we can stay healthy I think we can compete very well in our conference.”
For Mack Brown and the Longhorns, the game stood as simply a warm-up game to their big weekend showdown against Oklahoma.
“If you can get through a game like this without injuries, do the things that need to be done, and not embarrass the other bunch or their kids, it’s a win-win,” Brown said.
Texas’ 53-point margin of victory was its largest of the season. It marks the fifth time in the last two years UT has won by more than 50 points. The last time Texas lost to another team from the Lone Star state was Texas Tech in 2002.
The Bearkats will enter league play as one of the front runners. At 2-2, SHSU has a better record than every other team except Northwestern State, which is also 2-2.
The conference opener this Saturday is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Natchitoches.
The game will also be shown on Fox Sports Southwest television.
No matter what happened this past weekend, the Kats must now shift their focus quickly and not let this game get them down.
All things considered, everything is OK in Huntsville.