The last time the Bearkats and the Boll Weevils met in the season opener last year, it did not end well for the Boll Weevils. Quarterback Wade Pate passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearkats piled up an impressive 439 yards of total offense. The Bearkat defense held the Boll Weevils in check as they were only able to muster 138 total yards. When all was said and done, the Bearkats had crushed the Boll Weevils 41-3.
Since Sam Houston State began playing in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision 21 years ago, only six times have the Bearkats started the year with a pair of victories.
When the Kats face off against the Boll Weevils this Saturday, the Kats will look to make it a seventh year and the first time since 2001 that they start 2-0. If the Kats are able to win, history will certainly be on their side.
In 1991 and 2001, two of the years that SHSU has started 2-0, they have gone on to claim the Southland Conference championship. The Kats have finished the season with a winning record five of the six times that they started the year 2-0.
However, the 17-13 win over Angelo State last Thursday was less than stellar and many were just a little concerned that the Kats did not score in the second half.
“You don’t ever want to get to a point where you are not scoring,” said SHSU head coach Todd Whitten. “We need to play more consistently on the offensive side of the ball.”
Turnovers and special teams play are some other concerns for Whitten, who said he thought special teams were ragged. The Bearkats turned the ball over twice in the season opener and did not recover any turnovers on defense while kicker Michael Capparelli struggled to get the ball down the field.
There were some positives to take away from the game as well. The Kats held the Rams to 286 yards total offense and denied Angelo State four times on fourth down opportunities including the big one at the Bearkats’ own nine with five minutes left in the game.
“We kept them out of the end zone. Anytime you do that, that’s impressive,” said Whitten.
A player to keep an eye on against the Boll Weevils this weekend will be sophomore running back Chris Poullard, who burst onto the scene in his first start against Angelo State with over 200 all-purpose yards, including 131 on the ground and 71 in the air.
“I am very proud of Chris,” said Coach Whitten. “He made some nice catches coming out of the backfield.”
Kick-off for the Bearkats’ game against non-conference foe Arkansas-Monticello is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium with tailgating at Bearkat Alley set to begin at 4 p.m. All vehicle traffic in and out of Bearkat Alley will be cut off starting three hours prior to kick off.