Sam Houston State (2-4, 0-2 SLC) will host its 74th Homecoming game this Saturday at 2 p.m. against the Northwestern State Demons (3-3, SLC 2-1).
Yet this season, there is an extra sense of urgency to win this game, not only because it is Homecoming, but because the team is mired in a four-game losing streak.
“We need to get a win under our belts. First thing is winning,” sophomore defensive end Chris Brown said. “Let everything else fall into place after that.”
Overall, Sam Houston State has won 33 Homecoming events, lost 39, and tied once. Including last year’s 37-7 victory over Nicholls State, the Bearkats have won four of their last six Homecoming affairs.
The Demons are leading the all-time series against Sam Houston 17 victories to SHSU’s 12. The Kats do own an 8-5 record against the Demons in Huntsville, including last year’s televised 30-20 win.
In that game, SHSU utilized the big play offense, as Brett Hicks threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Perry. This ranked as the second longest touchdown pass in school history.
This year, the Kats are leading the Southland Conference in passing offense for the fifth time in nine seasons. Among NCAA Division I FCS squads, the Kats rank 12th in passing yards per game. Rhett Bomar’s 306.2 yards per game passing, rank ninth nationally.
This season, Bomar has passed for 1,607 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 230 yards and two scores.
Pre-season All Southland pick Blake Martin leads SHSU in receiving with 32 catches for 344 yards. Martin has become the fifth tight end in school history to gain 1,000 receiving yards in his career with 103 receptions for 1,171 yards in 39 games.
Running back Chris Poullard has 79 carries for 404 yards and four touchdowns for the season. For the season, Poullard has two 100-yard rushing games.
Yet, the Bearkats have had some serious problems in the second and third quarters of games this year. They have been outscored a whopping 104-63 in these two quarters. Essentially, it is these two quarters that have been the Kats’ demise this year.
The Kats have also had problems with turnovers, and have lost four fumbles that resulted in touchdowns for the opposition.
A key to victory against Northwestern will be how the Kats defense can contain the running game of the Demons. NSU running back Byron Lawrence has rushed for 670 yards and averaged over 105.2 yards per game this season, while the Kats’ defense has given up an average of 181 yards per game rushing this season. Yet, the Demons are winless on the road this year, which could play to the Kats’ advantage on Saturday.
“We have to act like this is a brand new season,” junior offensive lineman Aaron Saunders said. “We have five games left. We can go 5-0, finish 7-4 and have a good year.”