NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Sam Houston State Bearkats and the Stephen F. Austin State Lumberjacks met on Saturday for the 82nd rendition of the “Battle of the Piney Woods,” but it might as well have been the Battle of San Jacinto.
Before you knew it, the game was over before it really began. The Kats outsmarted and out-powered their opponents on the way to a 45-17 thrashing of the Lumberjacks – the most lopsided victory for the Bearkats in Nacogdoches in the series’ all-time history.
“I thought we played real solidly in all three phases,” SHSU head coach Todd Whitten said. “I was especially pleased with how our quarterback played. I thought we protected him well. I thought defensively, we were solid. I was just so proud with how our team performed.”
After limiting SFA to only 12 yards on their first drive, the Bearkats mowed their way down the field, capping off a 73-yard drive when quarterback Rhett Bomar pitched the ball to running back Chris Poullard, who sprinted into the end zone to give the Bearkats the early 7-0 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, the Bearkats’ defense forced an SFA three-and-out.
The Bearkats responded with another efficient drive resulting in a touchdown. SHSU moved the ball 54 yards down the field setting up a first-and-goal situation. Since the play worked so well the first time, the Kats went with the option once again.
From the five-yard line, Bomar snapped the ball and rolled out of the pocket. Feeling the pressure, Bomar flipped the ball to Poullard, who waltzed in for his second touchdown in the first quarter. That was all the Kats would need, but SHSU scored a few more, including another Poullard touchdown off an option, two Bomar 10-yard quarterback keepers and a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Carlton Cobey.
The defense kept pressure on the Lumberjack quarterbacks, preventing little to no success for the SFA offense. The Lumberjacks did score two meaningless touchdowns at the end of the fourth quarter, but SFA’s fate had already been sealed.
The victory marks the fourth consecutive win for the Bearkats over the Lumberjacks. The last time SFA beat SHSU was in 2003 when the Lumberjacks needed a 54-yard game-winning field goal to beat the Kats 34-31.
The Bearkats return to Bowers Stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m. to face the Nicholls State Colonels on Parent/Family Weekend.