Bearkats lose control

The Sam Houston State Bearkats suffered a crushing loss to conference foe Southeastern Louisiana, 37-21, this Saturday, dropping their record to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Southland Conference play.

Whenever the Bearkats made a mistake, the Lions were right there to capitalize. Dropped balls, penalties, and poor decision-making led the Bearkats to their second consecutive road loss of the season.

Southeastern Louisiana was successful seven of 16 times on third down for a total of 129 yards. The Bearkats committed 11 penalties for 105 yards. The number that stands out most though is time of possession. The Lions held the ball for 36:43 compared to Sam Houston’s 23:17.

“I thought from an offensive standpoint we played as poorly as we could play,” Head Coach Todd Whitten said. “We were nonexistent. We jumped offsides, we had a holding call bring a touchdown back, we had a personal foul, we fumbled the snap, we dropped eight balls, and threw three interceptions. It doesn’t get any worse than that. ”

Running back James Aston was the bright spot of the offense. Aston carried the ball 14 times for 103 yards and caught a team-high six catches for 54 yards. He also returned two kicks for 111 yards, including an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Blake Joseph completed 16 of 35 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Chris Lucas led the receiving core with four catches for 76 yards. Jason Madkins caught three passes for 32 yards and two touchdowns.

“We really shot ourselves in the foot on offense,” said Aston, who had a game-high 268 all-purpose yards. “We made a lot of mistakes with penalties and dropped balls. I think if we could’ve eliminated these mistakes it would’ve been a different game.”

The Bearkat defense surrendered 473 total yards of offense to the Lions. Southeastern Louisiana wide receiver Simmie Yarbrough shredded the Sam Houston defense with eight catches for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Southeastern Louisiana also ran for a total of 187 yard.

The defense may have been ineffective, but the struggles were mainly because of the ineffectiveness of the offense. The defense was on the field for a total of 83 plays for over 36 minutes.

“Anytime you give up 37 points its hard to win,” said Defensive Coordinator Scott Stoker. “We’ve got to be able to get off the field. We got worn out late in the fourth quarter. We had our chances, we’re just not very consistent right now defensively.”

Sam Houston came out of the gate looking good by making some big plays on defense, including forcing an interception and two three-and-outs on Southeastern Louisiana’s first three possessions.

Playing with a short field, the Bearkats drove 57 yards downfield to score the game’s first touchdown on their third drive of the game. Following a 16-yard touchdown pass to Madkins, the Bearkats took an early 7-0 lead.

The Lions answered back immediately following an 80-yard drive, Southeastern Louisiana scored on a two-yard touchdown pass to Yarbrough, tying the score at 7-7. Sam Houston had momentum in the drive up until a costly 15-yard facemask penalty. From that point on, the Lions controlled the game.

On the next Bearkat drive, Joseph was intercepted for the second time in the game. Southeastern Louisiana capitalized on a 43-yard field goal to give them their first lead of the game at 10-7.

The Lions extended their lead to 17-7 on the next drive following another Yarbrough touchdown reception.

Sam Houston fought to get back in the game on the next drive, but the drive ultimately resulted in another Joseph interception.

The Lions booted a 46-yard field goal to give them a 20-7 lead going into the half.

The Bearkats showed life coming out of the half with an impressive touchdown drive of 89 yards. They moved the ball easily on a drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown catch for Madkins. Down 20-24, Sam Houston had life.

Following a 20-yard Lions field goal, the Bearkats looked to respond. The response was a dropped pass for a sure touchdown by Darrell Armstead. Then, a drop by Darnell Jones. Then, a drop by Chris Lucas.

One play after a Sam Houston punt, Yarbrough caught a 52-yard touchdown pass, putting the game out of reach at 30-14.

James Aston scored on a kickoff return on the next play, bringing the score to 37-21. But the effort was too little too late

The Bearkats will look to improve next week as they hit the road to take on Stephen F. Austin for “the Battle of the Piney Woods,” Sam Houston looks to improve to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

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