Down go the Sugar Bears

The Sam Houston State Bearkats defeated Central Arkansas, 17-14, in a defensive battle Saturday to jump back to .500 at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Southland Conference.

After a dismal performance at McNeese State last week, the Bearkat defense put the lock down on a tough Central Arkansas offense in Sam Houston’s final home game of the season.

The Bearkats were able shut down Brent Grimes, the SLC’s second leading rusher, holding him to only 68 yards on 18 carries. The Bearkat defense was especially good on third down, allowing only three third down conversions out of 15 attempts.

“When we lost to McNeese by that margin we were embarrassed,” said Will Henry, who had six tackles and a sack. “Today we had to come out and show that we aren’t that team that lost to McNeese and show what we could do.”

The defense penetrated well throughout the entire game and was in the offense’s face every play. The pressure forced two late turnovers in the game en route to the victory.

Special teams also played a major part in the victory. The momentum changed late in the third quarter when Vincent Dotson blocked a punt and took it to the house to give the Bearkats their first lead at 10-7.

“The return before that I was close, but I went too wide,” Dotson said. “Coach told me to skin my guy and get closer. The next play, I did just that. I made a great play on the ball, extended my arms, and it turned out for the best for us.”

Following the game-changing play, the Bearkats played keep-away with Central Arkansas from there on out.

The offense was able to overcome the SLC’s second overall defense by controlling the ball, moving the chains, and extending the lead to 17-7 after a Chris Poullard touchdown.

“We knew coming out that it would be tough,” said Poullard, who led the Bearkats with 93 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. “It was a battle from the opening snap to the end of the game. The defense and special teams played real well. It’s a team game and we played as a team. That’s how we got the victory.”

The Bearkats close out the season next week in San Marcos, where they will take on the rival Texas State.

Sam Houston looks to build on this momentum and improve to 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference to finish the season over .500.

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