The Sam Houston State Bearkats reclaimed their position as a competitive football team with a 50-6 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers in Houston Thursday night.
I saw a lot more energy [and] saw a lot more guys into the game, Coach Willie Fritz said. We were disappointed in the game against Central Arkansas. We needed to get back on the winning track.
SHSUs offense, headed by quarterback Brian Bell, drove a total of 558-yards against TSUs defense with three passing touchdowns from Bell. Wide receiver Chance Nelson scored twice from Bells passes and had a total of 127 yards Thursday evening.
We needed a chance to redeem ourselves, defensive lineman Gary Lorance said. We got this win [and] I think it will help us propel through the season.
On SHSUs second offensive play of the game Bell found Nelson for a 61-yard touchdown pass that set the tone for the match.
The linemen did a great job blocking and Bell just found me a couple of times in the back of the end zone, Nelson said. [TSU had] a good secondary, we got into them to go big in open holes.
The offense showed an improved attack plan against TSU after their disappointing loss against Central Arkansas the week before. Bell threw 10-15 and was only held to one turnover, an interception in the second quarter; compared to his 16-24 completions and an interception in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for UCA.
Keshawn Hill led the Bearkats rushing attack with 74 total yards including a 36-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. SHSUs rushing game was distributed between nine players including starter Tim Flanders, Ridgeway Frank, and wide receivers Trey Diller and Richard Sincere, for a total 346-yards.
SHSUs second-string offense, led by red shirt freshman Chris Grett, made an appearance in the second half and drove down the field to add to the Bearkats lead with a four-yard rushing touchdown from Frank.
There are a bunch of guys that showed marked improvement in this ballgame, Fritz said.
The Bearkat offense posted 36 unanswered points Thursday night.
Defensively, senior linebacker Darius Taylor halted the TSU running game with six tackles and three assists, including three sacks for a total loss of 28-yards. SHSUs defense held TSUs offense to a mere 165-yards in Thursdays match and only allowed one touchdown in the start of the second quarter.
Once we make a team one-dimensional, we can start having fun getting into the pass rush and make big plays happen, Lorance said.
In the middle of the first quarter, defensive back Dax Swanson picked off a TSU pass for SHSUs only interception. The defensive turnover set up a Bearkat offensive attack that pushed down the field for 61-yards that ultimately ended the second touchdown of the first quarter for SHSU.
According to Lorance the practice week preceding TSUs game, the SHSU coaching staff analyzed and set up a defensive plan that guaranteed the Bearkats to contain the Tigers offense.
We break down a lot of film during the week, Lorance said. They have us prepared, they have a game plan ready and I think we executed almost as well as we could of [Thursday].
TSUs only touchdown came in the start of the second quarter with a 16-yard pass to the lower right corner of the end zone.
This week the Bearkats will prepare for the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks for the Battle of the Piney Woods in Houston. The Lumberjacks defeated UCA this past weekend 42-37 making them 1-0 in conference.
According to Fritz the Bearkats defense will develop a passing protection to contain SFAs aggressive passing game.
This upcoming week were going to go against a very potent passing attack with SFA. Theyre going to throw it probably between 60 and 70 times when we play them, Fritz said. We got to a great job improving in that area.
Against UCA, SFA threw the ball 43 times for a total of 296-yards.
Were going to do a really good job focusing on SFA [this week], Fritz said. Any time you win obviously you feel like you got momentum coming into the next week.
At last years Battle of the Piney Woods SHSU won in a landslide victory 45-10 against SFA. But with the battle for the Southland Conference title, this years matchup at Reliant Stadium could determine who takes the conference title.
There will be two very fine teams playing down in Reliant, Fritz said.
The Battle of the Piney Woods will be held at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Kickoff will be underway at 3 p.m.
Tickets are available online at http://www.gobearkats.com.