Defense, defense, defense should be what Sam Houston State is working on before the battle against Stephen F. Austin State on Saturday.
Although SHSU had an impressive outing on defense last Saturday against Abilene Christian, the Kats are still 10th in the Southland Conference in total defense, giving up 3,626 yards of offense and 453.2 yards per game.
The Bearkats also rank eighth in the conference in rush defense and 10th in pass defense.
SHSU will have a tough load against a Lumberjack team THAT ranks at the top of the conference of total offense, averaging 488.4 yards per game.
Not being known for their takeaways, the Bearkats ranks in the middle of the conference in turnover margin and interceptions. It showed in the four takeaways against ACU.
SFA is coming off of a huge win against the SLC leader Southeastern Louisiana last week. The Lumberjacks’ offense, ranked third in both passing and rushing offense within their conference, showed out against SLU and will look to continue that productivity against SHSU.
On the rushing side of the ball, SFA averages 218.1 yards per game with 30 touchdowns rushing this season while 270.2 of total yards came from the passing game.
Having that balance attack, the Lumberjacks own the Bearkats at total time of possession this year. SHSU ranks last in the conference in total time of possession as well.
That being said, for SHSU to get a victory against rival SFA, they have to have a balance attack to control the time of possession. The Bearkats win most of their games when winning the time of possession battle.
Once the Bearkats are deep in the red zone, they usually find their way in the end zone, ranking third in the conference in red zone conversions.
One thing that the Kats lead the conference in is field goals. Sophomore kicker Luc Swimberghe is 100 percent this season, going 10-10 on field goal attempts.
A high-ranked offense against a poor-ranked defense is the advantage that SFA will have Saturday.
However, if SHSU can have the impressive lights out defense from last week and sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson can lead that balanced attack, the Kats will once again win the Battle of the Piney Woods.