Sam Houston State has been known to give up big leads, but that was not the case Saturday against Incarnate Word after being up 23-0 in the first quarter in San Antonio.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson’s three touchdowns were enough for SHSU to rout past the Cardinals 40-19.
“That’s part of maturity, and we talk about that all the time,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “We need to stay more focused, and hopefully these are some lessons learned.”
Johnson went 13 for 20 for 188 yards playing a modest game and only throwing one interception all night.
Despite the relatively good passing game, SHSU committed to their rushing attack once again by running the ball 56 times against the Cardinals.
Leading rusher senior Keshawn Hill ran the ball 15 times for 79 yards and added two touchdowns for the Bearkats. Johnson, junior running back Donavan Williams and transfer running back Jalen Overstreet each contributed in the rushing game, totaling 189 yards on the ground as a team.
After the 21-point victory, Keeler still feels there is room for improvement.
“Obviously, we didn’t play our best ballgame and we won by 21 points,” Keeler said. “There are some things we have to clean up or we’re never going to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
Usually the team with the least turnovers wins the ball game, but the Bearkats turned the ball over three times to the Cardinals’ one.
The Kats still led the game in total time of possession with 31:34 to the Cardinals 28:26.
Holding Incarnate Word to only 58 yards rushing showed improvement in the Bearkats’ rush defense. The Cardinals did, however, have 213 yards passing which the only life was shown by the division opponent.
Junior receiver Gerald Thomas was the top receiver with four catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas now has a team-leading four touchdown receptions for the season.
Each week, the Bearkats look more disciplined and focused to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Now being 6-4 but 5-1 in the Southland Conference, the Kats prepare for Houston Baptist this Saturday. Last year, SHSU annihilated HBU 74-0 in the season opener. Currently, HBU sits 10th in the SLC standings while the Bearkats share first.
Kickoff is at 3 p.m. in Houston.