The Sam Houston State Bearkats opened Southland Conference play Saturday night with a 44-31 win over the Lamar Cardinals.
Seeking revenge from last year’s loss, the Kats traveled to Beaumont, TX and showed just how versatile their offense could be, scoring 44 points and racking up 598 total yards of offense.
SHSU’s offense was led by strong outings from junior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe, junior running back Corey Avery and junior wide receiver Yedidiah Louis.
“We think we have the best five backs in all the country,” Briscoe said. “When we get our offensive line rolling and that allows Corey to get rolling, we’re really something special. It’s kind of the center point of our offense.”
Avery and Briscoe got to work quickly in the first quarter, connecting on a 35-yard touchdown pass to put the Bearkats up 14-0.
Briscoe would then find sophomore wide receiver Derrick Dick for another 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and before fans knew it, the Cardinals found themselves down 30-3 rolling into halftime.
Lamar (0-3, 0-1 Southland) regrouped during the break as their offense came out more poised and prepared to start the second half.
The Cardinals scored a pair of touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters in an attempt to comeback, but Lamar’s defense just could not contain SHSU’s high-powered offense.
Briscoe threw his third touchdown pass of the night to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tyler Scott in the third quarter. He finished the game completing 24 of 35 passes for 328 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Avery and Louis were major factors for the Kats’ offense in the victory.
Avery put on a show, carrying the ball 17 times for 136 yards and a touchdown while taking another one to the endzone on a 35-yard pass. He finished the game with 185 total yards, averaging eight yards per rush and 16.3 per reception. Louis burned the Cardinal secondary for 113 yards on eight receptions.
Other Kats to reach the endzone were sophomore running back Javin Webb, who rushed 19 times for 95 yards, and sophomore running back Remus Bulmer who finished with 50 yards on six carries.
The Bearkat defense also showed out in the Southland Conference win.
Sophomore linebacker Justin Johnson led the team in tackles with twelve, while SHSU’s all-time leader in tackles for loss junior defensive end P.J. Hall added to his title, disrupting Lamar’s offensive flow with a total of four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Hall pressured Lamar’s quarterback Andrew Allen all night who was flagged in the end zone for intentional grounding in the first half, resulting in a safety.
“We knew what they were going to do before hand,” Hall said. “We watched a lot of film and prepared really well. We knew they wanted to get the ball to No. 8, so we just wanted to contain him. That safety was really important. Any time we get them to turn it over or we get points as a defense it helps a lot.”
One key defensive factor in the Bearkats victory was being able to contain Lamar’s running back Kade Harrington. The All-American ran all over SHSU’s defense last year, running for over 230 yards and two touchdowns. The Kats made sure that would not happen again. The defense held Harrington to just 89 yards on 25 carries and no touchdowns.
SHSU (2-0, 1-0 Southland) will look to continue their early season dominance as they hit the road again on Sept. 24 to take on the Houston Baptist Huskies (2-1, 1-1 Southland). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“We want to enjoy every win and we’re going to enjoy this win but we probably left 28 points on the field,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “We probably had 21 points defensively we shouldn’t have given up. There were times where it looked like we had the game in control. Hopefully it’s a great lesson for the kids.”