Bearkats Down Lumberjacks in Historic Fashion 63-28

The 91 Battle of the Piney Woods saw a record crowd of 27,411 at NRG Stadium as the Sam Houston State Bearkats took down the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 63-28.

The number of spectators wasn’t the only record set during the game Saturday evening.

An avalanche of 63 points scored by the Bearkats was the most points scored by one team in the history of the Piney Woods game, breaking the 56 points scored by SHSU in 2013. With the win, the team also broke the Piney Woods record for total offense with 653 yards.

“We said coming into this week that we were going to have to play our best football offensively to win,” junior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe said. “It was really special to see what our offense can do whenever we play our best football and I think we can still continue to grow on what we did today.”

Briscoe had a career game, while junior wide receiver Yedidiah Louis climbed the school’s all-time ladder in receiving yards.

Briscoe and Louis got the scoreboard rolling as Briscoe connected with Louis on a screen pass, who then took it 37 yards for the first of nine touchdowns scored by the Bearkats. Briscoe went 25 of 33 for a career best 438 yards and seven touchdowns, which marks the most passing touchdowns thrown by an SHSU quarterback in school history.

“Not only has Jeremiah blossomed as a quarterback, but his leadership skills are just special,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “The day that J.J. decided to transfer, Jeremiah took this team over. It has been powerful. The sky is the limit.”

Both Louis and freshman wide receiver Nathan Stewart led the Bearkats on the receiving end. Louis went for 119 yards on seven receptions, while Stewart caught five passes for 183 yards. Louis and Stewart scored two touchdowns apiece.

“Coach gave us a game plan and we did what we had to do,” Stewart said. “Coach told us to make contested catches and finish our routes, that’s what we had to do to win. Coming into it, we knew that these guys were going to play man coverage, so we just had to win the battle, give it our all and trust the game plan.”

On the ground, junior running back Corey Avery returned to the field after taking a week off due to a leg injury, but it was sophomore running back Remus Bulmer who led the Bearkats. Bulmer had 119 yards on 14 carries.

Avery added 55 rushing yards on 13 carries and busted the game open when he powered his way into the end zone for one of his two touchdowns to put the Bearkats up 21-0.

On the defensive end, the Bearkat defensive line dominated the trench battle. SHSU’s defense held SFA to only 67 rushing yards and 379 passing yards.

Although the Lumberjacks kept junior defensive end P.J. Hall in check, the Bearkats still managed to tally up five sacks. Sophomore defensive end Derick Roberson sacked the quarterback twice, while junior defensive ends Marcus Loud and Mouf Adebo each brought the quarterback down once.

“All week coach was talking about making big plays in big games. I just thought today was a big game, so why not show up,” Roberson said. “The preparation all week was good. The defense had a good practice all week and we were just flying to the ball.”

The win marked Keeler’s 200 career victory as a head coach.

“To get it in a rivalry game, it was special,” Keeler said. “They knew [the players] it was number 200 for me and that’s why I got tossed at the end with the Gatorade, and I really appreciate the fact that I could do it with this group of kids right here because it’s a special group.”

The Bearkats (4-0, 3-0 SLC) will look to continue their Southland Conference dominance, as they will hit the road to match up against Incarnate Word on Oct. 8.

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in San Antonio, TX.

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