The Sam Houston State Bearkat football team’s quest for a National Championship begins Saturday against on the South Dakota Coyotes and their high-powered offense on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bowers Stadium.
After finding out they were the sixth seed on Nov. 16 during the FCS Selection Show, the Kats awaited the winner of South Dakota and Nicholls State last weekend to see whom they would be facing.
Senior quarterback Chris Streveler who has thrown for 3,614 yards and 27 touchdowns this season while completing 66.3 percent of his passes leads the Coyotes’ potent attack. Streveler is also the team’s second leading rusher with 669 yards, and leads the team with 10 touchdown runs. Streveler does not seem to have one real favorite target, as no Coyote receiver has more than 50 catches or more than 700 yards this season. He spreads the ball around, which can make the offense even more difficult to stop because the defense cannot key in on one receiver. In their 38-31 win over Nicholls, Streveler threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
“He plays angry,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “The more competitive the game, the more hits he takes, the angrier he plays, and to go along with that he’s fast.”
Containing Streveler is going to be the key for SHSU, but it will be a difficult task as many teams were unable to find a way to stop him this year.
“He’s a very accurate passer,” Keeler said. “When he pulls the ball down, he runs with an attitude.”
While the Bearkat defense will have their hands full, the offense should be able to navigate the Coyote defense, which gave up 476 yards and 31 points to Nicholls last weekend. The one thing the Bearkats must avoid is turnovers, which ultimately cost Nicholls the game as they turned the ball over four times.
“They are a group that is very aggressive,” Keeler said. “They are a long, physical team that will bang you up. That last play of that Nicholls game, they caused a fumble to win that ball game, and that was a very physical play.”
The Bearkats’ spread offense, which averages 45.9 points per game and features the Southland Conference’s offensive player of the year in junior wide receiver Davion Davis, could give the Coyotes problems similar to the way Nicholls did last week. Fatigue set in for the Coyotes defense near the end of the game in which Nicholls ran 84 plays. That is something that the Bearkats may be able to exploit as their fast-paced offense averages 76 plays per game.
Viewers should be prepared for a contest that will likely turn in to an offensive shootout. With Streveler leading the Coyotes charge and last year’s Walter Payton award winning senior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe at the Bearkats helm, this game could very well be won by the first team to score 50 points.
The game will take place Saturday at Bowers Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. and the game will be televised live on ESPN3.