Kats put down Panthers to open season

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats powered through the Prairie View A&M Panthers 41-32 to open the season Saturday night at Bowers Stadium.

PVAMU fell to 1-2 after the loss. SHSU head coach K.C. Keeler talked about the dynamic of matching up with a team that already had a couple games under their belt this season.

“Not having a ball game and them having two was really a big deal,” Keeler said. “You could see how the penalties really affected us, but our guys kept on playing and I thought we made some really good plays on special teams. I thought our offense came together when it needed to and our defense made big plays. I thought we beat a very good football team that’s going to win a lot of football games.”

Junior quarterback Mike Dare played in his first D1 football game Saturday as the starting quarterback for the Bearkats, finishing 20-for-40 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

SHSU was also led by senior wide receiver Nathan Stewart, who had 120 yards on seven receptions. In last season’s matchup against PVAMU, Stewart had five receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Stewart talked about his encore performance against the Panthers.

“It felt good,” Stewart said. “I’ve been with [Dare] since May. We have good chemistry and we’ve been putting in a countless amount of hours. I feel like we started out kind of slow, but it came together when we needed it to.”

The Bearkats tallied 170 rushing yards as opposed to the Panthers’ 205. SHSU had a pair of backs accumulate 70-plus total yards. Sophomore Kyran Jackson had 77 yards on 13 carries while senior Remis Bulmer picked up 70 yards on 14 carries and was a difference maker with his trio of touchdowns on the ground. Bulmer also became the 13th Bearkat in school history to eclipse 2,000 career rushing yards.

Not only did the running backs for SHSU compete well, but PVAMU junior Dawonya Tucker stepped up big for the Panthers as he rushed for 245 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. The rest of his team ran for a combined minus-40 yards.

Keeler talked about the Panthers and their impressive performance both on the field and in the stands of Bowers Stadium.

“They broke out the grey uniforms and they brought out their band and they spent the money to stay in the woodlands,” Keeler said. “They put everything into this game and they should because it was a heck of a ballgame. I thought it was an evenly matched football game.”

The Bearkats will look to extend their 21-game home winning streak Saturday at 6 p.m. against North Dakota.

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