The Sam Houston State University Bearkats lost a close matchup in triple overtime against the Lamar University Cardinals 20-17 in front of 4,047 fans.
Bearkats head coach K.C. Keeler delved into the discussion with his team after the game.
“I just addressed the team and said that [I] hope my words don’t land on deaf ears, but I’m proud of you, I love you, you battled,” Keeler said. “We just kept putting that defense back out there, and they kept on making plays. Our kids just kept on battling back. That was remarkable how they just kept putting themselves in position to win the game or dodge a bullet to lose a game.”
The first quarter saw a lot of action late in the quarter, mainly on the first scoring drive of the game for the Bearkats. A couple of penalties in a row with a pass interference call and a horse collar penalty took the Kats just outside the endzone. However, a failed fourth down converstion stopped the clock with 4:27 left in the quarter and maintained a scoreless tie.
Later in the quarter, a roughing the passer and targeting penalty was issued on Cardinals senior linebacker Kevin O’Neill, setting up the Bearkats inside the redzone. After further review, O’Neill was ejected for the targeting penalty on redshirt sophomore quarterback Ty Brock. A holding penalty on Cardinals junior safety Kyron Norwood set up SHSU on the five-yard line. The next play led to a Bearkats touchdown with a five yard pass from Brock to senior wide reciever Nathan Stewart to gain the lead 7-0 with 1:46 left in the first quarter of play.
Toward the end of the first half, the Bearkats defense forced a fumble and recovered it on the Cardinals’ own seven-yard line. SHSU’s offense failed to get into the endzone, and the drive was capped off with three total yards gained and a failed field goal attempt from redshirt sophomore place kicker Connor Crow.
The Bearkats used the final play of the first half to try and throw one into the endzone, but that ended up as an incomplete pass with Brock getting hit as he threw it. The score at the end of the first half was tied up at 7-7.
For the Bearkats, their bright spot was on the defensive side of the ball. Seven sacks total, two forced fumbles, 19 tackles for loss and 72 out of the 82 tackles being solo led the stat line for the Bearkat defense in the game.
One of the brightest spots this season in that defense is senior linebacker Royce See. In the game against the Cardinals, See had six tackles- all of which were solo-, a tackle for loss of two yards and a fumble recovery of seven yards.
See discussed the mentality of the defense heading into the game and afterwards.
“Coming into the game knowing that they were the number one rushing offense it gave us some motivation,” See said. “We just took that passion to the game. Just deciding that, you know, it’s us against them and a game like that hurts when we lose because it comes down to the wire. Sometimes it rolls your way; sometimes it doesn’t.”
Another missed field goal attempt from Crow was the summarization of the first few minutes of the second half. This attempt, however, was from 47 yards. Crow, with 12:14 left in the third quarter, became 0-for-2 on field goal attemps with the first one being from 22 yards out with 2:41 left in the second quarter.
Brock finished the game 12-for-34 for 114 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Keeler described the struggles with injuries currently at the signal caller spot.
“We just play coy at the quarterback position,” Keeler said. “I don’t know how much more Ty [Brock] can give us. He goes out there every week, and he does his best. Right now, we don’t really have a solution, and I don’t think a lot of people at any level have a solution when you are looking at your fourth [string].”
Not much else occured in the second half as the game moved to overtime in a 7-7 tie. A field goal by each team in the first overtime was also the first field goal made for each team to make it 10-10 heading into the second overtime.
SHSU struck first in the second overtime with an 11-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore running back Donovan Williams. Williams finished the day with 29 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Williams with that performance now has 114 carries for 507 yards and seven rushing touchdowns on the season, leading the team in all of those categories.
Lamar answered with a touchdown to force a third overtime. Opening the period with a field goal, the Cardinals grabbed a 20-17 lead that an interception on SHSU’s ensuing drive solidified as the final score.
The Bearkats will now prepare for the number one team in the Southland Conference at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Bowers Stadium as they take on the Nicholls State University Colonels for Homecoming.