The Sam Houston Bearkats handled business coming out of their bye week, dispatching the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 42-7 behind big games from redshirt junior quarterback Eric Schmid and running back Ramon Jefferson, as well as the Bearkat defense.
Jefferson rushed for 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns, his fourth 100-yard game on the season. Schmid completed 17 of his 30 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns to go with an interception. He also ran for 40 yards and a touchdown. Graduate receivers Jequez Ezzard and sophomore Ife Adeyi each finished with a touchdown reception on the day.
The Bearkat defense was stifling throughout, shutting the Gamecocks out for the final three quarters. Senior defensive back Tristin McCollum led the team with seven tackles while also finishing with two pass breakups. Four different Kats finished with a tackle for loss, and sophomore defensive lineman Jevon Leon and senior defensive lineman Jahari Kay each registered a sack. The Kats also had an interception and two forced fumbles.
The game was still within reach for JSU at halftime, with it being 21-7 in favor of the Bearkats. Sam Houston went on to put up 21 more points scoring on three straight possessions in the third quarter to solidify the win.
On the Kats initial drive of the second half Schmid found Adeyi for a 66-yard touchdown after Adeyi broke a tackle to reach the end zone. JSU’s next possession lasted two plays before sophomore defensive back Darrel Hawkins-Williams forced a fumble of Gamecock receiver Ron Wiggins, which junior linebacker Trevor Williams scooped up at the JSU 32-yard line. It took the Kats three plays until Schmid found Ezzard for a 21-yard touchdown down the right sideline to make it 35-7.
The Kats forced JSU into another three and out on the following possession. Schmid found sophomore running back Noah Smith for a 13-yard completion and Ezzard for nine yards before Jefferson plunged into the end zone from four yards out for his second touchdown of the game to make it 42-7.
JSU scored first in the game, with a six play 77-yard drive following a missed 40-yard field goal from Bearkat freshman kicker Seth Morgan. JSU quarterback Zerrick Cooper completed a 47-yard pass to receiver Ahmad Edwards and then followed that up with a 6-yard touchdown scramble. The Gamecocks went up 7-0 but that would be the only points they scored in the contest.
The Kats pinned the Gamecocks deep on their own 2-yard line after being forced to punt on their following possession after the JSU score. They forced a three and out and JSU punted to Ezzard who returned it for 17 yards to set the Kats up at the JSU 33-yard line. On the following play Jefferson took a handoff and ran 33 yards to the end zone to tie the game at seven.
Sam Houston’s longest drive of the day came in the second quarter after a JSU punt. They drove 87 yards down the field on eight plays. Schmid found senior wide receiver Brennon Tibbs for a 15-yard completion, Ezzard for 18 and 24-yard completions, and Adeyi took a handoff for 18 yards to set the ball up at the Gamecock 2-yard line for Smith to get in for a touchdown to make it 14-7 in favor of the Kats.
A couple of possessions later in the quarter JSU had the ball at their own 33. Cooper dropped back and looked for a receiver down the middle, but senior defensive back Zyon McCollum was ready for it and intercepted the pass and returned it 30 yards down to the JSU 9-yard line. That was his second interception of the season and twelfth of his career, which ranks him tied for third all-time in Sam Houston history. Schmid would get in the end zone on a keeper from three yards out to make it 21-7.
Sam Houston will now take its undefeated record to Stephenville, Texas to take on Tarleton State University on October 30.