The Sam Houston Bearkats rolled up 521 yards of total offense to claim a 42-28 victory over Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday at Bowers Stadium, locking up a berth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs in the process.
The Bearkats (9-0) earned the automatic qualifying bid to the playoffs from the WAC/ASUN Challenge by defeating the Colonels who, with a win, would have earned the bid.
Junior quarterback Eric Schmid threw for a season high 392 yards to go with three touchdowns, with a mixture of sophomore wide receiver Ife Adeyi (seven receptions, 138 yards, one touchdown), graduate receiver Jequez Ezzard (nine receptions, 111 yards, one touchdown) and graduate receiver Cody Chrest (five receptions, 81 yards, one touchdown) on the receiving end. Junior running back Ramon Jefferson rumbled in for two touchdowns as well.
Sam Houston looked like it was on its way to another victory at the half as it was up 21-0 with the defense stifling Eastern Kentucky, only allowing 76 total yards and -2 rushing yards in the half.
The Kats struck first in the game on their second possession as Ramon Jefferson took a handoff and scored from 13-yards out. They did not get back on the board until late in the second quarter. Schmid would toss the ball to Adeyi on a motion sweep, where he ran 32 yards to the end zone to cap off an eight play 73-yard drive.
The Bearkats scored once later in the quarter with Schmid hitting Ezzard for a 19-yard touchdown.
The defensive effort was highlighted by junior linebacker Trevor Williams who posted 11 tackles, junior linebacker Markel Perry who finished with 1.5 sacks and senior defensive back Zyon McCollum who finished with four tackles and an interception, his third on the season and 13th of his career.
The Colonel offense came out of halftime ready to play, going on a seven-play 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. Sam Houston was unfazed by this and went on a touchdown drive of their own highlighted by a 26-yard touchdown reception by Chrest to make it a 28-7 game.
EKU put up another touchdown drive and returned a kick for a touchdown to cut the lead to 35-21, but the Kats ultimately put the game away with another scoring drive with Schmid rushing in for a four-yard touchdown.
Sam Houston hits the road for its final regular season game, heading to Abilene for a bout with the Abilene Christian University Wildcats at Wildcat Stadium, with kickoff set for Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1:00 p.m.