In their fourth season of intercollegiate competition in football, the Cardinals earned a victory for new head coach Larry Kennan.
The Cardinals made the final few moments of the game a little more interesting than they would have liked to. After stopping Texas College on downs with 1:28 remaining in the game they needed one first down to ice the game.
They did not get the first down, but freshman punter Joseph Sadler (Devine/Devine HS) pinned the Steers inside the 10-yard line with a 48 yard punt with 21 seconds left on the clock. Texas College quarterback Vincent McNeil completed a 39 yards pass to Ja'Marius Allen with four seconds remaining and then an offsides penalty gave then one more chance from near midfield. McNeil completed a short pass, but the Cardinals quickly swept in for the tackle to end the game.
Incarnate Word opened the game strong, taking just three plays to score their first touchdown.
Senior Zach Rhodes completed a 48-yard pass to Devan Avery, then Trent Rios (Spring Branch/Smithson Valley HS) scored on a 7-yard run with 10:58 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals got off to another in the second half. They took the opening kickoff and went 72 yards in six plays. Rhodes connected with fullback Matt Bass (on a flare pass that went for 47 yards as Bass ran over a pair of defenders. Rios finished off the drive with his second touchdown of the night, this one an 11-yard jaunt with 12:27 left in the third quarter. Jake Wilcox's extra-point attempt was blocked by Ronnie Green.
In the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech transfer Marcus Wright came on strong for the Cardinals. He carried the ball seven times for 44 yards on the first drive of the quarter and scored on a 1-yard plunge with 11:30 remaining in the game.
The Cardinals gained 344 yards on offense with 250 coming through the air. Rhodes was 12-of-18 for 205 yards while Woods was 2-for-2 for 45 yards. Avery led the receivers with 99 yards. Rios finished with 15 carries for 52 yards while Wright added 44 yards on 13 carries. The team picked up 18 first downs and had the ball for 31:35.
The Cardinal defense limited the Steers to 256 yards total. Dakota Mawyer led the team with 10 tackles while Juan Asencio (Pflugerville/Hendrickson HS) had nine tackles and a sack.
Sam Houston kicks off the 2012 season against UIW at 6 p.m. at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium Saturday.
The Bearkats are preseason favorites to repeat as Southland Conference champions and ranked No. 1 nationally in the Sports Network FCS poll.
Tickets for the season opener are available online now at www.gobearkats.com/tickets. The Sam Houston ticket office will be open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.