For the third time in four weeks, Sam Houston will be facing a nationally-ranked opponent Saturday when the Bearkats play host to Colorado State-Pueblo.

The Thunderwolves come in to Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. contest ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II football.

In their challenging non-conference schedule this fall, the Bearkats have faced ranked teams at three different levels. Eastern Washington came into the season opener August 23 ranked No. 1 in one of the FCS national polls and No. 2 in the other.

When LSU hosted Sam Houston last weekend in Baton Rouge, the Tigers stood No. 12 in the FBS rankings. LSU now has moved up to No. 10.

Alabama State, the Bearkats’ opponent in their first home game August 30, could also crack the FCS top 25 soon. The Hornets are among the top teams in both polls in the “receiving votes” category after upsetting No. 14 ranked Tennessee State.

Three-time defending Rocky Mountain Conference champion Colorado State-Pueblo went 11-0 last season before falling in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Thunderwolves started the season with a decisive 35-6 victory versus No. 11 West Texas A&M University last Thursday.

That victory combined with a loss by preseason No. 2 Grand Valley State in overtime moved Colorado State-Pueblo in to the No. 2 spot in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II national poll.

Northwest Missouri State University still held on to the No. 1 ranking, while University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and University of North Alabama are the No. 3-5 teams, respectfully.

Saturday is 2014 Bearkat Family Weekend at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium.

The Bearkats will be out to defend the nation’s longest current FCS home winning streak. Sam Houston has won 23 straight games at Bowers Stadium since 2010.

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