With an offense led by running back Jalen Overstreet and quarterback Jared Johnson and a defense that limited the Southland’s scoring and total offense leader to a touchdown and a field goal, Sam Houston got back on the winning track by defeating Lamar 42-10.
The contest in Beaumont at Humphrey Provost Stadium was the Southland Conference opener for both teams. The Bearkats now stand 2-3 while the Cardinals dropped to 3-2.
University of Texas transfer Jalen Overstreet rushed for 130 yards on seven carries including a 50-yard fourth quarter touchdown. Johnson passed for 164 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 78 more.
The Cardinals came into the game averaging 42.3 points and 497.5 yards per game. The Kats forced seven Lamar fumbles, recovering three. P. J. Hall led the defense with eight stops including a quarterback sack. Mikell Everitt added seven tackles and intercepted a Cardinal pass.
Yedidiah Louis and Derreck Edwards led the Kat receivers. Louis caught five passes for 43 yards. Edwards had four receptions for 52 yards.
"It was an amazing game," SHSU head coach K. C. Keeler said. "After the loss two weeks ago against Colorado State-Pueblo, the kids didn't respond by pouting. They responded by getting back to work. This was a very physical game."
Sam Houston totaled 441 yards with 288 on the ground and 173 in the air. Lamar ended with 345 total yards.
The Bearkats struck quickly, driving 55 yards in six plays after a 22-yard interception return by Mikel Everett a minute and a half into the contest.
Johnson passed for 27 yards to Derreck Edwards to the Lamar 16 and two plays later to Yedidiah Louis at the Cardinal two. Keshawn Hill scored from the two to put Sam Houston up 7-0 with 12:23 to play in the first.
Luc Swimberghe kicked a 28-yard field goal four-and-a-half minutes later to put the Kats up 10-0. Johnson rushed five times for 27 yards on the eight-play, 38-yard scoring drive.
A 31-yard run by Carl Harris to the Sam Houston 13 gave the Cardinals their first scoring opportunity. But Jacobi Hunter tackled quarterback Caleb Berry for a two-yard loss and kicker Josh Davis hit the right upright on a 31-yard field goal attempt with 4:33 left in the opening period.
Swimberghe added a 33-yard field goal to up the score to 13-0 with 2:29 to play in the first following an eight-play, 64-yard drive. A 23-yard run by Jalen Overstreet to the Lamar 16 was the key play in the drive.
Linebacker Myke Chatman ended another Cardinal scoring threat with a fumble recovery at the Bearkat 11-yard line four minutes into the second quarter. Facing a fourth down and two after driving 62 yards to the SHSU 20, Hall had the ball knocked from his hands by A. J. Davis.
Davis put Lamar on the scoreboard with a 33-yard field goal 2:59 before intermission after a seven-yard, 31-yard drive fueled by a pair of 15-yard interference calls against Sam Houston.
Sam Houston responded with a six-play, 77-yard scoring drive which ended with a six-yard Donavan Williams touchdown run 0:50 before halftime. A 46-yard scamper by Jalen Overstreet to the Lamar 11 was the big play of the drive. The extra point attempt was blocked,, sending the two teams to the locker room with Sam Houston owning a 19-3 lead.
Lamar scored on its second possession of the second half as Berry hit Mark Roberts for a 32-yard scoring at the 9:05 mark in the third quarter. The 57-yard scoring drive took only four plays as the Cardinals cut the Bearkats’ margin to 19-10.
Sam Houston added a 22-yard field goal with 9:03 left in the game after Jacobi Hunter forced a fumble.
Johnson and the Kat offense answered with a nine-play, 62-yard scoring drive with Gerald Thomas scoring on a 22-yard pass with 6:24 left in the period. Johnson completed six of seven passes on the drive as Sam Houston extended its lead to 26-10.
Lamar opened the fourth quarter with an 80-yard drive from its own two to the Kat 18 where P. J. Hall blocked a 35-yard Lamar field goal attempt.
Overstreet broke through the middle of the Cardinal defensive line for a 50-yard scoring run to give Sam Houston a 32-10 lead with 10:57.
Fumble recoveries set up two late Bearkat scores as Swimberghe added a 22-yard field goal with 9:03 remaining and Donavan Williams tallied on a one-yard rush with 4:50 to play.
Sam Houston will have an open date next weekend before playing host to McNeese State for homecoming Saturday, October 11 at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.