SAN ANTONIO -- Keshawn Hill rushed for two touchdowns and Gerald Thomas caught two touchdown passes as Sam Houston State jumped out to a 30-16 halftime lead and held on for a 40-19 win at Incarnate Word.
“You enjoy every single win. Half the teams in America lost today. Obviously we didn’t play our best ballgame and we won by 21 points,” Bearkat head coach K.C. Keeler said. “There’s some things we have to clean up or we’re never going to accomplish what we want to accomplish. I’m a little disappointed, especially up front in the O-Line and we’ve got to clean that stuff up. But again, you enjoy every single win and we’ll enjoy this one.”
The Bearkats (6-4, 5-1 SLC) drove 99 yards for a touchdown on the first drive of the game to start a strong first half. Quarterback Jared Johnson, who was 13-of-20 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns, tossed a 21-yard pass to Thomas to cap the opening drive.
Sam Houston was opportunistic in the first half, scoring on a safety and taking advantage of great field position after a failed fake punt attempt by UIW.
Both of Hill’s touchdown runs were from one-yard out. He was the Kats leading rusher with 79 yards on 15 attempts. Donavan Williams added 55 yards on the ground, Jared Johnson rushed for 40 yards and Jalen Overstreet contributed 22 yards.
Thomas’ second touchdown grab was on a slant route from five yards out, giving him four this season.
“It always feels good to get into the end zone,” said Thomas. “I was really thinking I would get more in the return game but sometimes you just never know where they’re going to come from. In the passing game we just go week to week and we have so many guys that can make a play.”
The Bearkats had a chance to go into the locker room with at least 30-10 lead before Johnson threw an interception that gave UIW the ball near midfield. The Cardinals were able to drive the field and score on an 8-yard pass from Jordan Scelfo to Daryl Brooks.
Scelfo finished the game 21-of-38 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. UIW’s leading rusher was running back Junior Sessions who netted 52 yards.
The second half started slowly with punts on the first four possessions. Tre Orr intercepted a pass from Scelfo to set the Kats up with great field position. Luc Swimberghe kicked a 41-yard field goal for the only points in the third quarter.
“We don’t do a great job finishing. We’ve been up by 21-points on every team in this league except for Northwestern State, who we were up 14 on twice, and we don’t finish. That’s part of maturity and we talk about that all the time. We need to stay more focused and hopefully these are some lessons learned,” said Keeler.
The Kats put the game out of reach when Johnson tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Reynolds. The TD reception was the first of Reynolds career.
Sam Houston will travel to Houston Baptist next week for a 3:00 p.m. Saturday kickoff.