Saturday, Oct. 13
Northwestern St. at Southeastern La.*, 3 p.m. (SLCTV)
Sam Houston St. at Nicholls St.*, 6 p.m. (HC)
Central Arkansas at McNeese St.*, 7 p.m.
McMurry at Lamar, 7 p.m. (HC)
(HC) designates homecoming
Week Seven News & Notes
Top-20 Showdown Coming Saturday: McNeese State returns from an open date to welcome Central Arkansas to Cowboy Stadium in the Red Beans and Rice Bowl Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game between two of the Southland Conference's three ranked teams. Each team has four wins this season. The Cowboys are ranked as high as No. 15 with their 4-1 record, while the Bears are 4-2 and ranked as high as No. 17. Each team has won three games in the short six-game series, though Central Arkansas has won the last two games, including by a 21-18 score last year. The home team has won each of the six games. Two other conference games are on the week-seven schedule, including Sam Houston State at Nicholls State and Northwestern State at Southeastern Louisiana in the Toyota Game of the Week on the Southland Conference Television Network. Lamar plays host to McMurry.
Red Beans and Rice Bowl: The McNeese vs. Central Arkansas series was dubbed the "Red Beans and Rice Bowl" in the teams' second meeting as Southland Conference foes in 2008. The winner of the game receives a bronzed bowl trophy at the conclusion of each contest in a mid-field presentation and will have custody of that trophy for a full year. Administrators from each university designated the name of the game to bring awareness and recognize the importance of the rice industry in both Arkansas and Louisiana.
Week Seven Matchups: Central Arkansas and McNeese State meet in a big Southland Conference game in week six ... Saturday's 7 p.m. game is the seventh all-time meeting between the teams ... each team has won three games in the series, which dates back to 1994 and has seen the home team win every game ... if the Bears can snap the trend and win on the road in Lake Charles for their third consecutive win in the series, they will improve to 3-1 in league play ... a loss by either team will be its second in league play and could prove difficult to overcome since all but one Southland champion has finished with no more than one conference loss ... Sam Houston State and Nicholls State will face each other for the 28th time on Saturday at 6 p.m. ... the Bearkats lead the series 16-10-1 and have won the last six games, including 47-7 last year in Huntsville ... it is the Colonels' homecoming game ... Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana meet Saturday at 3 p.m. on Southland TV ... it will be the 56th game of the series, which Northwestern State leads 30-25 ... the Demons have won the last two, including 51-17 last year in Natchitoches ... Lamar welcomes McMurry to Beaumont for homecoming ... the Cardinals and War Hawks meet for the first time since 1954 ... the teams have met twice previously with each team claiming a victory in the series ... McMurry won in Abilene in 1953 and Lamar won in Beaumont in 1954.
Three Southland Teams Ranked in FCS Top 25 Polls: Sam Houston State climbed one spot, up to No. 8, in the FCS Coaches poll after its 51-43 victory over Stephen F. Austin last Saturday. The Bearkats held steady at No. 9 in the Sports Network poll. McNeese State and Central Arkansas are also ranked in the two polls. Despite a bye week, the Cowboys moved up two spots in the Sports Network poll and three spots in the coaches' poll. After beating Nicholls State 34-14 on Saturday, Central Arkansas climbed three spots in both polls from No. 24 to No. 21 in the Sports Network poll and from No. 20 to No. 17 in the coaches' poll. Stephen F. Austin continues to receive votes in the Sports Network poll, but is not longer receiving votes in the coaches' rankings.
Southland Names Players of the Week: Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell was named the conference offensive player of the week after he picked up 22nd career victory as starting quarterback for Sam Houston, directing offense to 396 total yards in a 51-43 win over rival Stephen F. Austin in the Battle of the Piney Woods at Reliant Stadium. The junior from China Spring, completed 12 of 20 passes for 168 yards and totaled 69 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. He accounted for 237 yards of total offense. Sam Houston State junior cornerback Bookie Sneed and Nicholls State senior linebacker Jordan Piper shared defensive player of the week honors. Sneed returned an interception 92 yards for touchdown that put Sam Houston State in the lead, 20-14, with 5:55 remaining in second quarter. The return by the junior from Conroe, Texas, was a school record, topping the previous mark of 90 yards set by Paul Wenzel against Sul Ross in 1968. Piper had a career night against Central Arkansas on Saturday, racking up 23 tackles to tie a school record. The senior from New Orleans, La., is averaging 12.25 tackles per game, which ranks fourth nationally. Bearkats' punter Matt Foster helped Sam Houston win the field position battle with a 45.1 average, including long of 61 yards. The senior from Melbourne, Australia, landed three punts inside the 20. A high 43-yard punt with 3:10 to play put SFA on its own 15-yard line, 85 yards away from the end zone down eight points. The drive ended at the Sam Houston 29-yard line with an incomplete pass.
Around the Southland
Nicholls State: The Colonels recorded their eighth consecutive Southland Conference loss after falling to Central Arkansas 34-14 in their league opener last Saturday ... during the eight-game drought, Nicholls has led at the half three times, including twice games against the Bears ... Nicholls led 14-13 at the break Saturday at UCA ... the last Colonel victory in conference play was the 2010 finale against Southeastern Louisiana, where Nicholls won at home 27-25 ... LB Jordan Piper became the first Colonel in 2012 to earn conference player of the week honors after being named co-defensive player of the week after he tied the school record with 23 tackles against UCA, which is a single-game high in the FCS this season ... Piper shares the program record with Nicholls Hall of Famer and all-time leading tackler Rusty Rebowe, who set the mark in 1977 against Southeastern ... Piper leads the Southland and ranks fourth in the FCS with 12.25 tackles per game ... the Colonels finished with 269 yards passing, marking the first time since 1998 that the team has had more than 250 yards passing in back-to-back games ... QB Landry Klann ranks second in the Southland in pass efficiency with a 143.6 rating ... Nicholls is third in the conference in rushing with 183 yards per game ... freshman QB Tuskani Figaro is third in rushing with 69.3 yards per game, followed by junior running back Marcus Washington (69.2) ... Erik Buchanan's 79-yard touchdown reception was the longest since senior Jesse Turner's 95-yarder in 2010 against South Alabama ... Buchanan is averaging 33.2 yards per catch, tallying 133 yards on four catches ... the Colonels play host to Sam Houston State Saturday on homecoming and will be trying to snap a six-game losing streak against the Bearkats, who are the defending conference champions.
Sam Houston State: The Bearkats picked up their first Southland win of the season last Saturday with a 51-43 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the annual Battle of the Piney Woods ... the crowd of 26,185 for the 87th meeting between the schools, which took place at Reliant Stadium set an FCS single-game attendance in the state of Texas for the third year in a row ... CB Bookie Sneed snapped a Sam Houston record that had stood since 1968 with his 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter ... the previous return record of 90 yards was set by Paul Wenzel vs. Sul Ross in 1968 ... QB Brian Bell, accounted for 237 yards total offense against SFA and had a hand in five touchdowns ... he now has passed for 4,467 career yards and 36 touchdown passes ... the league record is 39, held by Dustin Long, an all-conference quarterback who was on Sam Houston's 2004 conference championship team ... Bell ranks behind Rhett Bomar (5,964 yards in 2007-08), Arthur Louis (4,902 yards in 1977-80) and Long (4,588 yards in 2004) on the school's career passing charts ... Bell stands No. 2 in all-time school career total offense list with a total of 5,139 yards ... Bomar holds the record at 6,160 ... Walter Payton award candidate Timothy Flanders became the 11th player to gain 3,000 yards rushing in Southland history ... he picked up his school record 18th career 100-yard game, carrying 27 times for 125 yards ... he now has 3,092 yards ... the conference record is held by former Texas State standout Claude Mathis who gained 4,694 yards rushing from 1994-97 ... K Miguel Antonio has 243 career points (120 PAT and 41 FG) and is 15 points behind the school's all-time leader Billy Hayes, who scored 258 points from 1985-88 ... the Bearkats conclude a five-game road swing Saturday at Nicholls State ... Sam Houston leads the all-time series 16-10-1 and have won the last six, including 47-7 last year in Thibodaux.