Week 12 Southland Conference Schedule
Thursday, Nov. 15
Southeastern La. at Nicholls St.*, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17
Sam Houston St. at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m. (FSN PPV)
Northwestern St. at Stephen F. Austin*, 3 p.m. (SLCTV)
Eastern Illinois at Central Arkansas, 5 p.m.
Lamar at McNeese St.*, 7 p.m.
All times Central
Week 12 News & Notes
Weekend of Rivalry Games: With the Southland Conference championship race officially finished, the final week of the regular season showcases a trio of rivalry games and a pair of non-conference tilts for the teams that shared the conference title.
Action gets underway Thursday at 6 p.m. in Thibodaux with the annual River Bell Classic between Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State. On Saturday, Northwestern State visits Stephen F. Austin to battle for the 7-foot-6-inch, 320-pound Chief Caddo trophy, at 3 p.m. on Southland TV and then later that night Lamar travels to McNeese State in the Battle of the Border at 7 p.m.
Date With The Aggies: After earn a share of its second consecutive conference championship last week, No. 3/3 Sam Houston State finishes the regular-season at Texas A&M, which is coming off a 29-24 upset of defending BCS champion Alabama. That game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and is available on Fox Sports Net Pay-Per-View. The Aggies are ranked as high as No. 9 in the FBS polls.
Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas Share Title: Central Arkansas clinched a share of its first Southland Conference championship Nov. 3 with a 35-14 win over Northwestern State. Sam Houston State matched UCA's 6-1 conference mark by beating Northwestern State 52-17 last Saturday to earn a share of its second consecutive Southland championship and its fifth all-time title.
The league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Playoffs was secured by Central Arkansas thanks to its 24-20 win over Sam Houston Sept. 22 in the teams' conference opener in Conway. UCA lost its only conference game the next week, falling 42-37 at Stephen F. Austin. The Bears will be making their second consecutive appearance in the playoffs after earning an at-large berth last year in just its second season of playoff eligibility.
UCA opened the 2011 playoffs with a 34-14 win at Tennessee Tech before losing a second-round date at Montana 41-14. The Bears finished the 2008 season with a conference-best 6-1 record, but were not eligible for the Southland title or the NCAA postseason during its transition into Division I.
Selection Sunday: The 20-team bracket for the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship will be announced live on ESPNU Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Central. The 30-minute show will announce the 10 automatic qualifiers and the 10 at-large teams as well as the top-five national seeds. Eight teams open the playoffs Nov. 24 with second-round games being played Dec. 1. The quarterfinals will be played Dec. 7-8 with the national semifinals be played Dec. 14-15. The first four rounds of the playoffs are played on campus sites, while the national championship game will be played Jan. 5, 2013 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. This marks the third year for the game to be played in Frisco. The Southland Conference, alongside the City of Frisco and Hunt Sports Group, serves as host of the championship game. The bracket grows from 20 teams to 24 teams in 2013.
Week 12 Matchup: Sam Houston State and Texas A&M meet Saturday for the 11th time and the first time since the Aggies won 59-6 in 1997 ... that was the first meeting between the schools since 1941 ... the Bearkats and Aggies played nine times between 1919 and 1941, including every year from 1932-36.
Week 11 Rewind: Sam Houston State defeated Northwestern State 52-17 to earn a share of its second consecutive Southland Conference championship. The Bearkats, who won their fifth overall title, finished 6-1 to tie Central Arkansas atop the league standings, but the Bears earned the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Playoffs thanks to its 24-20 victory against Sam Houston in September. The Bearkats must wait until Selection Sunday to find out if it gets an at-large bid. Also Saturday, Lamar earned its first conference victory of the season 34-24 over Nicholls State; Southeastern Louisiana bounced back from two consecutive losses to beat Stephen F. Austin 42-27; and McNeese State come-back bid came up just short in a 31-24 non-conference loss at Texas-San Antonio.
Two Southland Teams Ranked in FCS Top 25 Polls: Sam Houston State held steady at No. 3 in both FCS polls this week following its 52-17 win over Northwestern State last Saturday. Despite its open date last week, Central Arkansas climbed three spots to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches poll and four spots to No. 10 in the Sports Network poll. Sam Houston and UCA are the only Southland teams in the polls this week though McNeese State is receiving votes in the Sports Network poll and Southeastern Louisiana is receiving votes in the coaches' poll. The Bearkats, who were the preseason No. 1 team in the Sports Network poll and started the year No. 2 in the coaches' poll, have been ranked in the top 10 all season. This is the highest ranking for Central Arkansas this year.
Top Performances in Week 11: Sam Houston State kicker Miguel Antonio made all seven PATs and connected on a 34-yard field goal to build his career total to 284 points ... only running back Timothy Flanders has scored more points (324) ... Antonio has made 56 consecutive PATs.
More On Sam Houston State: The Bearkats clinched a share of their second consecutive Southland Conference title with its 52-17 win at Northwestern State last Saturday ... it was the school's fifth Southland title ... only last year's championship was won outright ... Sam Houston's lone league blemish was a 24-20 loss at UCA back on Sept. 22 ... that sealed the conference's automatic playoff bid for UCA ... the Bearkats other titles came in 1991, 2001 and 2004 ... the win against Northwestern was the program's 28th under third-year head coach Willie Fritz ... those 28 victories (six in 2010, 14 in 2011 and eight so far in 2012) stand as the most wins by the Bearkats in any three consecutive years in the 97 seasons of Sam Houston football
Walter Payton Award candidate Timothy Flanders turned in his 22nd career 100-yard game against the Demons ... he carried the ball 17 times for 138 yards and scored on runs of 56 and 4 yards ... the Bearkats' leading rusher now ranks second all-time in touchdowns (54) and rushing touchdowns (51) and is No. 6 in all-time rushing yards with 3,679
QB Brian Bell, the school's all-time winningest quarterback, has directed the Bearkats to 27 wins ... he ranks second with 5,333 passing yards and 6,124 yards of total offense, trailing former Bearkat QB Rhett Bomar in both categories
WR Trey Diller caught seven of those passes for 119 yards and a score ... the Bearkat defense allowed Northwestern only 141 total yards and 42 on the ground while the Sam Houston offense rolled up 509 total yards, including 253 rushing yards and 256 passing yards
Sam Houston will put its conference-best seven-game win streak on the line at Texas A&M on Saturday ... the Aggies pulled off a 29-24 upset of previously top-ranked Alabama, a team so-called experts thought was invincible ... Sam Houston and Texas A&M have met 10 times previously with the Aggies winning all 10 times, including a 59-6 score in 1997, the last time the teams played.