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Eastern Washington semis foe Saturday at 3 p.m.
Release: 12/08/2012
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Sam Houston State will face Eastern Washington at 3 p.m. (Central time) Saturday, Dec. 15, at Roos Field in Cheny, Washington, in the NCAA Division I Football Championships semifinals.

The game will be televised nationally on the ESPNU cable network.

Eagles quarterback Kyle Padron passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns to lead Eastern Washington to a 51-35 victory over Illinois State Saturday evening in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Sam Houston defeated Montana State 34-16 Friday night in Bozeman to earn its semifinal berth.

The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the NCAA Division I National Championship game on Saturday, Jan. 5, in Frisco, Texas. North Dakota State plays host to Georgia Southern in the other semifinal matchup.

Eastern Washington stood No. 4 in the final regular season FCS rankings and is the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.

The game marks Sam Houston's third appearance in the semifinals and the second year in a row the Bearkats have reached the Championships final four.

Ranked No. 5 in the final regular season rankings and unseeded in the playoffs, Sam Houston defeated Cal Poly 18-16 in Huntsville in the second round.

Last year, Sam Houston punched its ticket for the NCAA Division I championship finals at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco with a 31-28 victory over Montana in the semifinals in Huntsville.

"Eastern Washington throws the ball really well," Sam Houston head coach Willie Fritz said. "That's a big part of their offense. They are the number two team in the playoffs and they are very deserving. They're tough on their red carpet there in Cheney. They're a very strong team."

Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State's only previous football meeting came in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2004, a contest voted by Bearkat football fans as SHSU's "Game of the Decade" in a poll by in 2009.

Down 20 points with 14 minutes to play on Dec. 4, 2004, in Cheney, quarterback Dustin Long led a Kat rally that ended with the winning touchdown and PAT on the final play of the game.

Jason Mathenia caught a school record 13 passes for 226 yards and Long threw for 478 yards and three touchdowns for a 35-34 SHSU victory over the No. 14 ranked Eagles.

Locally, KSAM 101.7 FM will carry live play-by-play action of the semifinals. The game can be heard wordlwide on .

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