Fresh off the opening weekend of the 2013 football season that saw eight FCS teams claim wins over FBS squads, including McNeese State at South Florida on Saturday, the Southland Conference will play six teams from FBS conferences in week two.
Sam Houston’s 6 p.m. contest with No. 7 Texas A&M at Kyle Field tops the list.
The Southland also will play a pair of Big 12 teams, one each from Pac-12, Mid-American and Conference USA.
Southeastern Louisiana visits TCU at 11 a.m. and Stephen F. Austin is at Texas Tech at 6 p.m. Central Arkansas is at Colorado at 7 p.m., while Lamar visits Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. and Nicholls at Western Michigan at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.
The league’s other two games are FCS vs. FCS matchups, pitting Southern at Northwestern State at 6 p.m. and Arkansas-Pine Bluff at McNeese State at 7:30 p.m.
McNeese State became the first Southland Conference team to beat a team in an automatically qualifying BCS conference when it won 53-21 at South Florida last Saturday. The 53 points McNeese scored were the most by an FCS team over a BCS team in college football history and the 32-point margin of victory was the most by a FCS over a BCS AQ.
The Southland Conference was one of six FCS conferences that had at least one of its teams pull an upset against an FBS team. Eastern Washington became the third FCS team to knock off a ranked FBS team when it beat No. 25 Oregon State.
North Dakota State beat defending Big 12 champion Kansas State. McNeese State, which tied for fourth in the league standings last season, not only surprised South Florida, but scored more points (53) than any FCS team had against a team from a BCS AQ conference. Other FCS wins against the FBS last week included Towson over UConn, Northern Iowa over Iowa State, Eastern Illinois over San Diego State, Southern Utah over South Alabama and Samford over Georgia State.
The Southland has three teams in the FCS national rankings.
Two-time FCS runner-up Sam Houston State is the Southland Conference’s top-ranked team. The Bearkats, who finished 11-4 overall and 6-1 in conference games and opened their 2013 campaign with a 74-0 win over Houston Baptist, is ranked No. 4 in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches’ polls.
Central Arkansas is No. 7 in the Sports Network poll and No. 5 in the coaches’ poll after its 58-7 win over UIW. The Bears finished 9-3 overall and had a 6-1 league record.
McNeese State made its debut in the polls this week after its 53-21 win at South Florida. The Cowboys are ranked No. 18 in the Sports Network poll and No. 20 in the coaches’ poll.
Walter Payton Award candidate Timothy Flanders played only one quarter Saturday in the Sam Houston Bearkats’ 74-0 win over Houston Baptist, but finished with 51 yards on nine carries. His 4-yard touchdown run with 11:27 in the first quarter made Flanders the all-time leader in the Southland Conference for rushing touchdowns.
The score was Flanders’ 53rd rushing touchdown, moving him ahead of Charles McDaniel of Louisiana Tech who scored 52 during his career in 1971-74.
Flanders now has 4,285 career rushing yards and is within 74 yards of becoming the second all-time leading rusher in Southland history. Henry Field of McNeese gained 4,358 in 1992-95. Claude Mathis of Texas State holds the Southland career record with 4,694 yards from 1994 to 1997.
The Bearkats extended their home win streak to 15 games with a 74-0 victory over Houston Baptist on Saturday. The streak, which dates back to a victory in the final home game of the 2010 season, ties the longest in school history.
The Bearkats played 22 freshmen, counting both true freshmen and redshirts, against HBU. With 65 players suiting up for the game the youngsters accounted for nearly one-third of the Bearkats’ squad. The reserves saw plenty of action, taking the field early in the second quarter and finishing the game.
This Week’s Southland Conference Schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 7
Southeastern Louisiana at TCU, 11 a.m. (FSN)
Lamar at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m.
Nicholls at Western Michigan, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Southern at Northwestern State, 6 p.m.
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M, 6 p.m. (FSN PPV)
Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech, 6 p.m. (FSN)
Central Arkansas at Colorado, 7 p.m. (P12N)
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at McNeese State, 7:30 p.m. (CSNH)
Next week Sam Houston returns to host Texas Southern in a 2 p.m. tilt at Bowers Stadium.
Tickets for all six remaining home games in Huntsville plus the 88th “Battle of the Piney Woods” at Reliant Stadium on Nov. 2 are on sale now online at www.gobearkats.com .
Fans also may visit the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at the south end zone of Bowers Stadium. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ticket office telephone is (936) 294-1729.