This Week’s Southland Schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 28
No. 2 E. Washington at No. 4 Sam Houston St., 2 p.m. (CSN Houston)
No. 9 McNeese State at No. 5 Northern Iowa, 4 p.m.
Lamar at Grambling, 6 p.m.
Arkansas Tech at Nicholls (HC), 6 p.m
Langston at Northwestern State, 6 p.m.
Prairie View at Stephen F. Austin, 6 p.m.
The two Southland Conference teams ranked in the top 10 of this week’s polls will duel against teams also ranked among the top-10 FCS teams.
No. 4 Sam Houston State will welcome No. 2 Eastern Washington to Huntsville and No. 9 McNeese State will visit No. 5 Northern Iowa on a Saturday that also features one other FCS top-10 matchup when No. 1 North Dakota State visits No. 6 South Dakota State.
Sam Houston State, which is 3-1 this season, will put its 17-game home win streak on the line against the 2-1 Eagles in a rematch of last year’s semifinal game in the FCS Playoffs that sent the Bearkats back to Frisco to challenge the Bison for the national championship for the second consecutive year.
McNeese and UNI will battle to remain unbeaten in the first meeting between the schools since 1999. McNeese is off to a 4-0 start, while UNI is 3-0. The 4-0 start is the best for the Cowboys since they finished the 2007 regular season with an 11-0 record.
Outside of the two top-10 games on Saturday, there are four other games this week in the Southland Conference.
Three are home games for the Southland team with Nicholls welcoming Arkansas Tech, Northwestern State playing host to Langston and Stephen F. Austin hosting Prairie View A&M. The other game has Lamar visiting Grambling. Both Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana are off this week.
The Southland Conference was 7-1 last week, going 5-0 against FCS teams. That improved the league to 12-3 against its own subdivision this season.
Two of those wins came against the Big Sky with Stephen F. Austin shocking No. 2 Montana State 52-38 and No. 12 McNeese State beating Weber State 43-6.
Other wins against FCS teams included Central Arkansas at Missouri State (17-13), Sam Houston over UIW (52-21) and Southeastern Louisiana over Samford (34-31). Lamar and Nicholls also claimed home games, beating Bacone College and Langston, respectively.
The lone loss came against the FBS with Northwestern State falling 52-28 at Alabama Birmingham.
There is only one television game for the Southland Conference this week and that is No. 2 Eastern Washington at No. 4 Sam Houston State at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.
The game will be televised by Comcast SportsNet in Houston and kick off Saturday at 2:07 p.m.
Two Southland Conference teams have notable home-field win streaks and another is a win away from joining them with double-digit streaks.
Sam Houston State leads the FCS and is tied with Michigan for the Division I lead with its 17-game win streak at Bowers Stadium.
The Bearkats have not lost at home since a 33-28 setback to McNeese State on Nov. 13, 2010.
Central Arkansas has won its last 12 home games. The Bears are unbeaten on “The Stripes” its purple and gray two-tone field at First Security Field at Estes Stadium, which went in after the 2010 season. UCA is off this week, but it returns to action Oct. 5 when the Bears welcome McNeese State in a battle of top-15 teams.
Stephen F. Austin is a win over Prairie View A&M away from winning its 10th consecutive home game.
Sam Houston State running back Timothy Flanders, a candidate for the Walter Payton Award, became the Southland Conference’s all-time leading rusher in the Bearkats’ 52-21 win against UIW last Saturday.
Flanders, who ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, passed Claude Mathis of Southwest Texas State with a 41-yard touchdown run in the third quarter before setting the conference record with 4,720 yards.
Flanders now has his sight on moving up in the FCS rankings. His rushing total ranks No. 26 in FCS annals. He is 280 yards away from becoming the 21st FCS back to rush for 5,000 career yards.
His total of 59 rushing touchdowns stands 14th in FCS play. Flanders holds Southland career marks for touchdowns scored (63), rushing touchdowns (59) and rushing yards (4,720) and season records for rushing yards (1,644), rushing touchdown (22) and total touchdowns (24), all in 2011.
Tickets for the Sam Houston versus Eastern Washington duel are available now online at www.gobearkats.com . Tickets also may be purchased at the SHSU Athletic Ticket Office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House in the south end zone of Bowers Stadium.
The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.
On game day Saturday, the Bowers Stadium West Side ticket office will open at 10 a.m. Bearkat Alley tailgate will start at 12 noon. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.