Saturday, Oct. 14 • Huntsville, Texas • 3:45 p.m. • Bowers Stadium (12,975)
No. 9 Sam Houston State (4-1, 2-1 SLC) vs Northwestern State (1-4, 1-2 SLC)
Live Stats • Eleven Sports Network • @BearkatsFB on Twitter • Complete SHSU Game Notes
HUNTSVILLE – The No. 9 Sam Houston State Bearkats will put the longest current home winning streak in the FCS on the line on Saturday when they return to Bowers Stadium to host Northwestern State in a game presented by Huntsville Memorial Hospital.
The Kats maintained their hold on No. 9 in the STATS FCS national rankings after winning their seventh consecutive Battle of the Piney Woods, 27-16, over rival Stephen F. Austin last week at NRG Stadium. They will come into Saturday’s game riding a 14-game win streak at Bowers Stadium, currently the longest such streak in the FCS. This week will present a new test with the Demons coming into Bowers on the heels of a 14-10 loss at Nicholls, a game that saw the Colonels score a late touchdown to hand Northwestern State their second league loss of the season.
Sam Houston did not have an easy go of things in taking down the Lumberjacks in Houston. Despite jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, it took a 26-yard touchdown run from Jeremiah Briscoe with less than five minutes to play to fend off the ‘Jacks who were looking for their first win in the series since 2010.
Northwestern State picked up its lone win of the season two weeks ago in a 35-28 victory over Lamar in Natchitoches, but followed that up with losses to both Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls. The Demons have allowed 33.2 points and 441.6 yards per game this season, but turned in their best defensive performance in 2017 against the Colonels in holding Nicholls to just 326 yards of offense.
Quarterback J.D. Almond triggers the offense with 187.2 yards per game through the air, and has accounted for six touchdowns. His favorite target has been senior wide out Bobby Chan-Chan who ranks eighth in the Southland with 53.4 yards receiving per game. Chris Jones has carried the bulk of the rushing load with 53.4 yards per game on the ground, while his 81 carries are more than double any other Demon back.
Defensively, Nick Pierotti ranks third in the league with 8.8 tackles per game, while Obinna Iheoma’s 4.5 sacks is the second most of all defensive players in the Southland.
Saturday’s game will be aired live on Eleven Sports Network with Mike Meltser on play-by-play and John Harris providing color analysis. Fans can also listen live on KSAM 101.7 FM with Kooter Roberson and E.P. Garth in the booth, and Brian Adams patrolling the sidelines.
Live stats are available to fans, in addition to live updates being provided by following @BearkatsFB on Twitter.
Fans in the Huntsville area can find the game on Eleven Sports Network on Suddenlink Channel 455. The game can also be found on DirecTV 623, AT&T U-verse 1665 and Verizon FiOS 597.
For a full listing of TV providers, visit http://elevensportsusa.com/where-to-watch/.
Streaming options are also available via the Southland Digital Network - http://southland.org/live and Southland Conference app (iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku).
The Kats trail in the all-time series with the Demons, 19-20, but have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including each of the last five played in Huntsville. Sam Houston has not fallen to Northwestern State in Huntsville since a 10-6 loss in 2005, averaging 44.4 points per game with a 24.8-point average margin of victory in those five straight home wins.
WITH A BEARKAT WIN ...
- K.C. Keeler would win his 213th career game. He is currently 18th all-time among FCS head coaches, one win behind Wofford’s Mike Ayers. One spot ahead of Ayers on the all-time list is former SHSU head coach Ron Randleman, who sits 16th with 218 career wins.
- Sam would extend its win streak at Bowers Stadium to 15 games, tying the mark for the second longest home win streak in school history. The current 14-game streak dates back to a 49-46 loss to Lamar on Sept. 19, 2015, a streak that is the longest current such streak in the FCS. Since the start of 2011, the Kats have been nearly perfect on the Bowers Stadium turf, having won 41 of their last 43 games in front of their home crowd overall. The current school record for consecutive home victories is 23 in a row that stretched from 2010 to 2014.
- Sam Houston would win its 73rd game since the beginning of the 2011 season. The Kats and North Dakota State are the only two teams in the FCS with 70 victories since the beginning of the 2011 campaign.
- Sam Houston would open the season with at least 5 wins in its first 6 games for the 13th time in the history of the program.
LEFTOVER KATNIP FROM 27-16 WIN vs STEPHEN F. AUSTIN ...
- Sam Houston won its seventh straight Battle of the Piney Woods, setting a new record for the longest win streak by either team in the history of the series. Its current win streak over the ‘Jacks is the second longest active win streak by the Kats over any current Southland Conference foe, with only their 11-game win streak over Nicholls being longer.
- The Kats won their 10th consecutive game played in the city of Houston. That current streak dates back to the 2010 Battle of the Piney Woods and includes 6 wins over SFA at NRG Stadium, 2 wins at HBU and a win over Texas Southern at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- Jeremiah Briscoe threw for 325 yards and a TD against SFA, giving him his 17th 300-yard passing game of his career. More importantly, his first-quarter TD pass to Davion Davis was the 85th TD toss of his career, breaking Brian Bell’s former school record of 84 for his career.
- Davion Davis hauled in 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in the win, tying Torrance Williams (13) and Jason Mathenia (2004) for the most single-game receptions in school history. It surpassed his previous career high of 12 catches in 2015 at Texas Tech, the first game of his Bearkat career as a freshman.
- The 27 points scored in the win over the Lumberjacks snapped a streak of 28 consecutive Bearkat wins in which they scored at least 34 points. In fact, it was the lowest scoring output in a Bearkat victory since a 21-17 win over Southeastern Louisiana in the opening round of the 2014 FCS Playoffs.
- Corey Avery’s 85 yards on the ground gave him 2,621 yards for his career and moved him into sole possession of third place all-time at SHSU. He now needs 68 more yards to move past Charles Harris’ career mark of 2,688 and into sole possession of second place in Bearkat history, only behind Timothy Flanders’ 5,644 yards which is both the most in Sam Houston and Southland Conference history.
- The Bearkat defense turned in a dominant effort against the ‘Jacks, finishing with 7 sacks and allowing just 14 yards allowed on the ground. The 7 sacks tied with last year’s 7-sack effort at HBU for the most by the Kats since totaling 12 sacks against Nicholls in 2010, while the 14 yards rushing allowed was the best effort against an opponent’s ground game since allowing -23 yards against Lamar in that same 2010 season.
- Sam’s defense also forced 3 turnovers against the ‘Jacks, marking the third time this year the defense has totaled 3 takeaways. Through 5 games the Kats have already forced 11 turnovers, the most in the first 5 games of a season since forcing 13 in the first 5 games of the 2011 campaign.