Saturday, Sept. 15 • Huntsville • 6:05 p.m. • Bowers Stadium (12,975)
No. 5 Sam Houston State (1-0, 0-0 Southland) vs North Dakota (1-1)
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HUNTSVILLE – The No. 5 Sam Houston State Bearkats will look to move to 2-0 in 2018 on Saturday night when they host the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Bowers Stadium in a game sponsored by Villas on Sycamore.
The game will be aired on ESPN3 with Randy McIlvoy and Shea Walker on the call and Sarah Merrifield patrolling the sidelines. ESPN College Extra will also carry the game on DirecTV.
Fans can also listen on KSAM 101.7 FM with Kooter Roberson, E.P. Garth and Brian Adams bringing the action over the airwaves.
This will be the first ever meeting between Sam Houston State and North Dakota. The Kats will return the game next season when they travel to Grand Forks, N.D.
LEFTOVERS FROM A 41-32 WIN OVER PRAIRIE VIEW ...
- Sam Houston picked up its fifth straight win in a season opener played at home. The last time the Kats lost a season opener played at Bowers Stadium was in 2009 vs Western Illinois.
- The Kats moved to 18-7 all-time against SWAC opponents and to 2-1 all-time against Prairie View.
- Sam Houston took full advantage of the Panthers’ mistakes on Saturday, forcing 3 turnovers and having 4 drives start inside Prairie View territory. The Kats converted each of those 4 drives into points, scoring touchdowns three times and kicking a field goal on the final play of the first half after a botched PV punt gave the Kats the ball on the 2-yard line with only 2 seconds left in the half.
- Sam Houston finished with just 344 yards of total offense. It was the least amount of total offense needed by the Kats for a victory since finishing with 269 yards in a win over Southeastern Louisiana in the opening round of the 2014 FCS Playoffs.
- Remus Bulmer rushed for 70 yards and a career-high three touchdowns against the Panthers. On his first carry of the night he became the 13th Bearkat in program history to surpass 2,000 career rushing yards. He also moved into the SHSU all-time top 20 in career all-purpose yards (2,268).
- The Kats held the Panthers to just 1 of 14 conversions on third down. That is in line with last year when SHSU was ranked in the top 20 of the FCS, allowing just 32.9 percent of its opponents’ third-down tries to be converted.
- The Bearkat defense finished with 13.0 TFLs, the most in a single game since it had 13.0 in a win at Lamar on Sept. 17, 2016.
- Nathan Stewart hauled in 120 yards on seven catches in the win over the Panthers. It was his 11th 100-yard receiving game of his career. Though just a junior, his 2,772 career receiving yards are already fourth all-time at SHSU and seventh all-time in the history of the Southland Conference.
- Sam Houston is 1 of just 3 teams in the FCS, along with North Dakota State and New Hampshire, to reach the FCS playoffs each season since 2011. In that time the Kats have posted an impressive 16-7 playoff mark, trailing only the Bison in playoff wins during that span. Sam Houston has reached at least the semifinals in 5 of those 7 seasons, including back-to-back trips to the FCS championship game in both 2011 and 2012.
- With its win over Prairie View, Sam Houston extended its win streak at Bowers Stadium to 21 games, setting a new mark for the second longest home win streak in school history. The streak is the longest current streak in the FCS with the last loss coming to Lamar on Sept. 19, 2015 by a 49-46 score. Since the start of 2011, the Kats have been nearly perfect on the Bowers Stadium turf, having won 48 of their last 50 games in front of their home crowd.
- The Kats currently hold the No. 5 spot in the STATS FCS poll, keeping a trend going of being ranked in every STATS FCS poll since K.C. Keeler took over the program in 2014. Additionally, the last poll without the Kats ranked inside the top 10 was on Nov. 9, 2015.
- Offense has not been a problem under K.C. Keeler. In 57 games since 2014, the Kats have scored 30 or more points 47 times, going 43-4 in those games. They have reached the 40-point mark 34 times, going 32-2 in those games. They have exceeded the 50-point plateau at Bowers Stadium 12 times under Keeler and 15 times overall.
- The Kats are 19-11 all-time in the FCS playoffs and own the country’s third-best winning percentage (.633) in the playoffs. The 2017 season was SHSU’s seventh straight appearance in the FCS playoffs and 11th overall.
WITH A BEARKAT WIN …
- K.C. Keeler would win his 222nd career game. He is currently 16th all-time among FCS head coaches, 3 wins ahead of former Wofford coach Mike Ayers and former SHSU coach Ron Randleman. With his next win he would tie former Wagner head coach Walt Hameline who is 15th with 223 wins from 1981-2014.
- Sam Houston would run its home win streak to 22 games in a row. The last SHSU home loss came vs Lamar by a 49-46 score on Sept. 19, 2015. Sam Houston is approaching its all-time record win streak of 23 games that stretched from 2010 to 2014, while the current 21-game win streak is the longest current streak in all of FCS. Since 2011, Sam Houston is 48-2 in 49 games at home. - Sam Houston would move to 8-4 in non-conference regular season games under K.C. Keeler. Entering this week, only five of those 11 non-conference regular season games under Keeler have been against FCS opponents with the Kats going 5-0 in those games.
- The Kats would move to 2-0 on the season, marking the third straight year they have opened up the year with consecutive wins. It would be only the third time in the history of the program the team has been 2-0 in three straight years with the last time coming from 1966-68. The other time came when SHSU did it four times in a row from 1937 to 1940.
- Sam Houston would move to 8-1 in the K.C. Keeler era against FCS teams which the Kats are playing for the first time in program history. Since Keeler took over in 2014, Sam Houston’s only loss to an FCS team in a series debut was in the 2016 playoffs at James Madison. In that time, they have registered wins over Alabama State and Villanova in 2014, Colgate in 2015, Chattanooga in 2016 and Richmond, South Dakota and Kennesaw State in 2017.
- Sam Houston surpassed the 40-point mark in a home opener for the seventh straight season. The last time the Kats scored less than 40 points in a Bowers Stadium debut was in 2011 when they kicked off the season with a 20-6 win over Western Illinois.