Bearkat football team casts out Demons, 52-17 victory
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 00:11
The Sam Houston State Bearkats clench their second consecutive Southland Conference title with a 52-17 landslide victory over the Northwestern State Demons Saturday in Natchitches, La. Saturday’s victory extended the Bearkats winning streak to seven this season to share the title with the University of Central Arkansas.
The Bearkats held Northwestern’s offense to only 183 total yards compared to SHSU’s 509. Brian Bell and running back Timothy Flanders accounted for five of SHSU’s seven touchdowns and 377-yards in Saturday’s matchup.
SHSU’s offense established the running game early with a 56-yard run from Flanders late in the first quarter. Flanders’ breakaway run broke the offensive standstill after an exchange of punts between SHSU and Northwestern.
“We came out soft, we didn’t come out upbeat, we didn’t come out loud like we normally have been the past couple of games and it showed,” receiver Trey Diller said.
Northwestern responded to Flanders’ run with an 82-yard kickoff return at the end of the second quarter to tie SHSU 7-7. After a 34-yard field goal from Miguel Antonio, the Bearkats ran four uncontested touchdown drives to close the first half with a 38-10 lead.
After halftime, Northwestern struggled to gain momentum as the Bearkats continued to drive down the field and score two more times in the second half.
“We didn’t start off great but boy we just played great the second, third, and fourth quarter,” Coach Willie Fritz said. “Once again in the fourth quarter, everyone in the ballpark knows we’re going to run it and we were still able to run the ball effectively.”
Saturday’s win secured a spot in the FCS playoffs for the second consecutive year, establishing SHSU’s program as one to watch for future playoff appearances.
According to receiver T.J. Jones, clenching this year’s title was a harder feat than last year’s undefeated season.
“We had three home games and played away all the time,” Jones said. “Being a ranked team all year everybody gives us their best game…we just had to find ourselves as a team and just come together and take it one game at a time. It means a lot more than last year.”
Next week the Bearkats will travel to College Station to face off against BCS ranked Texas A&M. The Aggies stunned the nation by dethroning formerly top ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. According to players, the Bearkats are looking to put up a fight.
“We’ve battled back [after the loss to UCA] for seven weeks in a row we’ve been handling business,” Diller said.
“We have the team that can play with any team in the country,” defensive back Darnell Taylor said.
SHSU will face A&M in College Station Saturday November 17 for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are sold out at Kyle Field but the game will be available to watch on pay-per-view by FOX Sports Southwest.
For more information visit www.gobearkats.com