Bearkats maul Incarnate Word Cardinals in season opener, 54-7
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 01:09
Junior Bearkat running back Tim Flanders captured the all-time career rushing record for Sam Houston State University in Saturday’s landslide 54-7 victory against the University of Incarnate Word.
“I [told] all my offensive linemen ‘thank you,” I told [Brian] Bell ‘thank you,’ I told most of the receivers that I had a chance to see,” said Flanders. “I’m blessed to have broken the record. I wanted to do it at home.”
Flanders’ touchdowns both came in the first quarter with a 40-yard run 45 seconds into the game and an eight yard run towards the end of the quarter. This was the running back’s 16th career game with 100 plus yards, having 117 yards during the game.
Early in the first quarter, senior linebacker Eric Fieilo was carted off the field in a stretcher after sustaining an injury making a hard tackle on an Incarnate Word player.
“He went down with his head down,” senior linebacker Darius Taylor said. “I knew it was bad when he didn’t move. Eric is one of our toughest players. We just said a little prayer for him and wished him the best and now he’s alright, he’s been released.”
No word has been said about when Fieilo will move back to the starting lineup.
Sophomore back-up running back Keshawn Hill rotated with Flanders throughout the game and showed his speed with two break-away touchdowns in the second half.
“Keshawn Hill is a heck of a back,” Head Coach Willie Fritz said. “Sometimes having Tim [Flanders] back there some of the other running backs get overlooked. We got to do a good job calling plays for each of the backs.”
The Bearkat defense, led by Taylor, held the Cardinals to a mere 88 yards compared to SHSU’s 484. According to the linebacker, the Bearkat defense expected Incarnate Word to run the ball frequently after watching their videos against Texas College the previous week.
“They couldn’t run the ball,” Taylor said. “They tried to do it early and that’s what they tried to do last week [against Texas College] as well. So coming into the game we knew we had to stop the run and I felt like we did that.”
The Bearkats had a slow start in the first quarter with a fumble on Incarnate Word’s first punt on their opening drive. The Cardinals quickly recovered the ball at their own 41-yard line.
“I thought we had a bunch of first game jitters,” Fritz said. “We weren’t very sharp and crisp. I think we calmed down a little bit [after the first half.]”
According to Coach Fritz, overall the Bearkats did a good job playing against Incarnate Word’s special team formations and adjusting to their versatile punt strategy.
“They changed things up [with their punt formations],” Fritz said. “They punted with a different guy…we had it played pretty well.”
Early in the fourth quarter, senior wide receiver Terrance Robinson returned a punt for a 60-yard touchdown to seal the game as a Bearkat victory.
To prepare for the game against Baylor this Saturday, Coach Fritz is expecting a week of corrections on both sides of the ball to be ready for the Big 12 Baylor Bears.
“[We have] a lot of good things to correct on tape,” Fritz said. “There are guys that earned more playing time; there are guys that earned less playing time. Teams make their greatest improvements between week one and week two.”
In preparation for the Baylor game this Saturday, Taylor is expecting a different outcome with the veteran Bearkat squad compared to 2010’s 3-34 loss against the Bears.
“It’s a big game for us. We were a young team [in 2010] and I think now we’re a mature team,” Taylor said.
The Bearkats will travel to Waco and play against the Baylor Bears Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.gobearkats.com.