SHSU defeated by Baylor in 48-23 defeat, fall in both major NCAA rankings
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 23:09
After a tough 48-23 loss to FBS-opponent Baylor on Saturday, the Bearkats fell from number two to number three in both major NCAA FCS polls (sports network and coaches).
Along with losing to Baylor, the drop occurred because Montana State, who Sam Houston defeated in the playoffs last year, won against Southland Conference-rival Stephen F. Austin.
The Bearkats went into halftime with all the momentum in the world. They were up 20-10 and had just picked off Baylor quarterback Nick Florence to end the half.
But, as quarterback Brian Bell and the Bearkats would say, their motto is to finish. They did the exact opposite.
The Bearkats who were so dominant in the first half could not hold the Bears, particularly the running game, in the second half, giving up five touchdowns and a field goal, combining for over 500 yards of offense.
The second half did not start well for Sam Houston. A fumble set them back 14 yards and they did not gain them back. They went on to score only three points in the second half compared to Baylor’s 38 points.
"We came out in the second half with a lot of rhythm and a lot of confidence. When you have a couple of plays like that, those things just kind of set us back," Bell said. "It was just hard for us to get our feet back under us. We've just got to finish."
The bad start of the second half set the tone for the rest of the game, making for a long night for the Bearkats.
“We really had a bad first five minutes in the second half,” Kats head coach Willie Fritz said. “We had some new guys playing and really had some untimely mistakes.”
Bell completed 20 of 39 passes for a total of 285 yards. He also threw three interceptions, all in the second half, and the last one was returned for a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the game.
“We should have finished the game and that was my fault,” Bell said. “We’ve got to start the second half like we did the first half with the same intensity. We didn’t start off as fast as we wanted to in the second half and had a couple of things set us back. It was just real uncomfortable for our team.”
Bell was very generous, dishing the ball out to eight different receivers in the game.
Running back Tim Flanders caught the only receiving touchdown for the Bearkats in the second quarter. He finished the game with 56 receiving yards and 84 rushing yards.
“We had them where we wanted them [going into the second half]…we just came out too slow,” Flanders said. “We just can’t let it happen again. We just have to go and watch film. See what worked and see what didn’t work. We just can’t let this carry over into next week.”
Another weapon for the Bearkats was wide receiver Terrance Robinson. He caught four balls for 47 yards.
“In the first half we really came out strong,” Robinson said. “We stuck to the game plan. We were executing on all cylinders, but in the second half we missed a few cues.”
Baylor head coach Art Briles tipped his hat to the way the Bearkats fought in the first half, saying that they are “well-coached,” and that they have “a good amount of depth for an FCS school.”
Baylor, residing from the Big 12, is not the only FBS school the Bearkats will face in 2012. For the last game of the season, SHSU will travel to College Station to face SEC-freshman Texas A&M.
The Bearkats will open Southland Conference play this Saturday as they face the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. This is only the 22nd time Southland Conference opponents play each other while both ranked in FCS polls. SHSU holds a 12-9 record against teams that are also ranked in both polls.
“We need to go and see what we can get better at,” Robinson said. “We had a lot of good things, but at the same time we had a lot of bad things. We just have to go back to the drawing board and see what we have to correct and get ready for conference.”
The game will be aired on the Southland Television Network at 6 p.m.