Second-ranked Sam Houston State wraps up perfect regular season with dominating Southland Conference win over Incarnate Word, advances to FCS playoffs
SAN ANTONIO – Earning a trip to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs for the first time since 2017, the second-ranked Sam Houston State Bearkats completed a perfect regular season with an impressive 42-14 victory over 22nd-ranked Incarnate Word Saturday at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium to wrap up the outright Southland Conference title.
With the win, the undefeated Bearkats (6-0) were named as the No. 2 overall seed in the FCS playoffs on Sunday and will open up on the Road To Frisco at 11 a.m. Saturday at Huntsville’s Bowers Stadium against Monmouth (3-0), and the game will be aired on ESPN3.
Throwing for one touchdown and rushing for another, Bearkat quarterback Eric Schmid completed 25 of 34 passes for 370 yards while rushing for 67. Despite only holding a 14-7 lead at halftime, the Bearkats (6-0) closed out the game by scoring 21 unanswered points to secure the win.
Scoring on a touchdown pass and running for another, wide receiver Jequez Ezzard finished the game with 155 yards receiving while Cody Chrest had a 106 yards on seven catches to give the Kats two receivers over the century mark for the game. Ramon Jefferson led the Bearkats in rushing with 92 yards and a score, while Donovan Williams and Ife Adeyi both ran for a touchdown.
Allowing only 17.5 points per game this season, the Sam Houston State defense delivered one of its strongest efforts of the season. Led by Trevor Williams with six tackles, the Bearkats defense held the Incarnate — ranked first in the FCS in total offense and 3rd-down efficiency along with being third in scoring — to just 14 points and 318 total yards after the Cardinals entered averaging 599 yards and 47.6 points per game.
Hoping to win a national title for the first time in the NCAA, the Bearkats bring the postseason back to Huntsville for the first time since 2017. With wins over nationally-ranked Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State and Incarnate Word, Sam Houston State enters the 16-team playoff bracket as one of the favorites to win the national championship after a dominant spring slate, winning by a combined 27.3 points per game to capture the Southland Conference and earn an auto-bid.
Now, the Bearkats will try and win their first national championship since earning one as a NIAA program in 1964. Sam Houston State has advanced to the FCS national championship game twice, losing to North Dakota State in both 2011 and 2012. The 2021 FCS Championship Game will take place on May 16 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.
Photos courtesy of SAM HOUSTON STATE ATHLETICS & INCARNATE WORD ATHLETICS
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