FCS No. 3 Bearkats power pass Lions

Sam Houston State (9-0, 7-0), the number four-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision formerly known as Divison 1-AA, took part in spoiling the Lions’  (2-7, 0-5) Homecoming on the gridiron Saturday, defeating the Lions 38-9.

The Lions started off the game with good field position after redshirt freshman running back Jordan Wells returned the opening kickoff 50-yards to the Sam Houston 43-yardline. Junior quarterback Brian Young, who finished the game 21-for-50 with 204 yards and a pair of interceptions, then completed a 12-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Dean Johnson getting the ball to the 31. After a failed third down the Lions sent in Seth Sebastian to attempt a 45-yard field goal that was missed wide left.

“When we move the football like that we have to get points,” said Lions head coach Mike Lucas.

The Lions’ defense responded, forcing the Bearkats to a three and out as defensive back Keiron Jones led the attack with 11 tackles and one interception. Young and the Lions began their next drive from their own 22 and, with 11:58 to go in the first quarter, Young hit senior wide receiver Simmie Yarborough for a 42-yard pass, moving the ball into Bearkat territory. The two would connect again three plays later for a 16-yard gain. The Lions drive would end with the Lions striking first on a successful 36-yard field goal from Sebastian, giving the Lions a 3-0 lead with 08:39 on the clock. Yarborough led all receivers in the game with nine receptions for 114 yards.

“We had some open receivers deep and we didn’t throw accurate passes,” said Lucas. “We had to do that with that man-to-man coverage we were getting.”

The Bearkats’ offense responded on the next drive when senior quarterback Brian Bell found running back Tim Flanders on a shuffle pass with Flanders taking the ball 39-yards up the middle to the 13. Three plays later Flanders found the end zone for the first time of the day with a 9 yard­ rush. After the PAT, Sam Houston led 7-3.

The No. 1 ranked team in the SLC wouldn’t look back, going on to score 31 unanswered points. The Lions had no answer for the Bearkats, even bringing in Ole Miss transfer quarterback Nathan Stanley, only to see him fumble on his first play from scrimmage.

“BJ [Brian Young] got hit and got woozy so we put Nathan in and Nathan turned the ball over on two drives,” said Lucas.

 The Lions wouldn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter when Young connected with senior wide receiver Kory Theodore for a 19-yard touchdown pass bringing the score to a final of 38-9 after a blocked PAT.  

The Lions did have a few positives on the day when Yarborough became the SLC all-time leader in receptions with 217. Yarborough broke the old record held by former Sam Houston receiver Matt Dominguez on his fourth catch of the game in the third quarter with a five-yard strike from Young.