In 1979, the Rice Owls’ football team walked into Death Valley, and after a 45-3 loss, they had trouble walking out.
Although the result didn’t lie in the Owls’ favor, it was still one of Sam Houston State athletic director Bobby Williams’ favorite memories from playing for Rice in the late ‘70s.
As the Bearkats head to Baton Rouge for a game against the No. 12 ranked team in FBS football, Louisiana State, this Saturday, Williams is anxious for SHSU to have the same opportunity he once did.
The odds may be in LSU’s favor for the game, but Williams is most excited about the experience his athletes will get playing against a team of the Tigers’ caliber in a stadium rich in history.
“[I want them to] go in like [they] have a chance to win it,” Williams said. “Hopefully, they come out with a positive experience.”
At the end of the game Saturday, the numbers on the scoreboard may not represent a Bearkats win, but the number in the SHSU’s athletic bank account sure will.
The Kats are receiving $500,000 to play LSU, the most SHSU has made from a single game, according to Williams. In recent seasons, SHSU has only made a little over $300,000 playing in-state powerhouse football programs like Baylor and Texas-A&M University. The Bearkats are able to allocate this money toward bringing in teams to play at Bowers Stadium, including Alabama State and Colorado State – Pueblo.
However, head coach K.C. Keeler’s attention isn’t worried about the money from the game.
He’s ready to contest LSU.
“This isn’t a money game for us,” Keeler said, according to The Times-Picayune. “This is a football game for us. We did not schedule a score. We scheduled a football game.”
The last time the Bearkats defeated an FBS opponent was in 2011 against the University of New Mexico in a 48-45 win in overtime. Since then, SHSU has dropped games to FBS opponents three straight times.
The Bearkats head into Tiger Stadium off a home victory over Alabama State 50-21.
LSU hosts SHSU coming off a 28-24 victory over Wisconsin in Houston last Saturday.
The two teams kickoff at 6:39 p.m.