The No. 3 Sam Houston State Bearkat football team defeated the No. 23 Nicholls State Colonels 66-17 Saturday night at Bowers Stadium as they improve to 3-0 this season. SHSU’s high-octane offense was on display early and did not slow down throughout the game.
“We didn’t want to be that team that got a lead and got disinterested,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “This team focused and finished today.”
The Bearkats got things started early, as senior quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe hit sophomore wide receiver Nathan Stewart for a 56-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bearkats a 7-0 lead just 34 seconds into the game. After having three and outs on the next two possessions the running game got going for the Bearkats. Junior running back Remus Bulmer sparked the attack with a 38-yard touchdown run, making it 14-0 Bearkats. On the first play of the second quarter, junior running back Javin Webb punched the ball in from the one yard line on fourth and goal to push the lead to 21-0.
The Colonels finally got on the board in the second quarter, capitalizing on a Bearkat fumble recovered at the SHSU 29-yd line. The Bearkat defense made a stand and held the Colonels to only a field goal, making it 21-3 with 11:45 left in the first half. SHSU answered that field goal with a touchdown run by Bulmer to make it 28-3. A field goal by junior kicker Tre Honshtein extended it to 31-3 with 4:25 left in the second quarter. It looked like the scoring was done for the Bearkats in the first half, but an interception by junior safety Adrian Contreras gave the Bearkats the ball back with 1:20 left, and they capitalized by going 75 yards on seven plays, punctuated by a 28-yard touchdown pass from Briscoe to Stewart to make it 38-3 going into halftime.
Three points is the fewest allowed by the Bearkats in the first half of a game since Oct. 22, 2016 when they played the Colonels.
“Defensively our main focus was to come out and execute,” Contreras said. “We didn’t do a whole lot, but our plan was to be the best that we could be at it.”
The Bearkats did not take their foot off the gas on either side of the ball to start the second half. Their defense did not allow a first down on each of Nicholls’ first three possessions, and the Bearkats offense took advantage. On the first drive, Briscoe hit junior wide receiver Davion Davis for a 15-yard touchdown. SHSU’s ground game found paydirt on the next drive when senior running back Corey Avery ran the ball in from eight yards out to give the Bearkats a dominant 52-3 lead with 7:53 left in the third quarter. With a 49-point lead the Bearkats pulled their starters, and allowed some backups to get in on the action. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Griffin quickly connected with sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Harris for a 38-yard touchdown pass as the Bearkats saw their lead grow to 59-3.
The game was all but decided when the fourth quarter began. Webb rushed for his second touchdown of the day, and the Colonels scored a pair of late touchdowns to make the score a little closer, but at the end of the day it was a blowout victory for the Bearkats.
The win was more than just another victory for one guy in particular, and that was senior wide receiver Yedidiah Louis. While he only played the first half, his third catch with :27 left in the second quarter gave him reception number 230 for his career, which set a new Southland Conference record.
“Yedi is special,” Briscoe said. “He’ll play through anything. He sees everything the same way I do. He’s just special, a tremendous athlete, tremendous competitor. He’s just someone that we can really rely on in those tough situations.”
Saturday’s game was a success in all aspects for the Bearkats as they set a new program record for the largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent with the 49-point win. There is not much time to rest, though, as their next game is a traditionally tough opponent. SHSU will travel to Conway to take on the No. 12 University of Central Arkansas Bears. The game will take place Saturday at 6 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Full highlights courtesy Bearkat Sports Network: