Sam Houston State, ranked fourth in this week's FCS poll, methodically pulled away from No. 2 Eastern Washington en route to a 49-34 victory in a rematch of last year's classic FCS semifinal matchup. The BearKats got three touchdowns in the second quarter to build a lead and added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to make that lead insurmountable.
Eastern Washington built a six-point lead after one quarter, but Sam Houston State scored two quick touchdowns to retake the advantage. They never again trailed. Quarterback Brian Bell completed a touchdown pass to Torrance Williams with 21 seconds left in the half to give the BearKats a 28-20 halftime edge, and a 3-play, 69-yard drive early in the third quarter extended that lead to 15 points.
A Demetrius Bronson touchdown run temporarily brought Eastern Washington back within one score of the lead, but, for the third time in the game, Sam Houston State responded to the Eagles score with a pair of touchdowns.
Box Score Hero: Sam Houston State is synonymous with gaudy running statistics, and they did not disappoint. Timothy Flanders ran 32 times for a whopping 280 yards and two touchdowns, and the team combined for 450 rushing yards on 54 attempts. Quarterback Brian Bell only had to complete 4 of his 8 pass attempts, and 2 of those 4 completions were for touchdowns.
Rankings Ramifications: Sam Houston will enter the top 3, and could jump Towson into the No. 2 spot, in next week's FCS rankings. Eastern Washington should not fall far; the Eagles will likely remain in the top 5.
Next Week's Schedule: Sam Houston State next faces Lamar, a Southland Conference rival. Eastern Washington hosts Big Sky Conference opponent Weber State.