Saturday, October 07, 2017

Turnovers and Ineffective Offense trump SFA’s upset over Sam Houston

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Devin Brooks
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
Special for TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October  7, 2017) Christmas came in October for the SFA Lumberjacks as the Sam Houston State Bearkats gifted them with multiple turnovers, but SFA wasn’t in a receiving mood.

As a result, 26,792 fans watched the SFA Lumberjacks fall to the Sam Houston StateUniversity Bearkats 27-16 Saturday afternoon at NRG Stadium in Houston. This was the 92nd edition of the Battle of the Piney Woods game and SFA secured their seventh consecutive loss after failing to convert on the Kats’ multiple blunders throughout the game.

SFA (2-4 overall, 2-2 Southland) forced four turnovers in the game that could’ve been devastating to the Bearkats, but SFA couldn’t capitalize on the Kats’ mistakes and that proved to be the story of the game. Sam Houston committed 13 penalties that totaled to 144 yards. They fumbled three times, twice on special teams, and threw one interception that lifted SFA out of the dark, but thanks to the ineffectiveness of SFA’s offense, the Kats won their seventh straight BOTPW game and now have a 54-35-2 record over the SFA during this 92 game rivalry.

Early in the first quarter the game was shaping up to be a classic blowout. Sam Houston jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Davion Davis, SHSU running back, scored the first touchdown of the game when he rumbled into the end zone from 10 yards out. Sam took 2:47 minutes to run eight plays that totaled 71 yards. Afterwards, quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe and kicker Tre Honshtein added to the lead making the score 17-0 in favor of SHSU after one quarter. Briscoe broke the career record for passing touchdowns (85) for SHSU after his first quarter touchdown pass. SFA gained 9 yards and SHSU gained nine first downs during the first quarter.

SFA came into the second quarter with a different mindset. Sophomore safety, Alize Ward, intercepted Briscoe’s pass and returned it for 52 yards setting SFA up inside the 20 yard line. Storm Ruiz, kicker, would make a 42 yard field goal giving SFA their first score of the game. On SFA’s next possession, Blumrick hooked up with Tamrick Pace for a 58-yard gain. That pass led to Blumrick jumping into the end zone from the one-yard line. That cut the SHSU lead to 17-10 with 3:19 left in the first half.

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
SFA would go into the half down 20-13 after both team’s swapped field goals. After a bevy of miscues that included interceptions, ejections, fumbles and confusing challenges, the Jacks were in position to tie the game at 20 midway through the fourth quarter. Blumrick got the team into the red zone after he hooked up with receiver Frank Iheanacho for a 35-yard gain. Blumrick went through his progressions during the drive on the goal-line and threw a pass into the back of the end zone intended for Cody Williams, but Danzell Sims intercepted the potential game-tying TD pass and ended all hopes of a Lumberjack upset. SHSU would score late in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard TD run by Briscoe. The SFA defense was simply fatigued and Briscoe was able to slip away and score to dagger touchdown. Blumrick completed 18 passes for 205 yards. Pace caught 6 passes for 100 yards. Ward has recorded three interceptions on the season which ties for the most in the SLC.

SFA will gather themselves and take their talents to Conway, Arkansas. The Jacks will battle the eighth ranked Central Arkansas Bears. This game will be featured as the SLC Game of the Week and will be streamed live on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Estes Stadium in Conway.

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