HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Sam Houston State.
SAM HOUSTON STATE (12-2)
The Southland (2nd in SLC)
COACH: K.C. Keeler – 5th year (46-12)
2017 OFFENSE: 43.3 ppg (1st in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 31.2 ppg (99th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Sam Houston State has been one of the most consistent winners in the FCS the past few years and that will continue in 2018. While some people may point to the losses of Jeremiah Briscoe, Corey Avery and NFL Draft Pick P.J. Hall as reasons for using the "rebuilding" word, that's hardly the reality. This isn't a rebuilding situation at all, this team is a clear frontrunner to win the Southland again and get into the FCS Playoffs. The Bearkats actually return most of their starting lineup, along with the No. 1 receiver tandem in the nation with Davion Davis and Nathan Stewart.
So if the QB situation is a good situation this fall? Sam Houston State is going to score some serious points and make a playoff run. The key question in recent years has been, can the Bearkats hunker down on defense enough to get back to the FCS national title game (as in 2012)? The last three years the playoff exits have combined for a 182 points given up to 30 scored clip — that's the biggest question at this point, will that change in 2018?
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Bearkats once again look like a program capable of winning 10 or more games and getting into the quarterfinals/semifinals. The big question with the Southland Conference competition is what will happen in the late September game with a loaded Nicholls team. But remember, Sam Houston State hammered Nicholls last year.
TOP RETURNEE: WR Davion Davis (Southland Offensive Player of the Year)
THE NEXT BEST: WR Nathan Stewart (67 catches, 1,568 yards, 13 TDs); OL Mitchell Watanabe (HERO Sports Preseason All American); DL Chris Stewart (13 sacks, 19 TFLs, 13 hurries); OL Eric David (2nd Team All Southland); PK Tre Honshtein (20 FGs); RB Remus Bulmer (702 yards rushing, 3 TDs); DB Adrian Contreras (221 career tackles, 19 passes defensed); DB Zyon McCollum (HERO Sports Freshman All American team – 3 INTs); OL Tristan Wendt (1st Team Preseason All Southland).
TOP NEWCOMER: QB Mike Dare (Rutgers/JUCO transfer)
DID YOU KNOW?: Sam Houston State played in some mighty colorful bowl games many years before the playoff day of I-AA/FCS. For instance, the Bearkats won the Shrimp Bowl in 1952 and two Refrigerator Bowls in 1953 and 1956, while falling in the Christmas Festival Bowl in 1958. The Refrigerator Bowl was played in Evansville, Ind., while the Shrimp Bowl was played a bit closer to home in Mississippi.
THE QUOTE: "We know we know we need to run the ball better, but it’s kind of unfair right now to look at it because we played tonight without three tight ends, which really changes who you are. I think with everything together we are going to have a pretty good offense. I thought Mike (Dare) did some really good things. You can see his arm strength and his presence, and the one thing he might have over the other two guys right now is his experience. But all three have played well. The biggest thing is to see our defense get better make some steps this spring." — coach K.C. Keeler said during spring ball
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #EatEmUpKats
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @BearkatsFB
— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) July 19, 2018
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