Drive Chart
KENSAW
SAMST

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Sam Houston State hangs on to advance to FCS semifinals

(STATS) - Critics have considered Sam Houston State overrated so often in recent years that the Bearkats are probably underrated these days.

All Sam Houston does is win, though, and the No. 6 seed in the FCS playoffs is returning to the semifinals after holding off Kennesaw State 34-27 in a quarterfinal Saturday night at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

Sam Houston (12-1) will visit No. 2 seed North Dakota State (12-1) Friday night. The Bison routed Wofford 42-10 in a quarterfinal earlier Saturday.

NDSU (26) and Sam Houston (16) have the most playoff wins in the FCS this decade. While the host Bison will appear in their FCS-record seventh consecutive semifinal, the Bearkats will be there for the third time in coach K.C. Keeler's four years at the helm and the fifth time in seven years. But the Southland Conference power has suffered some lopsided defeats in the playoffs - hence the criticism - and they've dropped two championship games and one semifinal to NDSU in that time.

"We talk about them all the time in terms of they're the standard," Keeler said. "Alabama, North Dakota State, they're the standard. And we're excited to get a chance to go play them at their place. If you're going to beat the best, you want to beat them at their place."

In its first meeting against Kennesaw State, Sam Houston kept the Owls (12-2) from becoming the first Big South team to reach the semifinals while ending their 12-game winning streak. The matchup featured Kennesaw's No. 1-ranked rushing attack in the FCS, which gained 352 yards on 64 carries, and Sam Houston's No. 1 passing attack led by Jeremiah Briscoe. The senior quarterback threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Yedidiah Louis.

Sam Houston's often-maligned defense was excellent in the first half while the Bearkats built as much as a 24-7 lead. Kennesaw State's offense then found its rhythm, including through the air, and the Owls inched their way back within seven points twice in the fourth quarter.

With Kennesaw trailing 34-27, Dustin Clabough's diving interception of Briscoe gave the Owls the ball at the Bearkats' 41 with 5:04 left.

The Owls picked up two first downs and got as far as the 11 before the drive stalled. On 4th-and-5, the Owls pitched a reverse to Ezra Naylor, who was forced backward while crossing the pocket before being dropped for a 4-yard loss with 1:24 left, effectively clinching Sam Houston's win.

"We knew we were just going to have to play assignment football," said Bearkats defensive end Chris Stewart, who had a game-high 15 tackles with two sacks. "We knew they were going to get yards on us. But our focus is trying to get our offense as many possessions as we could, and that's what we did tonight."

Sam Houston State had a 24-10 halftime lead, answering Kennesaw State junior Darnell Holland's 13-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the game with 24 unanswered points over four straight possessions. Included were Briscoe touchdown passes to Nathan Stewart on a 61-yard bomb and Louis on a 16-yard screen pass. The second one was the 100th in the last two seasons for Briscoe, the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner.

"You saw two of the best teams in the country going after it," Keeler said.

Copyright 2017 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 7:21
86-J.Thompson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
27
34
Touchdown 7:21
3-C.Burks complete to 8-T.Reed. 8-T.Reed runs 23 yards for a touchdown.
11
plays
87
yds
04:29
pos
26
34
Point After TD 11:58
39-T.Honshtein extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
34
Touchdown 12:05
16-J.Briscoe complete to 9-Y.Louis. 9-Y.Louis runs 15 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
64
yds
1:58
pos
20
33
Point After TD 14:26
86-J.Thompson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
27
Touchdown 14:26
3-C.Burks runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
85
yds
01:21
pos
19
27
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 1:49
39-T.Honshtein 21 yards Field Goal is Good.
7
plays
89
yds
02:44
pos
13
27
Field Goal 4:43
86-J.Thompson 34 yards Field Goal is Good.
14
plays
76
yds
07:02
pos
13
24
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:03
86-J.Thompson 28 yards Field Goal is Good.
10
plays
96
yds
01:43
pos
10
24
Point After TD 5:45
39-T.Honshtein extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
24
Touchdown 5:45
6-C.Avery runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
10
plays
58
yds
04:12
pos
7
23
Field Goal 11:38
39-T.Honshtein 22 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
43
yds
03:18
pos
7
17
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:10
39-T.Honshtein extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
14
Touchdown 3:10
16-J.Briscoe complete to 9-Y.Louis. 9-Y.Louis runs 16 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
88
yds
03:04
pos
7
13
Point After TD 10:00
39-T.Honshtein extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 10:09
16-J.Briscoe complete to 81-N.Stewart. 81-N.Stewart runs 61 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
73
yds
0:53
pos
7
6
Point After TD 11:15
86-J.Thompson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 11:21
33-D.Holland runs 13 yards for a touchdown
7
plays
43
yds
1:43
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 23 22
Rushing 14 7
Passing 6 13
Penalty 3 2
3rd Down Conv 8-17 3-12
4th Down Conv 3-5 2-3
Total Net Yards 474 530
Total Plays 79 67
Avg Gain 6.0 7.9
Net Yards Rushing 365 166
Rush Attempts 65 37
Avg Rush Yards 5.6 4.5
Net Yards Passing 109 364
Comp. - Att. 7-14 21-30
Yards Per Pass 7.8 12.1
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-11 2-13
Penalties - Yards 7-70 10-123
Touchdowns 4 5
Rushing TDs 3 1
Passing TDs 1 4
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 1
Fumbles - Lost 1-0 0-0
Int. Thrown 1 1
Punts - Avg 2-43.5 2-38.0
Return Yards 97 129
Punts - Returns 1-2 1-9
Kickoffs - Returns 5-95 5-120
Int. - Returns 1-0 1-0
Kicking 5/6 6/6
Extra Points 3/3 4/4
Field Goals 2/3 2/2
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Kennesaw St. 12-2 7331427
Sam Houston St. 12-1 14103734
109 PASS YDS 364
365 RUSH YDS 166
474 TOTAL YDS 530
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
C. Burks 3 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 120 1 1 131.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
49% 1307 9 3 135.2
C. Burks 7/14 120 1 1
J. McKenzie 4 RB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
0% 0 0 0 0.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 27 1 0 328.4
J. McKenzie 0/0 0 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
S. Terry 37 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 120 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
63 806 3
S. Terry 5 120 0 50
D. Holland 33 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 110 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
81 740 9
D. Holland 14 110 2 19
C. Burks 3 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
21 43 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
255 1103 18
C. Burks 21 43 1 7
J. McKenzie 4 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 43 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
163 731 3
J. McKenzie 15 43 0 7
T. Reed 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 41 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
40 371 2
T. Reed 4 41 0 33
B. Rechsteiner 32 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
99 445 2
B. Rechsteiner 4 10 0 5
T. Chivers 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
22 143 3
T. Chivers 1 2 0 2
E. Naylor 7 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -4 0
E. Naylor 1 -4 0 -4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Sumpter 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 76 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
33 610 5
J. Sumpter 4 76 0 35
T. Reed 8 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 23 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 131 2
T. Reed 1 23 1 23
S. Terry 37 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 14 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 129 0
S. Terry 1 14 0 14
J. Walker 84 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 34 0
J. Walker 1 7 0 7
Defense T-A SACK INT
K. Roman 9 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
K. Roman 7-0 0.0 0
A. Gore Jr. 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 0.0
A. Gore Jr. 6-1 0.0 0
I. Sam 49 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-3 0 0.0
I. Sam 6-3 0.0 0
A. Alufohai 90 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
A. Alufohai 5-3 0.0 0
T. Henkle 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
T. Henkle 4-0 0.0 0
J. White 25 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
J. White 4-0 0.0 0
T. Portress 57 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 1.0
T. Portress 4-1 1.0 0
B. Armstrong 42 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
B. Armstrong 3-1 0.0 0
A. Ralls 6 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
A. Ralls 3-0 0.0 0
M. Billingslea 98 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 1.0
M. Billingslea 2-2 1.0 0
P. Moore 40 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
P. Moore 1-0 0.0 0
D. Johnson Jr. 59 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
D. Johnson Jr. 1-2 0.0 0
B. Wimberly 54 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
B. Wimberly 1-2 0.0 0
D. Clabough 30 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
D. Clabough 0-0 0.0 1
A. Davis 91 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
A. Davis 0-1 0.0 0
J. Marcus 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Marcus 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Thompson 86 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/3 3/3
SEASON FG XP
17/21 52/52
J. Thompson 2/3 34 3/3 9
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
C. Kinsley 87 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 34.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
24 39.3 0
C. Kinsley 1 34.0 0 34
N. Jones 89 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 53.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
24 40.1 0
N. Jones 1 53.0 0 53
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
S. Terry 37 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 21.0 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
11 26.0 26 1
S. Terry 3 21.0 26 0
D. Holland 33 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 16.0 19 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 26.3 19 0
D. Holland 2 16.0 19 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Briscoe 16 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
70% 377 4 1 212.9
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58% 4775 45 13 157.0
J. Briscoe 21/30 377 4 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
C. Avery 6 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
21 129 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
176 1068 14
C. Avery 21 129 1 33
R. Bulmer 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 29 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
110 702 3
R. Bulmer 8 29 0 7
D. Davis 14 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 18 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 81 2
D. Davis 1 18 0 18
J. Briscoe 16 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 1 3
J. Briscoe 4 -4 0 9
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
N. Stewart 81 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 144 2
SEASON REC YDS TD
68 1629 14
N. Stewart 4 144 2 61
Y. Louis 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
9 123 2
SEASON REC YDS TD
66 894 7
Y. Louis 9 123 2 31
R. Bulmer 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 50 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 106 0
R. Bulmer 2 50 0 47
D. Davis 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 26 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
72 1147 17
D. Davis 3 26 0 19
R. Henderson 88 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 24 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 189 2
R. Henderson 1 24 0 24
C. Compton 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 10 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
24 362 2
C. Compton 2 10 0 7
C. Avery 6 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
23 206 1
C. Avery 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. Price 27 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-3 0 0.0
J. Price 8-3 0.0 0
J. Johnson 54 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-5 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-5 0 0.5
J. Johnson 7-5 0.5 0
P. Hall 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-5 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-5 0 0.0
P. Hall 6-5 0.0 0
H. Brown 25 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
H. Brown 5-3 0.0 0
D. Roberson 49 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
D. Roberson 3-0 0.0 0
A. Contreras 7 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
A. Contreras 3-1 0.0 0
K. Welsh 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
K. Welsh 2-1 0.0 0
N. Stewart 81 WR
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
N. Stewart 1-0 0.0 0
S. Montoya 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
S. Montoya 1-2 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
T. Honshtein 39 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 4/4
SEASON FG XP
20/25 65/72
T. Honshtein 2/2 22 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
C. Crow 42 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 38.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
31 32.9 1
C. Crow 2 38.0 1 42
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Harris 87 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
5 24.0 33 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
36 23.8 33 1
J. Harris 5 24.0 33 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Davis 14 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 9.0 9 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
13 21.6 9 2
D. Davis 1 9.0 9 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:40 SAMST 43 2:25 7 43 TD
9:55 KENSAW 30 3:37 8 39 FG Miss
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
3:05 KENSAW 29 2:32 7 19 Downs
11:34 KENSAW 25 1:30 4 -1 Punt
5:45 KENSAW 25 1:42 3 9 Punt
1:46 KENSAW 13 1:43 10 76 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 KENSAW 15 2:02 5 24 INT
11:45 KENSAW 12 7:02 14 46 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
1:41 KENSAW 15 1:21 6 85 TD
11:50 KENSAW 38 4:29 11 62 TD
5:04 SAMST 41 3:32 9 26 Downs
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:53 SAMST 33 1:13 4 9 Punt
11:10 SAMST 27 1:10 4 73 TD
6:14 SAMST 24 3:04 10 88 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 KENSAW 48 3:18 9 43 FG
9:57 SAMST 42 4:12 10 58 TD
3:53 SAMST 22 2:02 8 65 Downs
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:48 SAMST 39 0:50 3 7 Punt
4:33 SAMST 23 2:44 7 74 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:19 SAMST 36 2:21 8 64 TD
7:16 SAMST 17 2:05 7 2 INT
1:24 SAMST 15 0:45 3 -6