Lamar welcomes No. 5 Sam Houston State on Saturday
Oct. 25, 2012
BEAUMONT - Lamar University will face its second straight ranked opponent when the Cardinals host No. 5 Sam Houston State in a Southland Conference football contest from Provost Umphrey Stadium. Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The Cardinals are coming off a solid effort at No. 14 Central Arkansas, losing 24-14. Lamar outscored the Bears 14-7 in the second half and outgained the Bears 186-61 on the ground in the contest. This is the first time Lamar will face back-to-back ranked teams since restarting the program for the 2010 season.
"We're starting to get there," said LU head coach Ray Woodard. "We're not satisfied. We do want to win these games but we are encouraged if we can keep improving. We have to keep improving if we're going to win, because the schedule is not going to get any easier.
"The players are coming to work every day, they're working hard. Their attitude is great and as long as they keep that up, they'll keep improving. I was very proud of our effort (Saturday at UCA) and I want to see it show up on the scoreboard. We're playing hard and we're doing a lot of thing you want to see as a head coach."
The game will be televised on SLCTV and can be heard on KLVI 560 AM with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play and former LU linebacker Bo Brown serving as analyst. For ticket information, call (409) 880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com.
Following the loss to UCA, Lamar is now 3-5 on the season and 0-3 in league games. The Bearkats, who went 14-1 in 2011 and advanced to the FCS National Championship game, are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Southland following a 45-10 home win over McNeese State last Saturday.
This will be the 25th meeting between the Cardinals and Bearkats since Lamar became a four-year institution in 1951 with Sam Houston holding a 15-8-1 series advantage. Lamar is 6-8 against SHSU in Beaumont, including a 38-10 loss during the 2010 season.
The two schools met last year with the then sixth-ranked Bearkats winning 66-0 in Huntsville. Sam Houston rolled up 559 yards of total offense in the victory, limiting Lamar to just 97 yards.
This year's contest will pit the top rushing offense in the Southland Conference against the top overall defense in the league. Sam Houston is averaging 272.4 yards per game on the ground, while Lamar is allowing just 313.9 yards of total offense per game.
Lamar also leads the league in pass defense, allowing 188.8 yards per game through the air. The Cards are now scoring 21.8 points per game and giving up 25.0 SHSU is ranked fourth in the country in scoring at 40.6 points per game.
Junior linebacker Jermaine Longinocontinues to pace the Lamar defense. Longino, who had a game-high 11 tackles at UCA on Saturday, leads LU with 65 total tackles and ranks fourth in the Southland with 8.1 tackles per game. He also leads the league with 47 solo tackles.
Running back DePauldrick Garretthas put together a pair of strong outings heading into Saturday, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown against McMurry and following that up with 91 yards and a score at UCA. The redshirt junior now has 323 rushing yards on the year and is averaging a healthy 4.6 yards per carry.
Redshirt sophomore Caleb Berryis scheduled to get his fourth straight start at quarterback after finishing 11-of-19 for 96 yards against the Bears, adding a 7-yard rushing touchdown. On the year, Berry is 43-of-83 for 456 yards and five touchdowns.
Lamar played last week without several key players as leading rusher Herschel Sims, wide receiver Kevin Johnson and defensive linemen Adren Dorsey and Jesse Dicksonall missed the contest. Johnson leads the Cardinals with 11 touchdowns scored, while Dickson and Dorsey have combined for nine tackles for loss.
The Bearkats feature the Southland's leading rusher in junior Tim Flanders who is averaging 96.0 yards per game on the ground. The 2011 Southland Conference Player of the Year has eight rushing touchdowns and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Brian Bell is 101-of-161 on the season for 1,390 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Senior wide receiver Trey Diller leads the team with 30 catches for 453 yards.
Defensively, senior Darnell Taylor ranks fifth in the league in tackles per game at 8.0. The Bearkats will be without defensive star Darius Taylor who was suspended by the league earlier this week. Darius Taylor leads the conference in tackles for loss with 11.5.
"They look as familiar on film as they did last year since they have a lot of their people back," said Woodard about the Bearkats. "Offensively, they present a lot of the same problems that they did last year. They're going to run the ball and then play action and try to throw the ball downfield. They do a very good job with it.
"Defensively, this is probably the most aggressively blitzing team that we'll see. They bring a lot of people. We're going to have to be able to run and throw. They bring a lot of people and dare you to throw the ball. They present a lot of problems. They're a very good football team."