Cardinals to challenge SLC-leading Bearkats on Saturday
Oct. 27, 2011
HUNTSVILLE - Lamar University's football team gets its toughest challenge of the 2011 season Saturday when it travels to Huntsville to take on fourth-ranked Sam Houston State, which is at 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Southland Conference. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in 14,000-seat Bowers Stadium.
Lamar stands at 3-4 on the season after dropping its third straight game, a 38-24 home decision to the University of Central Arkansas on homecoming afternoon this past Saturday. Meanwhile, coach Willie Fritz's Bearkats scored 31-straight points over the second through the fourth quarters en route to a 38-14 road victory over McNeese State last week.
While the Bearkats have a one-half game lead over 4-1 Central Arkansas in the league standings, the Cardinals are 1-2 in the conference and tied with Stephen F. Austin for fifth place.
Senior quarterback Andre Bevil from West Orange-Stark completed 17 of his first 18 pass attempts Saturday en route to leading the Cardinals to a 17-17 halftime tie with the Bears, and he finished at 23-for-29 for 234 yards and two touchdowns -- 13 yards to freshman tight end Payden McVey and 9 yards to senior slot receiver Marcus Jackson.
Also, senior linebacker Asim Hicks of Newark, N.J. ran his SLC-leading tackles total to 74 in seven games by tacking on 13 more against the Bears, including 11 of the unassisted variety.
Meanwhile, sophomore running back Tim Flanders won Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors by rushing for 162 yards and two touchdowns in Sam Houston State's 38-14 road victory over 24th-ranked McNeese State. His touchdowns covered 7 and 55 yards, and he tied a school record with his 11th 100-yard rushing effort in 17 games as a Bearkat.
The Bearkats outgained the Cowboys 379-274 in total yards, and they played turnover-free football.
Flanders ran for 155 yards and three touchdowns as Sam Houston State defeated Lamar 38-10 before a crowd of 17,187 in Provost Umphrey Stadium last season.
The Bearkats outgained the Cardinals 446-287 in total yards, and they controlled the ball for 40 minutes to the Cardinals' 20. The Cardinals finished with a negative 23 rushing yards as quarterback Andre Bevil suffered three sacks for 25 yards in losses.
Freshman Justin Stout kicked a 36-yard field goal for the Cardinals in the second period, and they scored their first touchdown in two games on Marcus Jackson's catch-and-run play of 66 yards in the third quarter. Bevil completed 22 of 40 passes for 310 yards for the Cardinals.
Lamar's only victory over Sam Houston State in Huntsville came in the last game of the 1959 season when the Cardinals prevailed 27-14. After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Cardinals pulled even on a 5-yard run by Charles Dinhoble and an extra point kick by Ronnie Fontenot.
Dinhoble scored again on a 3-yard run in the second quarter, and Fontenot rocked the Bearkats with an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter before Gerald Foltyn capped the Cardinals' scoring later in the period with a 1-yard touchdown dive.
Sam Houston State holds a 14-8-1 all-time series lead that includes a 6-1-1 mark in games played in Huntsville. Lamar's last victory in the series was a dominating 41-0 decision on Sept. 23, 1989, the last season for the Cardinals to field a football team before 2010.
Quarterback John Evans completed 15 of 30 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in that game. His touchdown tosses went 41 yards to Ed Hickey and 17 yards to Chris Ford, who led the team with seven receptions for 115 yards.
Danny Faust, who had a game-high 71 rushing yards, scored on runs of 20 and 9 yards, and Kenny Franklin added a 21-yard touchdown run. Cornerback Waylon Patterson scored Lamar's other touchdown on a 13-yard punt return, and the Cardinals played turnover-free football.
That shutout was Lamar's first since an 8-0 blanking of UT Arlington in the final game of the 1974 season.
For two seasons, Lamar's offense has thrived not only on the passing of Bevil but also on the catching talents of senior split J.J. Hayes and Jackson. One game after the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Hayes set a school-record with 212 receiving yards against Northwestern State, Jackson came through with his best effort of the season by hauling in four passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against Texas State.
In just 16 games as a Cardinal, Hayes, a product of Diboll and Navarro College, has passed the 1,300-yard milestone in his one-plus seasons at Lamar. He now has 83 career catches for 1,363 yards, ranking him 13th all-time in receptions and eighth in yards. Hayes needs seven catches to move past Johnny Fuller of the 1964-1967 Cardinals and Ranzy Levias (1984-1987 Cardinals) for 11th place on the receptions list, and he needs 33 yards to move past Rodney Clay (1982-1985) into seventh place on the yardage chart.
With his 41 receiving yards against Central Arkansas Saturday, the 6-1, 195-pound Jackson, a product of Tyler Lee and Navarro College, became only the 14th Cardinal to join the 1,000-yard club, a feat Hayes accomplished earlier this season. In 16 games as a Cardinal, Jackson has 56 receptions for 1,036 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hayes has caught 11 touchdown passes as a Cardinal.