Oct. 30—STEPHENVILLE — Sam Houston football has now won five straight games after starting the season with two straight losses. Sam Houston defeated Tarleton 40-21, after a strong performance.
The Bearkats (5-2) ran on all cylinders as their run game got going, their defense forced six turnovers and special teams scored 15 points.
Redshirt freshman running back Zach Hrbacek got the start for the Bearkats. After losing two yards on this first play, he took the next run 80 yards to start the scoring for Sam Houston.
While Tarleton (5-2, 1-1 WAC) would drive down the field on its opening drive, the Bearkats would hold them scoreless until 9:07 remained in the game when Texan quarterback Beau Allen found Darius Cooper for a 23-yard touchdown.
Sam Houston then pieced together a 10-play, 76-yard drive that landed them the lead, they never yielded. The Bearkats ended that drive with a two-yard rush by redshirt-freshman Charles Crawford for six.
In interim offensive play-caller Matt Merkens second game, the Kats offense saw plenty of positives.
Hrbacek finished the game with 203 yards on the ground and two scores, while graduate transfer Dezmon Jackson was able to get going as well. Jackson had 51 yards on the ground on nine carries, he also scored a touchdown.
The run game was strong and so was the passing game. Junior quarterback Keegan Shoemaker wouldn't throw for a touchdown, but tossed for 182 yards and rushed for 29 more. Graduate receiver Cody Chrest got things going yet again in this one as he hauled in five receptions for 97 yards.
While the offense was humming, the defense didn't miss a beat either. Four different Bearkat defenders had a forced fumble in the game and three others had interceptions. Sophomore Da'Veawn Armstead was the lone member to do both.
Sam Houston's defense was able to get into the backfield six separate times for a tackle for loss and brought down Allen twice for a sack.
While the first half saw plenty of movement for the Bearkat offense, the third quarter proved to be a difficult one. A Texan muffed punt allowed the Kats to kick a 32-yard field goal, but there wasn't much else. Sam Houston had 13 yards in that quarter before picking things back up in the fourth.
Sophomore kicker Seth Morgan also had another big day. Morgan would set a new career long after drilling a 52-yard kick to give Sam Houston the 20-7 lead with 1:48 left in the first half. He would finish the game going 4-5 and hitting all three of his point-after tries.
Now after winning their fifth straight game, the Bearkats will likely head into their third and final bye week of the season. After that game, the Kats will play two more at Elliot T. Bowers stadium before their season ends.