Story and photo courtesy of Sam Houston State Athletics
HOUSTON, Texas - Brian Bell passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two other scores to lead Sam Houston State to a 51-43 Southland Conference victory over Stephen F. Austin Saturday before a record crowd of 26,185 at Reliant Stadium.
Bell's second touchdown, a nine-yard run, gave Sam Houston a 51-28 lead with 13:05 to play in the fourth.
Stephen F. Austin, led by wide receiver Cordell Roberson who caught 14 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, battled back. Roberson scored on passes of three and eight yards after back-to-back 51 yards.
When the Bearkats could not pick up a first down, the Jacks drove down to the Bearkat 30 yard line where, on fourth down and 10, Brady Attaway's pass sailed just over Roberson's hands to end the game.
"It was a tough, hard fought victory and a great effort by both teams," SHSU head coach Willie Fritz. "The offense wasn't firing early in the game, but the defense picked up the slack. Later, the defense had some problems and special teams and the offense took over. It was a great team effort."
Attaway completed 39 of 76 paases for 545 yards and six touchdowns.
Sam Houston State rolled up 566 yards total offense while SFA totaled 396.
All-America running back Tim Flanders gained 125 yards on 27 carries including a long of 44 yards. Bell rushed for 69 yards.
Trey Diller led the Bearkats with 97 yards receiving.
Sam Houston trailed 14-3 in the first quarter but fought back to take a 23-14 halftime lead. The big play in the first half was a 92-yard interception return by Bookie Sneed. The return set a school record, breaking the record of 90 yards by Paul Wenzel set in 1968 against Sul Ross.
Sneed, Darnell Taylor and Kenneth Jenkins led the Kat defense, each with 10 tackles. Taylor also intercepted an Attaway pass.
Sam Houston upped its record to 3-2 for the year while SFA dropped to 2-3. Both teams are 1-1 in Southland Conference action.