Follow along for full drive-by-drive updates and live analysis of Week 10's matchup between #1 Sam Houston and Dixie State starting at 12:00 noon.
To get things started, Dixie State won the opening coin toss, elected to defer, and Sam Houston would take the ball on the opening kickoff.
Sam Houston started their first offensive drive of the game on their own 25 following a touchback from Dixie State. After a gain of 1 yard from Ramon Jefferson, Eric Schmid went to the air to hit Cody Chrest for 33 yards up the left sideline and quickly get the Kats' offense into plus territory at the Dixie 41. After back-to-back carries by Noah Smith of 5 and 4 yards, Ramon Jefferson picked up 14 yards on 4th-and-short to put Sam Houston in the red zone for the first time in the contest.
Jefferson busted through the Dixie State defense again for 11 yards down to the Dixie State 7. Three plays later, Eric Schmid would connect with tight end Isaac Schley from 5 yards for the first points of the game. Seth Morgan's PAT would put the Kats up 7-0 with 10:45 remaining in the quarter. The drive took up 75 yards, 4:15 of clock, and spanned 10 plays.
Schmid's touchdown pass was his 20th of the season.
Sam Houston's special teams on the kickoff used their speed to take down Dixie's return man at the 10 yard line. Only two plays later, Dixie's quarterback Kobe Tracy couldn't control the handoff on a read-option look and fumbled on the exchange. Jahari Kay took the opportunity for a 3-yard scoop-and-score. Seth Morgan finished off the scoring with a PAT, and in the blink of an eye, the Kats had a 14-0 lead over the visiting Trailblazers with 10:28 remaining in the first stanza.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cameron Hearn's kick to the far sideline was fielded near the sideline where the Trailblazers would again start in poor field position at their own 12.
After two short plays, Dixie found themselves in a 3rd-and-4 situation, but Tracy was able to complete his pass to receiver Michael Moton for 16 yards. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty against Joe Wallace on the play moved the ball out to the Dixie 49. A Kobe Tracy run of 4 yards and completion for 4 yards again had Dixie in a 3rd-and-shot situation. Tracy was able to again hit Moton for 6 yards for another 3rd down conversion at the Sam Houston 43.
Back-to-back rushes from Drew Kannely-Robles earned another first down to the Kat 26. An incompletion by Tracy and read-option carry from Tracy again had the Blazers in a 3rd down, but Tracy's pass for Rickie Johnson was too high and the Blazers were forced to attempt a 42-yard field goal, but kicker Connor Brooksby was blocked by Zion McCollum and Sam Houston's Jaylen Thomas scooped up the loose ball for a 64-yard touchdown scamper. The special teams score stretched the Sam Houston lead to 21-0 following Morgan's PAT with 5:30 still remaining in the 1st quarter.
Through less than 10 minutes of game time, Sam Houston had scored offensive, defensive, and special teams touchdowns.
Sam Houston's kickoff coverage again streaked downfield to smother Dixie's return man to set the Blazers up from their own 15. Sam Houston's defense tightened up after a near-miss on a halfback pass on first down by Dixie State to force the first 3-and-out of the Blazers. Cody Chrest fair caught Dixie State's Andrew Day's punt at the 30 to set up the Kats second offensive possession with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
On 2nd-and-8, Schmid hit Chandler Harvin on the left side for 19 yards to move the ball out to the Dixie State 49. Following a short completion on first down, and incompletion on second, Schmid called his own number up the far side of the field for a gain of 16 on the ground and another first down to the Dixie 30. Eric Schmid picked up 7 on a scramble, and one play later, Ramon Jefferson busted through the Dixie State defense for 23 yards, another touchdown, and a 28-0 lead with 78 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. The drive went 8 plays, 70 yards, and used 2:36.
Cameron Hearn's kickoff sailed out of bounds on the far side, and dixie state took over at their own 35 with great field position.
Qualey Conley picked up 7 yards on the ground and 11 through the air to pick up a Dixie first down and get the ball into plus territory at the Sam Houston 47. Back-to-back incompletions by Tracy and a short run put the Blazers in a 4th-and-7 from the Sam 44 going into the 2nd quarter.
Through quarter #1, Sam Houston had a 28-0 lead with contributions from all three phases of the game. The Kats racked up 145 first quarter yards with 85 of them coming on the ground. Dixie did most of its work through the air gaining 47 of their 71 yards passing.
On 4th down, to start the second quarter, Tracy couldn't connect with Johnson, and the Kats would take over on downs from their own 44.
After an incompletion, Kyran Jackson broke through the Dixie State line and sprinted 31 yards up the right side to flip the field and get the Kats down to the Dixie 25. A holding penalty on a Schmid scramble backed the Kats up to the 35 on their next play to bring up a 1st-and-20, but on the next play, Eric Schmid hit Tony Williams on a seam route down the far sideline for 33 yards. One play later, on 1st-and-goal from the Dixie 2, Kyran Jackson punched it in on the ground to give the Kats a 35-0 lead with 13:22 left in the half. Jackson's 2-yard plunge capped a 4-play, 56-yard drive that took only 1:34.
The Trailblazers started their next possession at their own 25 following a touchback by Hearn.
Dixie State picked up 8 yards on the drive, but Sam's suffocating defense forced another 3-and-out and Andrew Day punt. Day's punt was downed at the Sam Houston 17.
On the first play on the drive, a short gain by Jefferson was negated by a holding call on Prince Pines to set up a 1st-and-19. A 7-yard completion from Schmid to Schley on a screen and incompletion to Chandler Harvin put the Kats in a 3rd-and-11. Eric Schmid threw his first interception of the game to Dixie's defensive playmaker Tyrell Grayson to give Dixie great field position at the Sam Houston 31.
For Dixie, Tracy connected with Kannely-Robles for 16 yards to the Sam 16 for a first down. Another 2-yard completion from Tracy to Kannely-Robles was followed by a 1-yard loss, 5-yard false start penalty, and 1-yard scramble by Tracy on 3rd down. Brooksby's 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, and the Kats took over at their own 20.
Ramon Jefferson put his head down and ran over Dixie would-be tacklers on the first play from scrimmage to pick up 14 yards. A Jefferson run for 5 yards and a Schmid incompletion had the Kats in a 3rd-and-5 from their own 34. On that play, Schmid hit Ife Adeyi moving left to right for 14 yards down to the Dixie 47. One play later, Schmid connected with Brennon Tibbs for another 16 yards to the 31 yard line. On 3rd down, Noah Smith broke through for a 25-yard touchdown scamper to push the Kat lead out to 42-0 with 4:14 left in the half.
The Kats again stuffed the Dixie State kickoff return, and put the Blazers at their own 13 to start their next drive. After a short pickup by Conley, Tracy connected with Moton for 17 yards on a beautiful pass on the move and athletic catch to get the ball out to the Dixie 35. An incompletion from Tracy and a blown up screen play had the Trailblazers in 3rd-and-11 where Tracy hit Moton on a long throw to the far side of the field for 14 yards near midfield.
Following a Sam Houston timeout to settle the defense, the Kats applied pressure on Tracy on first down before, on 2nd-and-10, the Kat defense forced Tracy into an interception that was tipped by a Dixie receiver and returned 34 yards by Kavian Gaither to the Dixie 21 yard line with 1:42 on the first half clock.
Schmid's screen pass to Ife Adeyi was stuffed by Dixie State, and a gimmicky throwback pass from Schmid to Trapper Pannell lost yards to put the Kats in 3rd-and-17 and on the edge of Seth Morgan field goal range. On the next play, Dixie brought pressure, and Schmid was forced to put the ball in the air, but Chandler Harvin was interfered with, and the Kats got a fresh set of downs inside the Dixie 20 at the 13, but it may have come at a huge cost as Eric Schmid headed to the locker room with an apparent injury after the hit.
Keegan Shoemaker came in for Schmid, almost picked up the yardage needed for a first down, but ultimately it was Seth Morgan who would make a 21-yard field goal to stretch the Sam Houston lead to 45-0 with 5 seconds remaining in the half. The ensuing kickoff would tick off the remaining time on the clock.
The second quarter was dominated by Sam Houston with 17 second quarter points and 156 total yards with 92 of them coming on the ground. The Kat defense also intercepted Kobe Tracy to set up the final points of the half.
For the half, the Kats scored 45 points and netted 301 total offensive yards (177 rushing, 124 passing). Dixie mustered 132 total yards (100 passing, 32 rushing) in the first half.
Eric Schmid went 10-19-1 (53%) for 124 yards with a touchdown on the Kats opening drive for a 114.3 passer rating. Ramon Jefferson led the Kats on the ground with 8 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson along with Noah Smith (5-39-1) and Kyran Jackson (2-33-1) anchored the Sam rushing attack that averaged 9.8 yards per carry.
Schmid connected with 7 different receivers for his 124 yards with Ife Adeyi catching 3 balls for 18 yards and Isaac Schley catching Schmid's opening-drive touchdown pass.
The Kats moved the ball in chunks netting 4 explosive passing plays (15+ yards) for 104 yards passing and 7 explosive rushing plays (10+ yards) for 134 yards. Two of Sam Houston's touchdowns--Jefferson's 23-yard run and Smith's 25-yard run--went for touchdowns.
Kobe Tracy would get the nod in the 2nd half, and Dixie would start at their own 25 following the second half kickoff.
Tracy connected with his favorite target Moton for 9 yards but another miscommunication in the backfield resulted in a loss of 4 yards, and Tracy's pass on 3rd-and-5 hit the turf for a 3-and-out for the Bearkat defense to start the half.
Day's punt was fair caught by Chrest at the Sam 40 to give the Kats great field position to start their first possession of the half. Keegan Shoemaker made the start at quarterback for Sam Houston in the second half. After no gain on first down and an incompletion from Shoemaker intended for reserve wideout Derrick Rose, Shoemaker's 3rd down pass for Kyran Jackson out of the backfield wasn't enough, and Matt McRobert saw his first action of the game punting the ball down to the Dixie 10 yard line with 12:09 remaining in the 3rd.
A 15-yard kick catch interference penalty, though, would let Dixie start their drive at their own 25.
Kobe Tracy was dropped for a loss of 3 on first down and completed to Conley for 9 yards out to the Dixie 31 to set up 3rd-and-4. Tracy connected with Moton near the Dixie State sideline, but Kavian Gaither who intercepted Tracy early in the game, stopped the drive by pushing Moton out of bounds short of the line to gain. Day's punt was fair caught by Chrest at the Sam Houston 24 yard line with 10:21 left in the 3rd quarter.
It only took Sam Houston two plays to find pay dirt on their next drive. Brennon Tibbs picked up 13 yards on first down, then freshman Zach Hrbacek scampered 63 yards for Sam Houston's 7th touchdown of the game. The drive took only 2 plays, spanned 76 yards, and used only 45 seconds of clock.
Hrbacek's 63-yard touchdown run was the longest of his short Bearkat career and his first touchdown carry.
Up 52-0 midway through the 3rd quarter, Sam Houston started getting their younger players in the game.
From their own 25 yard line, Dixie State managed a first down before the Kats forced 3 consecutive incompletions of Tracy. Day's punt was fair caught by Chrest at the Sam Houston 12.
Dixie State forced a Sam Houston 3-and-out for the second time in the half. McRobert's punt of 52 yards was returned by Dixie's Keith Davis to the Sam Houston 40 where Dixie would take over.
The Kat defense forced Dixie into a 4th-and-7 from the Sam 37, but Dixie's Tracy was able to connect with Davis for 9 yards to the Sam Houston 28. On the next play, Tracy hit Moton on a slant route for 17 yards to push the ball into the Sam Houston red zone at the Sam Houston 11. After a 5-yard pickup by Conley on the ground, a roughing-the-passer penalty with targeting was called on Sam's Trey Smith which pushed the ball down to the Sam Houston 3 yard line. The targeting portion of the play was overturned by replay, but the damage was already done with Dixie already down inside the Kats 3.
A 3-yard loss by Conley was bookended by incomplete passes from Tracy to bring up a 4th-and-6 for Dixie State. Dixie opted for a 23-yard field goal attempt, and Connor Brooksby knocked it through to erase the goose egg from the scoreboard. Sam Houston led 52-3 after Brooksby's kick with 2:40 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Kats took over at their own 25 after a fair catch on the Dixie kickoff.
A 5-yard pickup by Weston Stephens on the ground left the Kats in a 3rd-and-5, but Shoemaker was able to connect with Rose for 17 yards up to the Sam Houston 47. Two Shoemaker incompletions had the Kats in a 3rd-and-10, but Shoemaker's scramble attempt was stuffed at the 50 by Dixie's Malaki Malaki, and Jadon Cardell was brought on to punt.
Cardell's punt was fair caught by Davis at the Dixie 14.
A 3-yard rush by Kannely-Robles polished off the 3rd quarter with Sam Houston cruising to 8-0 with a 52-3 score.
With the result well in hand, Dixie State scored their first touchdown of the game on a 27-yard strike from Tracy to Keith Davis streaking down the far sideline on a free play where a member of the Sam Houston defensive line jumped offside with 11:33 remaining in the game. Dixie's touchdown cut Sam Houston's lead down to 52-10.
Weston Stephens, another Sam Houston freshman back, scored a career-long 47-yard touchdown run--the first of his career as a Bearkat. Stephens' touchdown run stretched the Sam Houston lead to 59-10 with 6:51 left in the contest.
The Kats would exchange possessions with Dixie before the clock ran out. Sam Houston walked away with a 59-10 victory setting up a potential AQ7 auto-bid showdown with Eastern Kentucky next Saturday at Bowers Stadium.
Sam Houston dominated the game with 592 total yards of offense to Dixie State’s 298. The Kats ate up 403 yards on the ground on 41 attempts--an average of 9.8 yards per carry. Overall, Sam Houston averaged 8.5 yards per play on 70 plays from scrimmage.
Weston Stephens had a career day in mop-up duty carrying 7 times for 90 yards (12.9 YPC) and a touchdown. Fellow freshman back Zach Hrbacek also had a career day in relief going for 76 yards on 7 carries (10.9 YPC) and a touchdown.
Starters Ramon Jefferson and Eric Schmid did all of their work in the first half with Jefferson carrying 8 times for 76 yards (9.5 YPC) and a touchdown while Schmid went 10-19-1 for 124 yards and one touchdown (53%, 6.5 YPA). Schmid played almost the entire first half before being knocked out on the final drive before halftime.