Sam Houston State upsets Jacksonville State

Jacksonville, AL ( – When Sam Houston State had a 1-3 record,
the Bearkats were just looking for any victory, let alone reaching the FCS

The Bearkats turned their season around and won for the second time in the
playoffs on Saturday, dispatching third-seeded Jacksonville State, 37-26, as
quarterback Jared Johnson accounted for four touchdowns.

Sam Houston (10-4), under first-year coach K.C. Keeler, will play either
Liberty or sixth-seeded Villanova in the national quarterfinals next weekend.

The Bearkats, making their fourth straight playoff appearance, have won seven
straight games and nine of their last 10 since falling to Division II Colorado
State-Pueblo on Sept. 13. They shared the Southland Conference title with
Southeastern Louisiana and then eliminated the Lions in the playoff first round
a week ago.

Johnson completed 13-of-19 pass attempts for 161 yards and three touchdowns,
and rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

The Bearkats trailed 26-24 at halftime after Jacksonville State’s Connor
Rouleau ended the first half with a 42-yard field goal.

Johnson then connected with LaDarius Brown for a second touchdown pass – this
time a 49-yarder – to put Sam Houston ahead, 30-26, with 8:03 left in the third

The Bearkats defense stopped Jacksonville State (10-2) on downs at the Sam
Houston 43. On the sixth play of the Bearkats’ ensuing drive, Jalen Overstreet
scored on a 33-yard run to push the lead to 37-26. Overstreet finished with 83
yards on 10 carries.

Jacksonville State, the Ohio Valley Conference champion whose 10-game winning
streak ended, outgained Sam Houston 513 yards to 402, but quarterback Eli
Jenkins threw two interceptions in addition to rushing for one touchdown and
passing for one.

Gamecocks tailaback DaMarcus James carried the ball 19 times for 128 yards and
a touchdown.

Running back Keshawn Hill caught Johnson’s other touchdown pass.