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Sam Houston State @ #2 Eastern Washington, 2012

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There's just one game standing in their way from knowing the national championship matchup. That's No. 2 seed Eagles versus the unseeded Bearkats in today's semifinal clash at Roos Field in Cheney, Washington. Or also known as "The Inferno" because of the red turf.

The winner faces North Dakota State in Frisco Saturday Jan. 5 after the Bison defeated Georgia Southern 23-20 last night in Fargo.

Offensively, Eastern Washington will look to run the ball, but the bulk of their attack comes from quarterback Kyle Padron, who has excelled the past few games with passing performances of 381, 327 and 358 yards, with eight combined touchdowns, including a record setting six touchdowns against Illinois State in last week's quarterfinal game.

Padron has a pair of wideouts in Brandon Kaufman and Greg Herd that get the bulk of the receptions for the Eagles.

After a 458-yard, 34-point performance against Montana State in the quarterfinals, the Kats offense hopes to pick up where it left off against a defense that is ranked just 79th in total defense (allowing 394.08 yards per game). The Eagles let Illinois State gain 520 yards and 35 points in the quarterfinals.

Besides running the ball (averaging 178.5 rushing yards in playoff victories over other Big Sky members Cal Poly and Montana State), where Sam Houston has shined has been in its ability to keep from turning the ball over. The Bearkats have not turned over the ball in any of their playoff games so far.

Having played in nine games away from SHSU's home stadium of Bowers Stadium this year, including eight as true road games, the Bearkats will be playing far from home again today. But as these games have shown, they should not be that tough to handle the road.

In last week's quarterfinal matchup with #3 seed Montana State, the Kats dealt with the hostile crowd in Bozeman and Cheney should not be as tough with less seating capacity.

The Bearkats, who normally play in a much warmer climate, will have to battle the elements as temperatures are the lower 30s with a chance of snow yet today. This was a similar weather situation in Bozeman last week but did not have too much trouble in it.

I think this game will be an offensive track meet. Turnovers and the defenses holding the opposing team to field goal attempts will be the key in the game.

I think as was seen in EWU's win over Montana State earlier this season that the Eagles are the best team out of the Big Sky but having played two prior BSC team's might be a plus for the Kats.

But the Eagles, who won the 2010 national championship, I feel will be able to handle the Kats in this one but likely will come down to the last minutes in a closely contested game.

I can't wait to see how this one plays out. Kickoff is about 10 minutes away and can't wait for this one to get going.

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  1. Kent's Avatar
    Eastern Washington wins the toss and has chosen to receive the opening kickoff.
  2. Kent's Avatar
    The SHSU kickoff goes into the end zone and is downed so the Eagles will take it 1st & 10 at their own 25.
  3. Kent's Avatar
    Vincent Dotson from the Bearkats is shaken up on the kickoff but looks to be ok as he runs off the field.
  4. Kent's Avatar
    Two passes by Padron has the Eagles out to the EWU 49.
  5. Kent's Avatar
    2nd & 1 at the EWU 49. Run up the middle gets the first down.

    1st & 10 at midfield. Pass too high from Padron.

    2nd & 10 from midfield. Kaufman can't make the catch.

    3rd & 10 from midfield. Padron scrambles and gets 11 for the Eagle 1st down.
  6. Kent's Avatar
    The officials will review if Padron was down before the 1st down and the video replay shows that he is short and will set up a 4th & 1.
  7. Kent's Avatar
    The officials agree with me and it will be 4th & 1 from the SHSU 41.

    EWU will go for it.
  8. Kent's Avatar
    4th & 1 from the SHSU 41. Demitrius Bronson gets the carry and the first down.
  9. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 from the SHSU 40. EWU has a false start.

    1st & 15 from the SHSU 45. Padron goes deep for Herd but just over throws it.

    2nd & 15 from the SHSU 45. Padron on the designed qb draw but he gets tackled for a loss.

    3rd & 16 at the SHSU 46. Padron tries to roll out but SHSU is there and the Eagles will have to punt.
  10. Kent's Avatar
    4th & 18 at the SHSU 48. The Eagle punt is tried to be fielded but EWU runs into the returner. That will be a 15 yard foul. SHSU will have it 1st & 10 after the mark off at their own 34.
  11. Kent's Avatar
    4th & 18 at the SHSU 48. The Eagle punt is tried to be fielded but EWU runs into the returner. That will be a 15 yard foul. SHSU will have it 1st & 10 after the mark off at their own 36.
  12. Kent's Avatar
    Internet issues but seems to be working now.

    SHSU takes over at their own 36 after EWU ran into the returner.

    Tim Flanders runs the ball well on the drive but qb Brian Bell finishes the drive with a 15 yard run into the end zone for the Bearkat touchdown.

    PAT is good.

    SHSU 7 EWU 0 with 7:34 left in the 1st qtr.
  13. Kent's Avatar
    Key drive for EWU upcoming here to stay with SHSU in my opinion. The Eagle defense didn't really come close to stopping SHSU in that opening Bearkat drive.
  14. Kent's Avatar
    The SHSU kickoff is downed in the end zone so EWU will start at their own 25 again to start their second drive.
  15. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 from the EWU 25. Padron drops the snap but takes it forward for 2.

    2nd & 8 at the EWU 27. Shaquille Hill with a great catch for 21 to the EWU 48.
  16. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the EWU 48. Short run up the middle.

    2nd & 8 from midfield. Padron is sacked as SHSU had good coverage.

    3rd & 16 from the EWU 42. Padron can't hit Ashton Clark on the pass play. Another punt up coming for the Eagles.
  17. Kent's Avatar
    Good punt sends SHSU back to the 10 and Trey Diller returns to the 15.
  18. Kent's Avatar
    Key defensive stop needed for the Eagles on this drive.
  19. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 15. Bell throws for Chance Nelson but it is a bit overthrown. SHSU is called for holding anyway.

    1st & 17 from the SHSU 8. Flanders is stopped right at the line for no gain.

    2nd & 17 at the SHSU 8. Flanders gets the carry again and gets just 3.

    3rd & 14 at the SHSU 11. Bell has Nelson open over the middle but they can't bring it in.

    Big stop for EWU.
  20. Kent's Avatar
    The Bearkat punt gets a good roll but there is an offsides call on EWU. That foul is declined so EWU will have it at their own 33.
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