Sep 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Matthew Golden (2) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Sam Houston State Bearkats at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston jumps out early, rolls past Sam Houston

Donovan Smith passed for 294 yards and Parker Jenkins rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries in Houston’s 38-7 victory Saturday over visiting Sam Houston.

Smith completed 31 of 40 pass attempts with a touchdown and Jenkins scored on three touchdown runs.

Houston (2-2) amassed 538 yards of total offense compared to 178 by Sam Houston (0-3).

The Cougars took control in the first, jumping out to a 24-7 lead heading into halftime.

The Cougars did not punt in the first half. The Bearkats punted four times.

Houston put together three possessions that resulted in Jenkins touchdown runs in the first half after Sam Houston took a 7-3 lead two 6:02 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard scoring run by Trapper Pannell.

Pannell’s score was Sam Houston’s first touchdown of the season.

The Bearkats lost at BYU 14-0 and at home against Air Force 13-3 in the first two games.

Jenkins’ first touchdown run of 4 yards culminated a nine-play, 72-yard drive and his second one of 1 yard ended a nine-play, 78-yard possession.

His last touchdown, with 49 seconds left in the half, was a 2-yard run that completed an eight-play, 56-yard drive.

Houston’s first possession of the second half took 8:42 off the clock and included 15 plays for 86 yards.

Smith completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Golden to culminate the possession that put Houston ahead 31-7.

Golden finished with nine receptions for 92 yards and three other receivers had at least 59 yards receiving.

Stacy Sneed had three catches for 65 yards, Samuel Brown four for 62 and Joseph Manjack IV six for 59.

Houston’s last touchdown was a 58-yard pass from backup quarterback Ui Ale to Sneed with 10:06 remaining.

Sam Houston quarterback Grant Gunnell, who has been with Arizona, Memphis and North Texas, completed 14 of 22 pass attempts for 100 yards with an interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Donovan Smith (1) hurdles TCU Horned Frogs safety Bud Clark (21) in the second half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston seeks bounce-back effort vs. Sam Houston

Houston continues its season-opening run of games against in-state rivals when it plays host to Sam Houston on Saturday.

The Cougars (1-2) are coming off a 36-13 home loss to TCU in the program’s first Big 12 game.

Houston edged UTSA 17-14 at home in the season opener and lost at crosstown rival Rice 43-41 in two overtimes before falling against the Horned Frogs.

Houston quarterback Donovan Smith completed 17 of 35 passes for 225 yards and two interceptions vs. TCU, and the Cougars mustered only 41 rushing yards on 27 carries.

The offensive struggles could lead to personnel changes.

“Our job is to assess the situation, and clearly who is getting the playing time is at the top of that list,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday. “I’m going to challenge our backups to improve. If we had backups right now that were performing at a very high level, it would make those decisions much easier.”

The Cougars allowed 564 yards of total offense overall but held TCU to 16 points in the second half.

Sam Houston, in its first season in Conference USA as it begins the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, has lost its first two games. The Bearkats fell 14-0 at BYU in the season opener and 13-3 last week against Air Force in Houston.

The Bearkats rank No. 12 in the nation in total defense (257.5 yards allowed per game) and No. 22 in scoring defense (13.5 points a game).

However, after running 101 plays on offense against BYU and Air Force, Sam Houston has garnered a total of 265 yards.

Against the Falcons, Sam Houston passed for 44 yards and ran for 36 yards. Quarterback Keegan Shoemaker was sacked four times by Air Force, and he completed 8 of 14 passes.

“This team has prepared at a high level. In practice, meetings and walk-throughs have been lights out,” Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler said. “Now we have to go have success in the win-loss column. I know we lost to two good opponents, but that is what we scheduled, and we are disappointed we didn’t get any wins.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; BYU Cougars quarterback Kedon Slovis is interviewed during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

BYU, Sam Houston kick off play in new territory

In 2019, then-Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis made the second start of his collegiate career at BYU, throwing three interceptions in a 30-27 overtime loss.

On Saturday night, Slovis will play a game in Provo, Utah, for the first time since that contest. Only this time, he will be wearing the BYU jersey as the starting QB in its season opener and debut game as a Big 12 Conference school when it battles Sam Houston.

“It’s been great being part of the offense, the culture and the family, but I came here to play games and that’s all coming to fruition,” Slovis said. “If I execute the offense, do what I am supposed to do and what I am capable of doing, everything else will take care of itself.”

Slovis enters his initial game as a Cougar needing just 27 passing yards to reach 10,000 for his career. After throwing for 7,576 yards in three years at USC, he played last year at Pittsburgh, throwing for 2,397 yards with 10 touchdowns, giving him 68 TDs for his career.

BYU, which finished 8-5 last year with a season-ending, four-game winning streak, was picked to finish 11th in the 14-team Big 12.

Meanwhile, Sam Houston is debuting as an FBS program with this game. The Bearkats, who won the spring 2021 FCS title, went 5-4 last year in their final FCS season. They redshirted a half-dozen starters last season after four games to field a stronger team this year, including linebacker Trevor Williams and pass rusher Markel Perry.

“Knowing the schedule we have coming up creates some excitement and motivation,” Williams said. “Having that period of time allowed me to grow and be a better person. I think it’s given me the ability to prepare and be excited.”

Sam Houston joined Florida International in being tabbed to share last place in Conference USA. Coach K.C. Keeler is 259-100-1 overall in 29 seasons, including an 86-26 mark with the Bearkats.

This will be the first meeting of Sam Houston and BYU.

–Field Level Media

North Dakota State kicker Nathan Whiting warms up his leg during a huddle in the Dakota Marker rivalry game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at the Fargodome in Fargo.

Dakota Marker 015

North Dakota State’s FCS semifinal streak halted by Sam Houston

North Dakota State’s streak of reaching the FCS semifinals ended at nine with Sunday’s 24-20 quarterfinal loss to Sam Houston State.

The Bison last failed to reach the semis in 2010 when they lost 38-31 in overtime to Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.

The following season, the streak began as North Dakota State won eight national championships and lost in the semifinals to James Madison in 2016.

Eric Schmid passed for 227 yards and accounted for two touchdowns as the Bearkats (8-0) upended North Dakota State (7-3) at Huntsville, Texas.

Quarterback Trey Lance, who guided North Dakota State to a 16-0 record in 2019, skipped the spring season and was selected third overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL draft on Thursday.

–Field Level Media