The ACU Wildcat football team will go on the road again this weekend to take on FCS perennial powerhouse Sam Houston State.
ACU enters this weekend’s contest with an even overall record of 4-4 and a 2-2 conference record. The SHSU Bearkats will go in with a 3-4 overall record and a 2-1 conference record.
Sam Houston has had to battle against some major opponents this season. The Bearkats lost to the SEC’s LSU and the No. 2 FCS school in the country, Eastern Washington.
SHSU came into the season on the heels of a 34-10 stretch over the last three years, but has taken a step back this year.
The Bearkat offense relies heavily on its scrambling sophomore quarterback, Jared Johnson. Head coach Ken Collums said he knows Johnson will present a lot of the same problems McNeese’s Daniel Sams did.
“He is probably faster than Sams,” Collums said. “Sams probably throws the ball better, but he can score anywhere on the field; he’s done it against everybody. The key is to be in the right spot and to be disciplined with your pass rush and gap responsibilities.”
On the defensive side, ACU leads the Southland in turnover margin after last week’s six forced turnovers. ACU’s opportunistic defense will look to experienced senior safeties Justin Stewart and Angel Lopez and senior defensive end Nick Richardson to keep Johnson under control.
Stewart leads the defense in tackles (60) and is tied for the lead in interceptions with two. Lopez is second in tackles (51) and is also tied for the team lead in interceptions with two. Richardson continues to lead the Southland in sacks (7.0) and tackles for loss (15.0).
ACU’s offense comes into the contest off its least productive game of the season with only 255 yards of total offense against McNeese.
Sophomore quarterback Parker McKenzie threw for a season low of 141 yards under McNeese’s pressure. He will look to rebound with his talented receiving corps that features five men with 20 plus catches.
ACU’s running game goes into Huntsville with two of the top 10 rushers in the Southland with junior Herschel Sims and freshman De’Andre Brown. Sims leads the team in rushing with 511 yards and a 5.6 yards per carry average. He has also recorded four rushing touchdowns. Brown is second on the team in yards with 488 and leads the team with a 7.0 yards per carry average.
“They’re fast and big; we just have to execute,” Brown said. “Executing plays and doing the right things all the time will give us a chance to win.”
The Wildcats will play Sam Houston at 3 p.m. Saturday in Huntsville.