Sam Houston State will try to take the next step to an FCS title Friday night when the Bearkats play the Montana State Bobcats in Bozeman, Montana. At 11-1, Montana State will present the toughest task yet of the playoffs for unseeded Sam Houston.
In their first game of the tournament, the Bearkats edged Cal Poly, 18-16, on Dec. 1. Despite being outgained, 387-241, by the Mustangs, Sam Houston State took advantage of a blocked punt and a pair of field goals to build a halftime lead, then hung on for the close win. Tim Flanders ran for 101 yards on 17 carries, and Brian Bell completed 9-of-19 passes for 88 yards and a score.
The Bearkats will have to find a way to slow down Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee. In the Bobcats' 16-10 win over Stony Brook, McGhee threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 75 yards on 18 carries.
If Sam Houston State can get past Montana State, the Bearkats will face the winner of second-seeded Eastern Washington vs. Illinois State in the semifinals on Dec. 14-15.
In the rest of the quarterfinal action, top seed North Dakota State hosts Wofford, and No. 4 Old Dominion takes on No. 5 Georgia Southern. Those games will be on Dec. 8.