DCTF Small College Review: Sam Houston and UMHB advance, three Texas teams play in bowl games

Courtesy of UMHB Football

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It was another fantastic weekend in the NCAA playoffs. However, the results weren’t what two teams in Texas wanted, with UIW falling to Sam Houston in an instant classic while Angelo State’s rally fell short in a loss to Colorado School of Mines.

That leaves the state of Texas with two teams (SHSU and Mary Hardin-Baylor) remaining in the playoffs and last weekend saw bowl games for multiple Texas small college teams.

Don’t call it luck

The armchair quarterbacks, me included, were having a field day at the end of the Sam Houston and UIW contest.

With 2:07 left in regulation and the game tied at 42, the Bearkats had a first down at the UIW 3-yard line. SHSU coach K.C. Keeler called a timeout to discuss his options. I thought the most likely choices were to put the ball in the middle of the field, take two more knees, and attempt an approximately 20-yard field goal for the win or go ahead and score the touchdown and rely on his championship level defense.

Keeler mentioned an option post-game I had not considered, run the ball to the inch line, then try to punch the ball in the end zone after running down the clock. However, he chose to go ahead and score the touchdown.

The call worked out in the Bearkats’ favor, but it took a fourth down stop at the one-yard line with seconds remaining on the clock to seal the victory.

Close playoff games are nothing new to SHSU, and the seven-point win over UIW was the Bearkats’ largest margin of victory in their five playoff games during this calendar year.

I found it interesting that Keeler mentioned the missed extra point at the end of the national championship game entered his thinking during the timeout and that he would evaluate the situation further during the offseason.

Some might say that Keeler was fortunate to win the game after leaving Cameron Ward over two minutes at the end of the game. However, Keeler has been very successful throughout his career in late-game situations, and he deserves credit for making what turned out to be the right decision.

Time for payback

Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wisconsin-Whitewater will meet for the third consecutive postseason on Saturday.

This is the first of the last three meetings that will take place in Whitewater, Wis., and the Cru will no doubt be seeking payback on the Warhawks after they handed UMHB a 26-7 home loss in the 2019 national quarterfinals.

UMHB defeated the Warhawks 31-14 en route to winning the 2018 national title. This game features two of the NCAA Division III football powerhouses and will be a physical affair.

Wisconsin-Whitewater is one of the few teams in DIII that have owned its series against the Cru with a 6-1 record entering this week. However, this will be the first road game for UMHB against the Warhawks since the 2007 national semifinals.

Playing home playoff games is nice, but many coaches prefer to travel for various reasons, including fewer distractions and ensuring the athletes receive proper nutrition.

Keep an eye out later this week for a preview of this contest.

Going bowling

The smaller college division has a plethora of bowl games, and three teams from the state of Texas took part in a postseason contest last Saturday.

UTPB traveled to Corsicana, Texas, to play in the Heritage Bowl. The Falcons scored 14 points in the fourth quarter but could not complete the comeback in a 24-21 loss to Oklahoma Baptist.

At the NJCAA level, Tyler secured a 28-7 win over Coffeyville Community College in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Commerce, Texas. The Apache defense was spectacular throughout the contest limiting Coffeyville to 180 total yards of offense, and the offense sealed the victory with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Navarro traveled to Kansas to meet Garden City in the Scooter’s Coffee Bowl and departed with a 53-34 defeat. The Bulldogs trailed by ten points at halftime, but the Garden City offense put up 20 points in the third quarter and rolled up 618 total yards of offense in the game.

Helmet Stickers

Ramon Jefferson, Sam Houston

On Saturday, the bruising running back had a massive game for the Bearkats, gaining 166 yards and two touchdowns rushing while averaging an impressive 7.5 yards per rush attempt.

Kyle King, Mary Hardin-Baylor

One week after being benched for backup Kyle Redding, King returned to the starting lineup with a vengeance completing 24-of-32 passes for 345 yards and a school single-game record six touchdowns.

Play of the Week

Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid received a reaction from everyone in the press box and throughout the stadium with his flight into the end zone against UIW.


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