Sam Houston St. 49, Montana St. 13

Richard Sincere had a career game, and Sam Houston State

dominated the battle of rushing offenses.

Sincere rushed for a career-high 160 yards and two touchdowns on

11 carries as Sam Houston State piled up a season-high 428 rushing

yards on Saturday in beating Montana State 49-13 in a Football

Championship Subdivision quarterfinal game.

”Richard was on fire,” Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz

said. ”He did a sensational job of reading the option and doing

what he needed to and pitching it when he needed to. He did a super

job.”

The top-seeded Bearkats (13-0) will host Montana in the

semifinals either next Friday or Saturday. It marks the first trip

to the semis for Sam Houston since Montana defeated the Bearkats

34-13 in 2004. The Grizzlies (11-2) beat Northern Iowa 48-10 Friday

night to advance to next week’s game.

Sincere caught two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown, while

Torrance Williams rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns on five

carries for the Bearkats.

”We wanted to come out and start fast and find some way to get

to next week, so we can be 1-0 again,” Sincere said. ”We had a

good game plan. We had different personnel packages and different

people in motion to try to get them out of their game.”

Brian Bell rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on four carries

for Sam Houston State, and threw for 73 yards and another

score.

The Bobcats (10-3) gained just 77 yards on the ground against

Sam Houston – Montana State’s second-lowest rushing total for the

season.

”We have very diverse packages that we run at different

times,” Fritz said. ”We blitz them, we zone blitz them. We have a

lot of different coverages. We got them into third-and-12 or

third-and-14, and when we did that, we did a good job of mixing

things up.”

DeNarius McGhee was 21 of 36 for 272 yards and a touchdown and

Elvis Akpla caught six passes for 100 yards for Montana State,

which reached the FCS quarterfinals by defeating New Hampshire

26-25 last week with the help of a blocked extra point in the final

seconds.

Sam Houston State blew the game open in the third quarter with

21 points. The Bearkats have now outscored their opponents 177-24

in the third quarter this season.

”We played great in the third quarter all season long,” Fritz

said. ”We did a good job coming in making adjustments and coming

out and executing them. I don’t think we started the game as fast

we wanted to. . We played lights out from (the third quarter)

on.”

The Bobcats found the end zone to start the second half, as

McGhee’s 7-yard pass to Everett Gilbert capped a 77-yard drive. But

the Bearkats’ Brandon Closner returned the kickoff 82 yards for a

touchdown to make it 28-13, and Sam Houston added two more scores

in the third quarter.

”The big play was the kickoff return,” Montana State coach Rob

Ash said. ”We came out and got us a good drive and scored, and

then they got the kickoff return that was the big play because it

instantly changed the score back to a big lead.”

Williams made it 49-13 with a 21-yard touchdown run in the

fourth quarter.

Montana State had chances early but couldn’t finish off drives,

having two drives stall inside Sam Houston State’s 10.

Montana State struck first after Na’a Moeakiola intercepted a

Bell pass at the Sam Houston 34. Jason Cunningham connected on a

27-yard field goal for the Bobcats.

Sam Houston State responded with an 8-play, 81-yard drive that

included Sincere’s 56-yard run, and took the lead on Bell’s 11-yard

touchdown to Grant Merritt.

Montana State reached the Bearkats’ 5-yard line early in the

second quarter but settled for Cunningham’s 22-yard field goal.

Bell then ran 54 yards for a score to make it 14-6 Sam Houston

State.

Cunningham missed from 46 yards midway through the second

quarter, and Sam Houston extended its lead to 21-6 on Bell’s

40-yard touchdown pass to Sincere that was tipped by Moeakiola.

Cunningham’s 39-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Preston

Sanders as time expired in the half, leaving it at 21-6.

”It was 21-6, but it could have been a much different score,”

Ash said. ”We had four scoring opportunities, and we had to settle

for six points. Give credit to this Sam Houston defense because

they came up big in those red zone situations. On the other side of

the coin, when they got down there, they got touchdowns.”