Colgate at Sam Houston State FCS Football 2015 Quarterfinal Breakdown

George Hammond

Colgate at Sam Houston State FCS Football 2015 Quarterfinals Breakdown


Colgate at Sam Houston State, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

The feel-good team of the FCS playoffs, Colgate (9-4), the Patriot League champion, visits Sam Houston State (10-3), the Southland Conference runner-up, in a quarterfinal pairing not many saw coming. For the second straight week, the Raiders knocked off a CAA opponent, this time James Madison, 44-38, in a game where they jumped out to a 17-0 advantage. Meanwhile, the Bearkats got revenge on McNeese State, 34-29. The Cowboys had defeated Sam Houston State during the regular season to earn the Southland title.

As it did two weeks ago against New Hampshire, Colgate took advantage of JMU miscues and controlled the clock to eventually win the back-and-forth contest. Quarterback Jake Melville showed his talents as he rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two more. He had 163 yards rushing and 120 yards passing. Colgate’s strategy will be simple: Pound the football, sprinkle in an occasional pass to keep the defense honest and control the clock.

Meanwhile, Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler is quite familiar with Colgate. In 2003, Keeler was head coach at the University of Delaware when the Blue Hens defeated Colgate in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the national title. And he has the weapons – offensively and defensively – to give Colgate fits once again. Sam Houston State running back Corey Avery rushed for 147 yards against McNeese State while sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe came off the bench to lead the Bearkats to the come-from-behind victory. Briscoe was 19-of-34 for 313 yards. Defensively, P.J. Hall had two sacks to tie the sophomore for the school record of 49 tackles for lost set in 1986-89.

Colgate’s playoff run has been a surprise, but the Raiders beat two CAA teams – a conference that now seems to be a shell of its former self. It’s doubtful they can go into Texas and knock off the Bearkats, too.

Projected Score: Sam Houston State 42, Colgate 17


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