HUNTSVILLE — The Bearkats are Frisco bound once again.
Sam Houston made big plays offensively and defensively to rally from a 21-point deficit to sack James Madison 38-35 in the semifinal round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs at Bowers Stadium Saturday.
The Bearkats (9-0) will play South Dakota State (8-1) in the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m. on May 16 at Toyota Stadium.
Down 24-3 at the half, Sam Houston finally found the end zone seven minutes into the third quarter, and the game got wild from there.
James Madison led 27-10 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter when momentum turned Sam Houston’s way. The Bearkats connected on a 69-yard touchdown pass, an 80-yard punt return, a quarterback keeper following a botched kick return for the Dukes and another quarterback touchdown following a JMU interception.
With 12 minutes remaining, the Dukes had time for a comeback as Percy Agyei-Obese carried four times to start JMU’s drive, and Cole Johnson found Scott Bracey for a 36-yard touchdown strike. Johnson’s keeper on the two-point attempt made it 38-35, still with 10:14 remaining.
After a defensive stop, JMU got the ball back at its own 15 and orchestrated a six-minute drive into Sam Houston territory. Facing fourth-and-long, the Dukes turned to their deep kicker for the 51-yard attempt into the wind to tie and came up wide left.
Johnson was 16-for-26 passing for 271 yards and three touchdowns for JMU. Agyei-Obese gained 98 yards on the ground on 24 carries while Jawon Hamilton added 61 yards on 12 rushes. Antwane Wells continued his strong playoff push with 89 receiving yards on seven catches and a score.
Jequez Ezzard led Sam Houston with 107 yards receiving and a score, in addition to the 80-yard punt return for a touchdown. Quarterback Eric Schmid was 13-for-27 passing for 218 yards and two interceptions, but added two scores on the ground to go with one in the air.
- Stadium: Bowers Stadium
- Location: Huntsville, Texas
- Attendance: 5038
- Duration: 3:27
JMU: Cole Johnson (271 PASS); Percy Agyei-Obese (98 RUSH); Antwane Wells Jr. (89 REC);
SHSU: Schmid, Eric (218 PASS); Jefferson, Ramon (60 RUSH); Ezzard, Jequez (107 REC);