The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX


January 3, 2013

NCAA Division I Football Championship Game: Almost time for a rare rematch

Bison know Bearkats have been gunning for them since this time last year

FRISCO — In the 30-plus years that the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision has held national title games, a rematch from the year before has been a rare occurrence.

In fact, when the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game between Sam Houston State and North Dakota State kicks off Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium, it will be only the fourth time that the same two teams have clashed in the national championship game in consecutive seasons.

The Bearkats wouldn’t have it any other way.

After falling to the Bison 17-6 nearly a year ago in the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game, Sam Houston has another chance to tackle top-ranked North Dakota State and bring home the Kats’ first football national championship.

“It’s a blessing just to get ourselves to this point and have a chance at the national title. We’re very thankful for this opportunity and we want to make the best of it,” Sam Houston junior Richard Sincere said Thursday.

Even without many of the starters who helped the Bison win the FCS national championship last season, North Dakota State found a way keep churning and make it back to Frisco.

“After a couple of weeks, we saw that they were the same team and had the same people. I felt we would meet again if they could continue to play the kind of football they were capable of playing,” Bearkats senior safety Robert Shaw said.

Throughout the 2012 campaign, the Bison have dealt with teams charging at them, wanting to knock off the defending champs, a team which stood atop the Top 25 polls for most of the season.

“After we won last year, we knew going into the offseason that we were going to have a huge target on our back. Everyone stepped up in the offseason. We went through a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, so we kind of put that back in the rear-view mirror,” North Dakota State safety Bobby Ollman said.

“We kept on going and came together as a family.”

In the semifinals against Georgia Southern, North Dakota State rallied after trailing for most of the fourth quarter and pushed ahead for good on a 5-yard run by quarterback Brock Jensen. Then the defense blocked a would-be game-tying field goal by Georgia Southern to win 23-20 and punch the first ticket back to the championship game.

With the Bison already holding one spot, the Bearkats saw they had a chance to get another shot at the team that denied them a national championship.

“That motivated us,” Shaw said. “If they won, we’ve got to win. We were better than them last year and we wanted our rematch. That’s great.”

With Sam Houston meeting them again in Frisco for the FCS national championship, the Bison know the Bearkats have even more motivation than just winning the title.

“We know they’re definitely going to be gunning for us. They want their revenge,” North Dakota State defensive end Ricky Hagen said. “We came down here and beat them and it was a tough game. We know they’re going to be coming for us this year, so we’ve got to bring our A game.”

As much as the Bison know how motivated Sam Houston will be to return the favor, North Dakota State has dealt with a few revenge games this season.

After eking out a 20-17 win over South Dakota State in the regular-season home finale on Nov. 10 that clinched at least a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship, the Bison and the Jackrabbits met again in Fargo, N.D., three weeks later in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

North Dakota State didn’t allow any kind of comeback and blew out South Dakota State 28-3 in one of the Bison’s most complete performances.

Two weeks later, North Dakota State hosted Georgia Southern in the Fargodome in the FCS semifinals, the same matchup, round and location as in the 2011 playoffs. The Eagles were much more competitive the second time around and led throughout much of the fourth quarter.

“We realize we have a target on our back,” Ollman said. “Going into practice and games like this, we realize we have to ratchet up the intensity a little bit. We can’t be off on assignments. We’ve got to be assignment-sound.

“In games like this, we have a slogan that’s to do your job and trust your teammates. If we do that, I feel like no matter who we play, we’ll be OK. We’ve definitely got to do our job and trust our teammates.”

While his players are chomping at the bit to get after North Dakota State for the FCS national championship for a second straight season, Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz says the Bearkats are focused, just like they need to be for any other game.

“I told them that at the end of practice, this is the sixth time I’ve played for a national championship, either as a player, assistant coach or a head coach,” the coach said. “Those last 48 hours are very important. It’s not physical anymore. If it’s time to relax, relax, watch TV, watch a game, whatever.

“When it’s time to focus and lock in at meetings and our walk-through tomorrow, be ready to go.”

Text Only
  • 4-19-gray.jpg SHSU SOFTBALL — Bearkats get mixed results, split doubleheader against Abilene Christian

    Coming into the doubleheader with Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State had a 3-0 record against the Wildcats.
    Though the wins came in tournaments played earlier in the season, the Bearkats believed they could sweep Friday’s action.
    Sam Houston had to settle with a split after winning the first game 7-1, then losing the night cap 4-2.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • SHSU BASEBALL — Lamar rolls over the Bearkats

    The Bearkats were able to rally from an early offensive barrage from Lamar on Thursday night but couldn’t duplicate that effort Friday as they lost 13-3 in eight innings. The loss sets up a crucial rubber game today at 1 p.m.

    April 18, 2014

  • SHSU MEN'S BASKETBALL — Bearkats sign Jamal Wlliams

    The Sam Houston State men’s basketball team announced the signing of Houston Episcopal High School guard Jamal Williams.

    April 18, 2014

  • RODEO INSIDER: Bearkats ranked No. 1 in NIRA Southern Region

    After winning last weekend’s Hill College Rodeo, Sam Houston State is ranked No. 1 in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region men’s team title race.
    Sam Houston has earned 3,620.5 points and No. 2 ranked Hill has 3,573.83.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-sabrina.jpg HUNTSVILLE SOFTBALL — Lady Hornets go out with a bang

    Even though the season didn’t go exactly the way Huntsville’s softball team planned it, the Lady Hornets ended things on a high note Thursday night against Willis.
    In the season finale, Huntsville took a 3-2 victory over Willis thanks to stellar pitching and timely hitting by senior Sabrina Johnson.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-allison.jpg Rough day at Alpha Omega Academy

    This softball season has been a learning experience for Alpha Omega Academy.
    With only four returning starters, the Lions are still feeling the growing pains.
    It didn’t help after the Lady Lions got run-ruled by Pasadena First Baptist 15-4.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17-chandler-hits-iron.jpg HUNTSVILLE GOLF — Chandler Phillips wins third straight Region III championship

    The back-to-back defending champion left no doubt as to who is the top golfer in Class 4A’s Region III.
    Huntsville junior Chandler Phillips went into the final round of the regional tournament Wednesday in fourth place and three shots back of the lead, then turned in a 2-under-par 69 performance, capped by a birdie on the 18th hole to win the regional individual medalist title for a third year in a row. By doing so, he clinched his third straight berth to the UIL Golf State Tournament.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17-Courtney-putts-18.jpg HUNTSVILLE GOLF — Lady Hornets punch ticket to UIL Golf State Tournament

    The Lady Hornets finished just like they expected and will be moving onto the state golf tournament after placing third at the Class 4A Region III tournament on Wednesday at River Ridge Golf Club.
    Huntsville held a 14-shot lead over fourth-place Barbers Hill going into the final round and barring an epic collapse, the Lady Hornets were set to cruise onto state tournament.
    Yet it was still about playing to the highest of their capabilities in pursuit of a second straight state tournament appearance.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-amy-roberts.jpg LADY DOGS SOFTBALL — Sweet send-off

    There could not have been a better way to send off the New Waverly seniors than posting a 10-0 run-rule victory against Anderson-Shiro on Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-16-azar.jpg BEARKAT BASEBALL — Winning streak ends in 5-2 loss to Houston

    Through much of Tuesday’s nonconference clash, the Bearkats were able to match everything 14th-ranked Houston threw at them.
    That is until the final innings when the Cougars scored three runs and Sam Houston State couldn’t counter and lost 5-2.
    As a result, the Bearkats’ six-game winning streak came to an end as well as their three-game streak in midweek games.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo


House Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide