Sam Houston State’s home opener was presumed to be a blowout in the Bearkats’ favor, but few could’ve predicted just how lopsided things would get.

Eight different players found the endzone for the Kats, who rolled over NAIA Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday in a historic 77-0 rout. The point totaled tied Sam Houston State's highest ever as a Division I program, matching its mark from a 2005 win over Bacone College.

The Bearkats fell just short of the school’s all-time record of 83 points, set in 1949 against Brooke Medical.

“You improve the most between Week 1 and Week 2, and I thought the guys took it to heart in terms of how hard we practiced and prepared,” Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler said. “Knowing that we were going up against a lesser opponent, it was all about us — not about them. We came in, dominated and did some really great things.” 

It took the Bearkats five plays and less than 90 seconds to find the scoreboard, as sophomore quarterback Eric Schmid capped a 72-yard opening drive with the first of two rushing touchdowns. The Sam Houston State defense proceeded to force turnovers on three consecutive plays — Danzell Sims and Will Lockett recovered fumbles, followed by an interception by Zyon McCollum. Lockett pounced on his takeaway in the endzone for a touchdown, while McCollum’s was returned 26 yards for a score. 

Just like that, the Kats were up 21-0 at the 12:59 mark of the first quarter — and well on the way to their first win of the season.

“Once we get rolling, it’s almost like we’re unstoppable,” McCollum said. “Everybody is doing their job, and there’s not much the offense can do when we have guys flying around and swarming at full-speed. We’re athletic enough to run with anyone. It’s just exciting.”

Schmid and fellow sophomore quarterback Ty Brock split reps behind center for Sam Houston State, producing nearly identical stat lines. Schmid completed 9 of 12 passes for 92 yards, while Brock — who also ran for a touchdown — connected on 8 of 11 throws for 91 yards and a score.

The Bearkat backfield produced a pair of 100-yard rushers in sophomores Donovan Williams and Toneil Carter. Williams ran for a game-high 121 yards and one touchdown, with Carter rushing for three scores and 106 yards on the ground.

“It felt great,” said Carter, who was playing in his first home game with the Bearkats since joining the team as a transfer from Texas. “The whole deal this week was to go out there and have a good time, so that’s all I’ve been doing — just having a good time and playing for my team.”

Sophomore wide-out Dewaylon Ingram hauled in the Kats’ lone touchdown reception of the night, a 7-yard strike from Brock. Freshman receiver Ife Adeyi also scored for Sam Houston State, taking a reverse 14 yards for the first touchdown of his college career.

The Bearkats out-gained Oklahoma Panhandle 579-107, holding their opponent to negative six rushing yards and five first downs.

Sam Houston State returns to action Saturday with a road game at North Dakota. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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