HAMMOND, La. — Sam Houston State’s offensive philosophy this season has been take what the defense is giving.

On Saturday night, Southeastern Louisiana gave the Bearkats plenty of room to run, and senior D.D. Terry took advantage.

Terry rushed for 278 yards and three touchdowns as SHSU rolled to a 28-23 victory over the Lions at Strawberry Stadium. The speedy, yet powerful back from Willis scored on runs of 1, 51 and 12 yards, including the game winner with 2:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.

With the victory, SHSU (4-1 in conference, 6-4 overall) clinched a winning season and remained tied atop the Southland standings with McNeese State, which beat Northwestern State 29-26 in overtime.

“Every week is tight, and we just keep responding,” SHSU head coach Todd Whitten said. “There seems to be someone different stepping up each week, and this time it was D.D. again. I’m just so proud off all these guys for what they are doing. It was great to clinch our winning season on the road, and now we can focus on the rest of our goals.”

The Bearkats dominated the Lions for most of the first half, but were only able to take a 7-3 lead into the break because of two missed field goals. SHSU took the early lead on a 15-yard pass from Brett Hicks to tight end Blake Martin that was set up by a blocked punt by defensive back Tony Jones.

The Kats had two other drives deep into Lion territory, but both resulted in missed field goals.

The second half was a different story. Terry, who had 92 rushing yards in the first half, put the Bearkats on his shoulders in the second, scoring all three of the Bearkats’ touchdowns. He also set the SHSU all-time single-season rushing record with 1,187 yards this year. That mark broke a 13-year-old record set by Charles Harris in 1993.

“To break the 1,000-yard barrier is great, but I couldn’t have done any of this without my teammates,” Terry said. “My guys continue to open up holes for me and it makes my job easier. I only had 32 yards last week, and I told coach Whitten that I was going to make up for it. What I’m able to do on the field is all about being a senior. I have to do what I can to help this team win.”

Terry’s first touchdown came on the opening drive of the third when he capped off a short drive with a 1-yard plunge, thanks to a 40-yard kickoff return by Derrick Harris to make it 14-3, after Curtis Parks converted his second extra point of the night.

The Lions wouldn’t go away and again cut the Kats’ lead to four with a halfback option pass from Jay Lucas to wide receiver Krishna Muhammad. But just when it looked like Southeastern was getting back into the game, Terry busted loose for a 51-yard score.

SHSU’s final touchdown of the night came after Brian Christian hauled in a 29-yard pass from Hicks on third and six in the fourth period. The Lions were flagged with for a 15-yard personal foul facemask penalty to move the ball to their own 14, and two plays later Terry was in the end zone.

Parks again connected on the extra point, the first time this season SHSU hasn’t missed one in a game.

“We converted a big third down late in the game, and we just seemed to come up with the plays tonight,” Whitten said. “It’s a great day to be a Bearkat. Now we have a chance to go out and win a conference championship and possibly make the playoffs with a little bit of help.”

The SHSU defense completely shut down the Lions in the first half, allowing 79 total yards on 37 plays.

Southeastern did find some success through the air in the second, as quarterback Seth Babin threw for 272 yards and two scores. But the Bearkats continued to make plays on defense when it counted the most, forcing seven punts, an interception and a turnover on downs in the contest.

“We had a really good performance, but the only thing that really kept them alive was we missed a few tackles,” defensive back Byran Richmond said. “They hit some underneath routes and their quarterback scrambled for a big run, but we stuck together and held on.”

The Lions scored with 33 seconds left in the game, but Martin recovered an on-side kick to nail down the victory.

The Bearkats have a chance to clinch at least a share of the SLC championship next weekend when they host Texas State at Bowers Stadium. SHSU also is still in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs, but the Kats need Nicholls State to knock off McNeese in Lake Charles, La.



Sam Houston State 28, Southeastern Louisiana 23



Sam Houston St. 7 0 7 14 — 28

SE Louisiana 0 3 7 13 — 23



First Quarter

SamH—Martin 15 pass from Hicks (Parks kick), 6:13.

Second Quarter

SELa—FG Turner 25, :00.

Third Quarter

SamH—Terry 1 run (Parks kick), 12:31.

SELa—Muhammad 3 pass from Lucas (Turner kick), 2:36.

Fourth Quarter

SamH—Terry 51 run (Parks kick), 11:36.

SELa—Jo.Wilson 9 pass from S.Babin (Turner kick), 7:01.

SamH—Terry 12 run (Parks kick), 2:58.

SELa—Kilpatrick 12 pass from S.Babin (pass failed), :33.

A—5,125.

———

SamH SELa

First downs 20 24

Rushes-yards 38-286 23-53

Passing 113 328

Comp-Att-Int 10-25-2 35-65-1

Return Yards 25 21

Punts-Avg. 2-44.0 6-33.3

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 6-36 6-53

Time of Possession 28:16 31:44

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Sam Houston St., Terry 31-278, Audelin 3-6, Hicks 3-3, Team 1-(minus 1). SE Louisiana, S.Babin 5-17, Lucas 9-16, Gilbert 5-11, J.Garrett 1-7, Dr.Adams 3-2.

PASSING — Sam Houston St., Hicks 10-25-2-113. SE Louisiana, S.Babin 34-63-0-325, Lucas 1-1-0-3, Hall 0-1-1-0.

RECEIVING — Sam Houston St., B.Perry 3-40, Terry 2-16, Malone 2-11, Christian 1-29, Martin 1-15, Houston 1-2. SE Louisiana, Kilpatrick 11-128, Jo.Wilson 7-56, Lucas 5-35, Ross 4-48, J.Garrett 3-32, Muhammad 3-11, Dr.Adams 2-18.