FCS Game of the Week Preview – Sam Houston State vs. Southeastern Louisiana
Southland Conference play will get underway this weekend, and two of the top teams will square off deep in the heart of Texas. No. 17 Sam Houston State will host No. 18 Southeastern Louisiana in a game between two of the Southland’s frontrunners. The Bearkats were the conference’s premier team in the 2010s, but they have fallen off the last couple years. As for Southeastern Louisiana, the Lions returned to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in 2019, and they want to keep that momentum going in 2021.
This game will take place on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 7 p.m. ET at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas. ESPN Plus will broadcast this and every other Southland Conference game this season.
College Football Betting Odds
SE Louisiana +6
Sam Houston State -6
Sam Houston State held on for a 28-25 win over Southeastern Louisiana in the last meeting between these programs back in 2018. Fresno State transfer Chason Virgil threw two interceptions in the first half for the Lions, but he nearly led them back late. Unfortunately, a missed 22-yard field goal ended up haunting SELA in the worst way.
Sam Houston State Offense vs. Southeastern Louisiana Defense
Eric Schmid was incredibly hit or miss for the Bearkats in 2019. Most of his production came from just two games, as he threw for 951 yards and nine touchdowns against Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word. On the season, Schmid completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,739 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions in K.C. Keeler’s offense.
The Bearkats do have a good running back in Donovan Williams, and he nearly ran for over 1,000 yards in 2019. Williams averaged 4.5 YPC with 14 touchdowns, but he was not a real threat as a receiver out of the backfield.
Two of last season’s three leading receivers return to Huntsville too. Chandler Harvin and Ife Adeyi each had 30 receptions and averaged at least 14.4 YPR for the Bearkats. However, this passing game is not nearly as efficient as it once was under Keeler.
Ferlando Jordan and Alexis Ramos are the leaders on the defensive side of the ball for SELA. The Lions weren’t great on this side of the ball last season though, allowing 29.4 PPG and 382 YPG.
Southeastern Louisiana Offense vs. Sam Houston State Defense
Chason Virgil has moved on, but the Lions have a quality quarterback in Cole Kelley. Kelley completed 74.2 percent of his passes for 816 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions last season. He led the team with 10 rushing touchdowns last season, as his mobility led to Kelley taking a lot of snaps in the red zone.
The top returning running back is Taron Jones. He could be in line for a big year as SELA’s offensive line might be the best in the conference. Jones averaged 4.6 YPC with four touchdowns in 2019.
A lot of last season’s best receivers are back for the Lions. The top three receivers return for at least one more year, and that could make this passing attack one of the best in the country. C.J. Turner, Austin Mitchell, and Javon Conner all had at least 50 receptions for 675 yards and seven TDs in 2019.
SHSU is led by its defensive line. There are three all-conference selections up front, and Trace Mascorro and Joseph Wallace are both first-team Southland Conference picks. That highlights the shift the Bearkats have undergone over the last few seasons.
The spread in this game should be closer to a pick ‘em, so SELA is the right play at this price.Follow our Twitter account for the latest sports news and wagering odds, and come to our Instagram for more useful betting info too