Bearkats built for Bison battle

02 May 2021 20:30:00 GMTPlus10

Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler says the Bearkats have been built to take on teams like North Dakota State ahead of their playoff clash with the reigning FCS champion Bison on Sunday.

The Bearkats will host the most successful program in FCS history in Huntsville after going 7-0 this year, while the Bison have buckled without a star quarterback, finishing the regular season 6-2 before thrashing Eastern Washington in the first round of the playoffs last week.

North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz benched early-season starter Zeb Noland in favour of Cam Miller during that 42-20 win and should stick with the true freshman after his assured display.

The Bison scored 35 unanswered points and rushed for more than 400 yards after going 14-0 down, but they face a much stronger opponent in the Bearkats.

The Southland Conference champions have never lost a home playoff game and coach Keeler has no shortage of experience, having already won a national championship at Delaware.

"We're playing the best team in the country," he told reporters, via Texas Monthly. "I mean, they're the defending national champions until someone is crowned the new national champion. They should be the favourite."

As well as ramping up the pressure on the Bison, Keeler also dropped in some reassuring words for his own team, who could face highly-rated James Madison in the semis if they win.

"We built this team, offensively and defensively, to play James Madison, to play North Dakota State," he added.

American Football Lines