James Madison vs Sam Houston State | FCS Playoffs
Date: Saturday May 8th, 2021 | Time: 2:30 PM ET
Location: Elliott T. Bowers Stadium — Huntsville, TX
In our first matchup we see (1) South Dakota State hosting a Delaware team that knocked off (4) Jacksonville State last weekend, 20-14. The Jackrabbits reached the FCS Playoffs Semi-Finals by beating MVFC rival Southern Illinois, 31-26. In the our second game of the day, we have the more anticipated semi-final matchup, between (3) James Madison and (2) Sam Houston State. The Dukes got to the semi-finals by knocking off North Dakota last weekend in Harrisonburg, 34-21. As for the Bearkats, well they finally avenged their FCS Playoffs demons against North Dakota State, winning 24-20.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the James Madison vs Sam Houston State football matchup.
Spread: JMU -1 (-110) | SHSU +1 (-110)
Total: 47 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
After a bit of a controversial regular season, once again the Dukes are back in the FCS Playoffs Semi-Finals. They beat North Dakota in the quarterfinals, 34-21. The rest of the CAA will hope that James Madison and Delaware face off in the National Championship, especially in a season that saw five MVFC teams make the postseason. Now, the Dukes are one of the more complete teams in the FCS. On offense, Walter Payton Award finalist Pierre Agyei-Obese has been a workhorse. Against North Dakota, he had 128 yards rushing and scampered into the end zone twice. If the Dukes want to win, Agyei-Obese needs to have a big game. A man to keep your eye on for the Dukes is freshman wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. He’s lightning in a bottle and a deep threat. On defense, defensive lineman Mike Greene is a beast. He terrorizes opponents’ quarterbacks.
K.C. Keeler is looking to do something that only a few coaches have done before him, win a national championship at two FCS schools. Keeler led the Delaware Blue Hens to a National Championship in 2003, and now he’d love to win one for Sam Houston State. On offense, senior signal caller Eric Schmid leaves it all on the field. He’s seen the ups and downs of the program during his time there, and he would love to bring the title back to Texas with him. He’s thrown for 16 touchdowns and ran for a another six. However, the key for the Bearkats is their defense. If they can keep Agyei-Obese under 100 yards, they should have a chance at the end.
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You can also watch the game live via ESPN.com or the ESPN app. Games on ABC (labeled as ESPN3 on the ESPN platforms) can be watched for free this way if you have a participating internet service provider, but if you don’t have that, you can also use your AT&T TV credentials to sign in and watch.
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You can also watch the game live via ESPN.com or the ESPN app. Games on ABC (labeled as ESPN3 on the ESPN platforms) can be watched for free this way if you have a participating internet service provider, but if you don’t have that, you can also use your Hulu credentials to sign in and watch.
If you can’t watch live, Hulu with Live TV also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
James Madison vs Sam Houston State Preview
JMU is coming off a 34-21 win over North Dakota last weekend. Quarterback Cole Johnson went 14-17 for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Percy Agyei-Obese had 27 carries for 128 yards and two scores in the convincing win.
The Dukes have scored 31+ points in three of their last four games, with their most recent win coming May 2 over a tough North Dakota State team. Quarterback Eric Schmid went 25-37 for 227 yards and a score, and he was also the team’s leading rusher, netting 36 yards and a touchdown.
“He can throw the ball so well on the run, he really can create so many plays,” SAMHOU head coach K.C. Keeler said about his quarterback after the win. James Madison is well aware of what the dual threat quarterback brings.
“They’re a great football team,” JMU head coach Curt Cignetti said about Sam Houston earlier this week. “They’ve got it all in all three phases. They’re undefeated. They shut down North Dakota State completely, stopped their running game on defense.”
“On offense they’re spread and they have great skill players,” Cignetti added. “But the quarterback is the player of the year in the conference … he’s the guy who makes it go for them.”
The Bearkats will have home field advantage in this one, though, “It’s an interesting place,” Keeler said. “You know, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon the sun’s going to be beating down on their sideline and it’s going down behind us, and we’ve had a 21-game or 23-game home winning streak here. It’s a tough place to play.”
“I love the skill kids we have,” Keeler added. “I love the kind of skill kids you can get in Texas. If you think about it, I don’t know if there’s better football in the country within four hours of Sam Houston State. And so we can get some great players here.”
Sam Houston State is averaging 44.8 points a game this spring, while allowing 17.5 to opponents, while James Madison scored 33.4 points a game while giving up 13.4, so this one could come down to which defense can best contain the opposing team’s high-powered offense.