Updated Playoff Bracket (PDF)
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sam Houston State will face Eastern Washington in the NCAA Division I Football Championship semifinal round Saturday at 3 p.m., Central, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU.
The other semifinal game pits Georgia Southern at North Dakota State. That game will be played Friday at 7 p.m., Central, and be televised on ESPN2.
The winners of the two semifinal games will meet in the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game Jan. 5 at FC Dallas Stadium min Frisco. North Dakota State defeated Sam Houston State 17-6 in last year’s championship game. Both teams are hoping for
a return trip.
Eagles quarterback Kyle Padron, a transfer from SMU, passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns Saturday night to lead Eastern Washington to a 51-35 victory over Illinois State in the NCAA quarterfinals. Eastern Washington stood No. 4 in the final regular-season
FCS rankings and is the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
Sam Houston defeated Montana State 34-16 Friday in Bozeman to earn its semifinal berth.
The game marks Sam Houston’s third appearance in the semifinals and the second year in a row the Bearkats have reached the championship’s final four.
Ranked No. 5 in the final regular season rankings and unseeded in the playoffs, Sam Houston defeated Cal Poly 18-16 in Huntsville in the second round. Last year, Sam Houston punched its ticket for the NCAA Division I Championship Game at FC Dallas Stadium
in Frisco with a 31-28 victory over Montana in the semifinals in Huntsville.
Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State’s only previous football meeting came in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2004.
Down 20 points with 14 minutes to play on Dec. 4, 2004, in Cheney, quarterback Dustin Long led a Bearkat rally that ended with the winning touchdown and PAT on the final play of the game. Jason Mathenia caught a school record 13 passes for 226 yards and
Long threw for 478 yards and three touchdowns for a 35-34 Sam Houston victory over the No. 14 ranked Eagles.
Up 35-14 with 14:59 left, Eastern Washington had a chance to put the game away with a field goal with less than a minute to play. Vincent Cartwright, a 6-5 receiver on his first special teams play of the season, blocked the punt.
Long took the Bearkats 43 yards in 43 seconds, hitting Mathenia for gains of 12, 19 and 16 yards to move the ball to the Eastern seven with two seconds to play. Mathenia caught the tying touchdown pass on a slant five yards deep in the end zone and Lance
Garner kicked the winning PAT with no time left on the clock.
Eastern Washington won the school’s only national championship following the 2010 season when it claimed a 20-19 victory over Delaware in the first NCAA Division I Football Championship Game in Frisco, Texas.