FRISCO — After riding late defensive stands to victory in their first three playoff games, the Sam Houston Bearkats leaned on their offense to secure the biggest win in program history on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Stadium.
With 16 seconds left and the Bearkats trailing by four, Eric Schmid squeezed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ife Adeyi between a pair of South Dakota State defenders to lift Sam Houston to a 23-21 victory — and the first FCS National Championship in program history.
The Bearkats are the first school in Texas to win a national title at the FCS level.
Schmid passed for 209 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, while adding 54 yards on the ground. Jequez Ezzard hauled in a season-high 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bearkats' aerial attack, with no reception proving more pivotal than his final one.
The graduate transfer from Howard, who was voted the Most Outstanding Player, kept his team's championship hopes alive with a five-yard catch on fourth down in the final minute to set up the game-winning score. Schmid also picked up a fourth-down conversion with a nine-yard run during the Bearkats' 16-play, 65-yard scoring drive that secured the victory.
Sunday's win marked Sam Houston head coach K.C. Keeler's 24th career FCS playoff victory, passing legendary Youngstown State coach Jim Tressel for the most all-time. Keeler also becomes the first coach to win FCS championships at multiple schools.
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