|Hurricane puts Sam Houston State in tough spot|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 September 2008 21:46|
The massive storm battered Huntsville, Texas, knocking down trees, blowing out windows, shutting down the campus, leaving nearly 80 percent of the town without electricity.
A football game? That was the least of their concerns.
Now that everyone has returned and practice has resumed, there's a new concern: a football game - against a Top 25 opponent, no less.
Yep, it's going to be a daunting task for Sam Houston State on Saturday, when the Bearkats (1-0) play at No. 19 Kansas with four days of preparation, three weeks after their last game.
best teams in all the country and it's certainly not going to be easy. We're going to learn a lot about ourselves on Saturday.''
No doubt, it's a tough situation for the Bearkats. No chance Kansas (2-1) is going to take it easy on them, though.
The Jayhawks have plenty to work on with the Big 12 season set to start in a week, especially after losing 37-34 to then-No. 19 South Florida.
After a pair of walkover wins against Florida International and Louisiana Tech, Kansas had all kinds of problems defensively against the Bulls, allowing 458 total yards. The secondary was hit hardest, allowing Matt Grothe to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and run for another score.
Most pressing, though, is the Jayhawks' rushing game.
Kansas throws so well - third nationally with 347 yards per game - it doesn't need a whole lot on the ground, maybe a few hard-fought runs to get a first down, a long one to keep the defense honest.
The Jayhawks haven't gotten any of that, ranking last in the Big 12 and 101st in the nation in rushing offense at 105 yards per game.
``It's something we definitely need to work on and definitely need to get going because as we play better teams week in and week out, it's going to be harder to throw the ball 50 times a game - that's not exactly what we want to do,'' quarterback Todd Reesing said. ``We'll do it if we have to, but that's not what we want to do.''
'll be tough for the Jayhawks to judge any improvement against Sam Houston State.
The Bearkats are 2-22 against Football Bowl Subdivision schools - the wins were over Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe - and have been outscored 196-30 in three games against ranked BCS opponents. Add in the short week of practice and the chaos that came in the aftermath of Ike, Sam Houston State doesn't figure to give Kansas much of a challenge.
Coach Mark Mangino doesn't care. He wants his team to get better, no matter what.
``I'm not so much worried with Sam Houston State as much as I am the way we execute on offense,'' he said. ``We're going to work on it and we're going to get it going.''
Kansas will at least see one familiar foe.
Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar was once the starter at Oklahoma, ending up in Huntsville after he and a teammate were kicked off the team for receiving improper benefits from a car dealership.
Bomar, the MVP of the 2005 Holiday Bowl, threw for 2,209 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games as a junior last season before tearing his ACL. He had his way against overmatched East Central Oklahoma on Aug. 28, throwing for 198 yards and four touchdowns before sitting out the second half.
Bomar's not facing the same kind of competition he once did, but the guy can still play.
d week out in the Big 12,'' Mangino said. ``But we've played against him and we know he's dangerous enough that he can beat you. He's very, very talented.''
With the week the Bearkats have had, they're going to need every bit of Bomar's - and everyone else's - talent against the high-scoring Jayhawks. Like several of the Southland Conference teams that had games canceled last week, Sam Houston State has almost had to start over on the practice field following the hurricane.
``A football team gets better by playing on Saturday,'' Whitten said. ``When you play a football game, that's when you make the most improvement. The fact that we haven't played in so long concerns me.''