Sam Houston State was running out of time to win the first FCS championship in program history. There were just 20 seconds remaining in regulation. The Bearkats were trailing by four after blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to South Dakota State.
On third-and-goal from the SDSU 10, quarterback Eric Schmid fired a pass into a tight window for Ife Adeyi, who was surrounded by three Jackrabbit defenders. Adeyi reeled it in as the defenders crashed into him, putting the Bearkats back in front with 16 seconds to play.
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They then missed the PAT kick, which gave South Dakota State a chance to win with a field goal. The Jackrabbits only had time for two plays. On the second, a hook-and-ladder, Jaxon Janke was tackled at the Sam Houston 34 as time expired.
The 23-21 victory clinched a 10-0 season for Sam Houston State, the school’s first undefeated season since Paul Pierce coached the team in 1956.
Current coach K.C. Keeler made history by becoming the first FCS coach to win national titles with two schools. He won with Delaware in 2003.
“I’m so proud to be their coach,” Keeler said after the game. “What a great way to end this thing.”
Tom Gatto contributed to this report.
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