On Friday night, the No. 1-seed Sam Houston State Bearkats defeated the No. 4-seed Montana Grizzlies 31-28 and earned a berth in the 2011 FCS Playoffs Championship Game. Bearkats running back Tim Flanders quickly emerged as the story of the game, helping the No.1-seed jump out to a 28-7 lead with some explosive runs in the first half. None was bigger than a first quarter run highlighted by a beautiful jump-cut away from the defense that allowed Flanders to run to daylight on a 69-yard touchdown to put the Bearkats up 14-0 in early play. Before the smoke cleared in the first quarter, Flanders had already racked up 98 rushing yard with a 24.5 yards per carry average, but his night was far from over.
As the Bearkats held off a comeback by Montana to secure a berth in the FCS Championship Game, Tim Flanders wound up breaking a school record for most rushing yards in a game. He ran for 287 yard in total, breaking the previous school record of 286 set by McNeil Moore in 1951. After the game, everyone was in awe of Flanders:
Montana Head Coach Robin Plugrad on Flanders:
Yeah, he looked like Barry Sanders to me tonight. He has some gears. He's got a great jump cut. He looks like Barry Sanders on the jump cut; there's nobody else I can compare him to.
Flanders on his own performance:
First of all, I just want to say that I'm blessed to be with the type of teammates that I'm with. I wish every offensive lineman could be up here right now doing the interview with me because without them guys and the receivers blocking downfield, none of this would be possible for us.
Bearkats quarterback Brian Bell on Flanders:
As you can tell he's the most modest guy on the team. He takes no credit for anything and he's the best player I've probably ever played with, offensively. He knows he had a heck of a game, but he ain't going to tell you that. That's why he's the best.
The Bearkats now await the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 3-seed Georgia Southern and No. 2-seed North Dakota State.
Stick with our 2011 FCS Playoffs StoryStream for more on the postseason.