GoBearkats.Com presents a series on the 10 biggest plays from the rivalry which the Bearkats lead 48 victories to 36.
Bearkats vs. SFA "Battle of the Piney Woods" Big Play #5
Taylor Wilkins' overtime field goal
October 31, 2008 - Sam Houston 34, Stephen F. Austin 31
Sam Houston State junior Taylor Wilkins had never kicked a game-winning field goal before, but that changed on Saturday Oct. 31, 2008 in the 83rd annual meeting between the Kats and the Jacks at Bowers Stadium.
After the Bearkats defense stopped Stephen F. Austin in the second overtime, Wilkins split the uprights from 28 yards out to lift Sam Houston State to a thrilling 34-31 victory.
It was a clutch kick for Wilkins, especially since he missed a 32-yard attempt that could have put the game on ice with 4:35 to go in the fourth quarter and the Kats up 24-17. But with the game on the line, the smallest guy on the field came through, handing Sam Houston its first Southland Conference win of the season.
Saturday's win also marked the fifth straight season the Bearkats had beaten the Lumberjacks in the Battle of the Piney Woods.
"I was telling myself that I got us into this mess and it's my job to get us out," Wilkins said. "That first one I hit - it was 32 yards on the right hash mark - I knew as soon as I hit it that it was hooking and it had no chance. So on that 28-yarder, I made sure I stayed true to the ball and just hit a clean ball. I knew I didn't have to kill it because it was only 28 yards. I'm just glad the coaches still had confidence in me for that last kick."
The Bearkats led for most of the game mainly because of their ability to make big plays. Quarterback Rhett Bomar and wide receiver Catron Houston hooked up on touchdown passes of 55 and 65 yards, the latter giving Sam Houston a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
The duo again connected on a 64-yard score on the second play of the third quarter to push the Kats' advantage to 24-7. Bomar threw for 328 yards on 20-of-34 passing, with Houston catching four of those attempts for 190 yards.
The Lumberjacks crawled back in the game with 17 unanswered points after Houston's third touchdown. SFA's final score came with just 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jeremy Moses hit wideout Duane Brooks for a 21-yard touchdown to send the game into overtime.
The Bearkats got the ball first to start the extra period and quickly started moving it from the SFA 25-yard line. On first down, Bomar hit tight end Paul Mansfield, who had six catches for 67 yards, for an 11-yard gain. Four plays later, running back James Aston punched it in from a yard out behind the blocking of fullback Matthew Powledge to make it 31-24.
SFA later scored on a 15-yard pass from Moses to Dominique Edison to send the contest to a second overtime.
This time the Lumberjacks got the ball first, but the Bearkat defense dug in. On second-and-9 from the SHSU 24, Moses fumbled the snap and lost seven yards before being sacked by defensive end Chris Brown on third down.
Moses then threw an incomplete pass on fourth down, which set up Wilkins' kick. On paper, SFA dominated almost every meaningful offensive statistic. The Lumberjacks racked up 627 yards of total offense, ran 116 plays and had the ball for 52 minutes, 7 seconds. They also had 36 first downs.
The Kats on the other hand, only had 386 total yards, 62 offensive snaps, 13 first downs and the ball for just under 23 minutes. But the one category SFA didn't have the advantage was turnovers.
Despite throwing for 501 yards on an eye-popping 85 passing attempts, Moses threw two interceptions, one to safety Billy Skinner and the other to cornerback Jarvis Pippens, in the first half. SFA also lost a pair of fumbles in the second quarter.
The game could have been out of hand before halftime, but Sam Houston only managed a field goal off the turnovers, this time a 19-yarder by Wilkins that gave the Kats a 17-7 lead at the break.
Still, those turnovers kept the Lumberjacks off the scoreboard, which ultimately led to Sam Houston snapping its three-game losing skid.
The latest chapter in the Kats-Jacks football rivalry continues Saturday, Oct. 8 when Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin meet at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Tickets for the 86th "Battle of the Piney Woods" presented by YP.com may be purchased now online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets . Fans also may order their tickets through the Sam Houston athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House in the south end zone at Bowers Stadium or by calling ticket office at (936) 294-1729.
And be sure to follow the countdown of the 10 biggest plays in "Battle of the Piney Woods" history each week leading up to this year's rivalry showdown on www.gobearkats.com .
Anthony Miller's Interception 1992