The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team was unable to pull a come-from-behind win in front of a 26,213 record attendance for the annual Battle of the Piney Woods in a 56-49 loss to No. 8/9 Sam Houston State Saturday afternoon at Reliant Stadium.
SFA (3-6, 1-3 SLC) tied 28-28 through three quarters, surrendered 28 points to the Bearkats (7-2, 3-1 SLC) in 2:26 to open the fourth quarter. The 'Jacks turned the ball over our times in the final quarter and were unable to make up for the mistakes, despite recording 742 yards of total offense, their second most this season.
Senior quarterback Brady Attaway completed 26-46 passes for 505 yards, five touchdowns, but had a pair of costly interceptions in the fourth quarter. Three of Attaway's five targets were to fellow senior Mike Brooks, who recorded 123 yards on seven receptions.
Sophomores Tyler Boyd and Aaron Thomas each recorded atouchdown. Boyd led all receivers, recording a career-high 206 yards on 11 targets, while Thomas grabbed five passes for 132 yards.
Junior running back Gus Johnson recorded his sixth 100-plus yard performance with 136 yards on the ground. Johnson carried the ball 26 of SFA's 45 rushes and recorded one touchdown. Senior Keith Lawson also ran one in for SFA on one of his 11 touches.
Defensively, the 'Jacks recorded eight tackles for a total loss of 48 yards. Seniors Caleb Nelson and Ortavious Hypolite led SFA in tackles, recording 12 and 11, respectively.
Both SHSU and the 'Jacks trade trips to each other's end zone and matched the other teams total points per quarter through the first 45 minutes of play before turnovers dug too deep a hole for SFA in the fourth quarter.
Despite the deficit, the 'Jacks scored 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter to pull within a touchdown with 1:20 remaining. SFA attempted an onside kick on the next kick off, but were unsuccessful as the Bearkats kneeled to run out the clock.
SFA will return to Nacogdoches for its final home game of the season. The 'Jacks host McNeese State Saturday, Nov. 9, at 3:00 p.m. for Senior Day.