Second-ranked Bearkats have plenty of fire power

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

You know Flanders and Bell and Richard Sincere.

But do you recall the most versatile Bearkat of all?

Torrance Williams, the wide receiver, has some gaudy stats. And if you never saw him, there’s an injury to blame for that.

“He was kind of the unknown coming into the season,” said Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz.

After missing the second half of last season with a knee injury, Williams has become a dangerous addition to a Sam Houston

State three-headed offensive monster that has reached consecutive Football Championship Subdivision national championship

games.

Williams is tied for sixth in the

country with seven touchdown catches. He’s also the true definition of a

big-play threat

— he’s averaging 19.5 yards per catch on 19 catches, meaning that

nearly half of his receptions have resulted in touchdowns.

That’s not even where he’s at his most dangerous.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior from Waco ranks second in the nation in punt returning with an average of 22.4 yards per return.

“He’s not the fastest guy on the team,

but he’s got great speed,” Fritz said. “He’s not a big guy, but he has

tremendous strength

and courage. Sometimes guys with great speed try to go east-west

instead of north-south. He runs north-south.”

Williams has helped make the No. 2 Bearkats (5-1, 1-0 Southland) the No. 2 scoring offense in the country with an average

of 45.3 points per game, just ahead of McNeese State’s average of 43.8.

While his breakthrough has been a key to that production, if the Bearkats were a band there is no question that Flanders is

still the front man.

The Southland’s all-time leading rusher is piling up the stats again this year, leading the league with nine touchdowns and

141.5 rushing yards per game.

“Flanders is probably the best running

back in the FCS,” said McNeese defensive end Chris Loveless. “When

you’re a player

of his caliber, he’s going to get his. What we have to do is limit

that. We understand he’s going to make plays. But one thing

we need to do is keep our offense on the field and keep their

offense off the field with as many three-and-outs as we can

get.”

McNeese will try to do its best to duplicate the efforts of Lamar on Saturday.

Last week the Cardinals managed to

limit Flanders to 83 yards on 28 carries last week, becoming the first

team to hold him

to fewer than 5 yards per carry since North Dakota State in last

year’s FCS title game. They were also the first defense to

hold Sam Houston under 20 points this season.

“I’m sure Matt (Viator) is looking at

that (film) right now,” Fritz said. “They played with great leverage.

They tackled very

well. If you do those two things, no matter the structure and

scheme, you have a chance to play great defense. It comes down

to doing a great job of playing with leverage, no matter whether

you’re in three-man, six-man or four-man front.”