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Sam Houston State receiver Torrance Williams. (Special to the American Press)

Sam Houston State receiver Torrance Williams. (Special to the American Press)

Second-ranked Bearkats have plenty of fire power

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 10:18 PM

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.”

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