FHSU Faces Eastern New Mexico in Heart of Texas Bowl Saturday Night

Fort Hays State (7-4) vs. Eastern New Mexico (7-4)
Saturday, December 3, 2016 – 6 pm
Copperas Cove, Texas – Bulldawg Stadium
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Fort Hays State Football looks for its first-ever postseason game win on Saturday night (Dec. 3) when it takes on Eastern New Mexico in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove, Texas at 6 pm. Both teams enter the game with overall records of 7-4. FHSU tied for fourth place in the MIAA, while ENMU tied for third in the Lone Star Conference.

The game will be available to watch on ESPN3 (WatchESPN or ESPN apps) for those who cannot make the trip to Texas. The game is also available on radio (103.3 FM in the Hays listening area) and streaming audio is available at tigersports.net. Live stats are also available at the link above.

Fort Hays State is looking to its first-ever postseason game win on Saturday. The Tigers are 0-2 all-time in the NCAA Division II playoffs and lost their first-ever appearance in a bowl last year to Minnesota-Duluth, 30-22, in the Mineral Water Bowl. FHSU even dropped its only playoff appearance as members of the NAIA.

The Tigers will be looking to match the single-season school record for wins for an eighth time. FHSU won eight games last year to tie the mark and looks to reach eight again this year with a win on Saturday.

The FHSU defense, which ranks second in the MIAA in total defense (359.5 yards per game) and second in points allowed (22.2 per game), looks to stop the nation’s second-best rushing attack. The Greyhounds average 346.9 rushing yards per game, only behind Harding (381.5) which faces Northwest Missouri State in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday. ENMU has five players with at least 300 rushing yards on the season, led by Kamal Cass with 1,125 yards. Quarterback Wyatt Strand is second on the team in rushing at 674 yards and he has only attempted 100 passes for the season.

The ENMU rushing attack will face a solid defensive front for FHSU, led by MIAA Defensive Player of the Year Sie Doe, Jr.Both Doe and Nathan Shepherd at defensive tackle are two-time All-MIAA selections, while FHSU has two linebackers, Alex Schmidtberger (135) and Jose Delgado (101), with over 100 tackles on the season.

The Tigers carry a balanced offensive attack with 2,528 passing yards and 1,664 rushing yards for the season. Quarterback Jacob Mezera has thrown for 2,342 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Shaquille Cooper is the top rushing threat for FHSU with 825 yards on the ground to go with 354 receiving yards. Tyler Bacon has been the top receiving target for FHSU with 35 catches, while Charles Tigner is the leader in receiving yards with 449 on 34 catches.

Doe has already set a new single-season sack record at FHSU with 15 for the year and he is tied for the career mark at 21.5 with Trevell Smittick (1997-99). Schmidtberger is just 16 tackles shy of the school record for the NCAA Division II era, held by Keith Eck at 361 (1993-96). Raheeme Dumas is just one interception shy of the single-season school record of seven held by James Hardy, Jr. (1993).

Brandon Brown now owns the single-season kicking points record at FHSU with 79, passing the old mark of 77 set by Roy Miller in 1992. He is tied with Miller for the single-season record for field goals made (15).

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