After a 17 days between games, because of scheduling quirks and Hurricane Harvey, Sam Houston State romped past Nicholls, 66-17, in what was supposed to be a Southland Conference showdown Saturday night.
“They looked like a team that had 17 days to prepare,” said University of Central Arkansas coach said Monday at the weekly Bearbackers luncheon. “I hope our extra week pays off.”
Coming off a bye week, the Bears (2-1) and ranked 11th and 12th in various FCS polls, take on the third ranked Bearcats (3-0) Saturday night in one of the highest-profile games in several years at Estes Stadium.
Campbell said the open playing date came at a good time.
“The bye week came at a good time. It gave us an extra week to put our game plan in,” he said. “We also got some players who had been banged up healthy. Southeastern Louisiana was a very physical game and it gave us extra time to our legs fresh and get some guys healed. We also wee able to get two extra days in the weight room.”
The UCA coaches also gave the players two days off during the weekend.
“We came out Sunday and had a good Sam Houston practice.”
Campbell and the UCA coaches also got to watch the Sam Houston-Nicholls game, which was expected to be much closer.
“I thought one of the best things for us would be if Sam goes in there and gets after Nicholls,” Campbell said. “As I watched, I’m not sure I wanted Sam to get after them that much. We don’t play Nicholls this year and I thought it would be good for us for Sam to win, but not by that much.”
The Bearcats, who have defeated Richmond, Prairie View and Nicholls, have been a perennial national power the last few years and have been close to playing for a national championship.
“They do what all great football teams do,” Campbell said. “They get fumbles and picks and make you play quick. They do a good job of turning your miscues into scoring opportunities.”
The game will begin at 6 p.m. at First Security Field at Estes Stadium and will be streamed on ESPN 3.