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Smith: Eric Schmid carries Sam Houston to the finish line



FRISCO, TX — Eric Schmid took hit after hit. And hit after hit.

He spit up blood. Turned his ankle. Limped off the field. The back of Schmid’s orange and white uniform became green and gray as the rain soaked everything, lightning stopped everything, and the first FCS national championship in Sam Houston history suddenly started to slip away.

So Schmid took another hit. And ran for 9 more tough yards, flipping over near the sideline. And shook off incompletions fired near the end zone as the final seconds disappeared.

Then Schmid found a touchdown — third down and goal at the 10-yard line; a bullet to wide receiver Ife Adeyi — that changed everything with 16 seconds left.

The still-undefeated Bearkats sprinted across and danced on the field. They swayed in front of a live national television camera. Then they united in front of a large video board that officially attached “National Champions” to SH, with a 23-21 victory untouchable inside Toyota Stadium and a stunned South Dakota State still sitting on the opposite side of the field.

“You talk about a warrior and you talk about a guy (Schmid) who is just so calm under pressure and just doesn’t panic,” Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler said. “I think that’s why a lot of us felt that we were going to be fine on that last drive. Because we have a trigger man that is capable — not only physically but emotionally — to make that last drive.”