The Sam Houston State Bearkats football team open their defense of the FCS national title on Thursday, when they visit the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
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The game (9 p.m. ET start time) isn’t on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch Sam Houston State vs Northern Arizona live on ESPN+:
With ESPN+, you’ll be able to stream hundreds of live college football games during the 2021 season. It also includes dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $6.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $13.99 per month. Separately, the three streaming services would cost a total $20.97 per month, so you’re saving about 33 percent:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch Sam Houston State vs Northern Arizona live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Sam Houston State vs Northern Arizona Preview
After the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Southland’s 2020 season into the spring of 2021, the Bearkats dominated the conference with a 6-0 mark then ripped off four narrow victories in the FCS Playoffs for the school’s first FCS national title.
Most of the undefeated champions’ key contributors will be back on the field on Thursday.
“There’s more pressure because of the expectations, especially when you are bringing back the same team,” quarterback Eric Shmid said in June, according to VYPE. “But I feel so much better going into this season than past seasons because the past ones were disappointments of not making the playoffs.”
Thursday will mark the Bearkats’ WAC debut. Schmid, now a fifth-year senior, is the conference’s preseason offensive player of the year.
In his side’s 23-21 title-clinching victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in May, Schmid connected on 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards and a trio of touchdowns, adding 54 yards on the ground. He incurred a pair of sacks and plenty more hits.
“I’ve never been beat up like that, honestly,” Schmid said, per VYPE. “My shoulder was messed up, my ankle is still hurting six weeks later. So, it was good to get out of that game but I wouldn’t change anything. We had one goal and that’s what we were going for.”
NAU went 3-2 in the spring, all in Big Sky play, and missed out on the postseason.
The Lumberjacks are bringing back a number of key players, but they also boast an infusion of new talent: 247Sports named NAU’s recruiting the best in the conference.
The roster has spent much of the weeks leading up to the season getting familiar with new Tyler Shumate, the team’s new assistant athletic director for sports performance.
“They came out here this summer and they feel really, really confident,” head coach Chris Ball said, per the Arizona Daily Star. “They really paid a price, which puts you in position and helps you compete for the championship but doesn’t guarantee it. You see the way they walk when they come out of that weight room. They’re very, very proud of what they just accomplished.”
Last year, then-freshman running back Draycen Hall led the Lumberjacks in rushing yards (241) and yards from scrimmage (338)
“I’m feeling more confident, feeling like I’m stronger and faster, which is a big deal for me,” Hall said, per the Arizona Daily Sun. “So I’m excited for the season, and my hands are a little bit better.”