HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year Bryan Bennett has beaten teams with both his arm and legs during his two years at Southeastern.
On Saturday, in the first round of the FCS playoffs against Sam Houston State, the senior quarterback had more yards punting than he did passing and running through three quarters.
Battling a mid-foot sprain, Bennett was kept in check all night against a swarming Sam Houston State defense.
The Oregon transfer completed only 17-of-48 passes for 181 yards, while rushing 16 times for a net of 14 yards. Three punts he kicked out of a hybrid fourth-down formation averaged 53 yards.
“There are a couple throws I wish I could have back, but unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that now,” Bennett said. “It was tough.”
Bennett did run for two short touchdowns and tied the Southeastern school record for rushing touchdowns (31 by Horace Belton) along the way.
He ends his season having thrown for 2,357 yards and 18 passing touchdowns, while rushing for 669 yards and 15 more scores.
“He’s had a phenomenal career,” SLU coach Ron Roberts said. “I think over two years he has helped elevate our program to another level. I wish we could have made his ride a little longer.”
Added Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler: “Bennett’s a special player. Even injured, he’s a special player.”
Bennett had three chances at the end of the game to bring the Lions back from a 21-17 deficit but could never get the team past midfield.
“He missed on a few, but they had nice coverage and the defensive backs made very nice plays,” Roberts said.
Although his foot was hurting, Bennett said that was no excuse in his final game.
“It’s been a great honor to play here,” Bennett said. “But we wanted to keep this thing going and end on a better note.”