HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana is playoff bound for the first time in school history.

The 14th-ranked Lions beat No. 4 Sam Houston State 34-21 on Saturday night at Strawberry Stadium, clinching at least a share of their first Southland Conference championship in 52 years and claiming the school’s first berth into the FCS playoffs.

Southeastern (9-2, 6-0 Southland) ended the game by scoring 24 unanswered points and a big-play defense pitched a second-half shutout in beating the Bearkats (8-3, 4-2), the FCS national championship runner-up over the last two seasons.

After the win, students knocked down end zone barriers and stormed the field, celebrating a first league title since 1961 and a school-record eighth-straight victory. In his second season, coach Ron Roberts has led the Lions to the most wins in a season since 1976.

“It was a great night for Southeaster,” Roberts said. “I think it’s a long-time coming for this.”

Just 11 years after restarting its football program – it didn’t play form 1986 to 2002 – Southeastern can win the most games in school history with a victory over Nicholls State on Thursday.

More importantly, the Lions are heading to the playoffs. The 24-team field is set to be announced Nov. 24. The first round is Nov. 30. The top eight seeds receive a bye into the second round and games are hosted by participating teams until the championship Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.