Sam Houston State, which returns quarterback Jared Johnson and lost only two starters from last season, appears ready to make a run at four-time FCS champion North Dakota State. NDSU eliminated the Bearkats in the tournament final or semifinals three of those seasons. Johnson, a redshirt junior, accounted for 4,053 yards last season — 3,054 passing, 999 rushing — in his first full season as starter.
Abilene Christian, high-scoring Central Arkansas (40.7 points per game last season), Lamar, McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin along with two-time co-champion Southeastern Louisiana expect to be in the title race.
Southeastern Louisiana kicks off the Southland's 12-game schedule on ASN on Sept. 3 at Northwestern State.
Conference coaches selected Sam Houston State as preseason favorites, but ASN wants to know what you think:
ON THE COVER
Sam Houston State quarterback Jared Johnson is back and ready to make a run at a national title. (Courtesy Sam Houston State Athletics)