Quarterback Brian Bell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and Sam Houston State raced to a 35-0 halftime lead but barely held on to beat second-seeded Eastern Washington 45-42 Saturday afternoon, earning a trip to the Football Championship Subdivision championship game.
The Bearkats (11-3) face top-seeded North Dakota State, which won last year's matchup 17-16, Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.
The win over Eastern Washington (11-3) was the Bearkats' third straight over a Big Sky Conference team in the playoffs this year and fifth straight in the past two years.
After the Bearkats dominated the first half, backup quarterback Vernon Adams tied a school record with six touchdown passes to pull the Eagles within a field goal with 3:02 to play.
However, behind Tim Flanders, who rushed for 219 yards, Sam Houston State was able to run out the clock.