Reliant Stadium to host Battle of the Piney Woods

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Reliant Stadium will host the Battle of Piney Woods in 2010.

Sam Houston State & Stephen F. Austin to face off in Houston in 2010
* HOUSTON* – The second-oldest Division I Football Championship Subdivision rivalry in Texas will have a new home at Reliant Stadium beginning next season, Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE) announced today. Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin will face off in the Battle of the Piney Woods in Houston next October.

"The Battle of the Piney Woods is one of the great traditions in college football in the state of Texas, and we are proud to bring it to Reliant Stadium," LSSE president Jamey Rootes said. "We want to make Reliant Stadium the premier venue for every level of college football in Texas; and this rivalry brings us one step closer to that goal."

Game organizers plan to open Reliant Stadium's lower bowl, which seats approximately 26,000, for the game. Tickets will range in price from $15 to $35 and will go on sale to the general public on Monday, Nov. 16 through all TicketMaster outlets. Both schools will also include tickets to the game in their season ticket packages.

The Battle of the Piney Woods dates back to 1923, with Sam Houston State holding a 48-33-2 edge in the series. The Bearkats have won the last five meetings, with the 2009 edition set to take place next Saturday, Oct. 24, in Nacogdoches.

"This is a terrific move that is going to bring one of the most exciting college football rivalries to Houston, the back yard for almost a third of our University's alumni, students and fans," Sam Houston State athletic director Bobby Williams said. "More than 58,000 members of the Sam Houston Alumni Association call the Greater Houston area home. This is an opportunity for them to step up and show their Bearkat spirit.

"It is especially meaningful that LSSE and the Texans contacted our universities about moving this series to Reliant. That shows what high regard they have for this fantastic rivalry between two Universities named for two of the most historic figures in Lone Star state annals."

Stephen F. Austin will be seeking to regain the Battle of the Piney Woods Trophy for the first time since a 34-31 victory at home in 2003. Sam Houston State head coach Todd Whitten was an All-Gulf Star Conference quarterback at SFA from 1983-86 and still ranks third on the school's all-time passing list with 6,304 career yards. Current SFA quarterback Jeremy Moses is in second place in school history.

"This is an exciting opportunity to work with Lone Star Sports & Entertainment in promotion of our rivalry game with Sam Houston State," Stephen F. Austin head coach J.C. Harper said. "I believe this is a win-win scenario. It's great for our university, and for SFA athletics, to be seen and talked about in the Houston area where we have a huge alumni base.

"The Battle of the Piney Woods is the second-longest FCS rivalry game in the state of Texas. It is a game that turns out students and alumni from both universities. I believe this is only going to add to the great tradition of this rivalry. I would like to thank Jamey Rootes for taking an interest in this series, and wanting to add to this great Texas tradition."

The Battle of the Piney Woods will be one of three college games hosted at Reliant Stadium by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment next season. LSSE collaborated with SMG-Reliant Park to bring Rice's home game against Texas to the stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4; and the 2010 Texas Bowl will pit teams from the Big 12 and the Big Ten against one another in late December.

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