Balanced efforts in McNeese’s first preseason scrimmage

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LAKE CHARLES – McNeese football strapped it on for its first scrimmage of the preseason with a little bit of a merry-go-round situation as to which unit held the upper hand in the roughly 130-play scrimmage, 85 plays which were live.

Starting things off with a two-minute drill, the offense drove down the field and scored field goals on one of the two drives.

Quarterback James Tabary connected on 4 of 9 passes in the series with three of those completions going to 10 yards or more as he drove his unit to the 15-yard line where Trent Manuel knocked through a 32-yard field goal.

With the No. 2s on the field, Cody Orgeron hit 6 of 7 targets but came one yard short of extending the downs and led to a 46-yard field goal attempt by Gunnar Raborn that sailed wide right.

In the two drives, the offenses picked up 72 yards and three points.

Then the live scrimmage began and the Defense With Attitude stepped up to the plate.

Running series with three units, the offenses failed to pick up a first down in five series covering 21 plays. That was until the second play of the sixth series (second series for the No. 2 offense) when quarterback Joe Lissard connected with a wide open Cyron Sutton down the sideline for a 66 yard touchdown score.

“I thought both sides were very physical and very competitive,” said head coach Lance Guidry. “I saw a lot of good things today.”

It took a couple of series for Tabary and the No. 1 offense to get rolling but in his fourth series of the scrimmage, Tabary connected on 4 of 5 passes for 48 yards and ending with a 3-yard touchdown strike to freshman tight end Jacob Logan.

“I thought we improved a lot as we went along,” said Tabary.

Several starters missed the scrimmage due to a few dings but Guidry was happy with what he saw from the backups.

“I saw a lot of guys who are backups step up and look like starters today,” he said.

Defensive starters to miss the scrimmage included Dominique Hill, Jermaine Antoine, Antonio McGhee and Andre Fuller, who played in just the first live series. On offense, Austin Nelson missed the scrimmage as well as Justin Pratt, who has been out the last few days with a death in the family.

“I think things are going real good and we’re just going to continue to get better,” said Jammerio Gross-Whitaker who had one sack on the day.

The offense got one more touchdown on the day when Matt Keller found Tre Roberts for a 24-yard score with Roberts carrying a defender on his back for the last 8 yards to the goal line.

Overall, four quarterbacks combined to complete 23 of 40 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and finished with 295 total offensive yards in the live portion of the scrimmage.

The defense held the running game in check by allowing just 18 yards on 25 carries with only two rushes going to 10 or more yards. Gross-Whitaker, Jonta Jones, Tessilym Anifowoshe and Brandon Blackwell each recorded sacks.

Nick Edwards led the receivers with three catches for 41 yards as Mac Briscoe ran for 24 yards on four carries to lead the running game.

McNeese will take Sunday off to participate in media day at 5 p.m. in Cowboy Stadium and will return to the practice field at 9 a.m. on Monday as it starts its final week of preseason camp and leading up to next Saturday morning’s final scrimmage.

Scrimmage Stats (Live portion of scrimmage only)
James Tabary 8-15, 90, TD; Joe Lissard 5-7, 100, TD; Matt Keller 5-8, 36, TD; Cody Orgeron 5-10, 51.
PASSING TOTALS: 23-40, 277, 3 TD

Mac Briscoe 4-24; David Hamm 5-15; J’Uan Gross 2-6; Nate Briscoe 1-3; Quincy Cage 1-3; Benjamin Jones 3-(-8); Joe Lissard 1-(-2); J’Cobi Skinner 2-(-7); James Tabary 2-(-2); Cody Orgeron 2-(-7); Matt Keller 2-(-7).

Nick Edwards 3-41; Trevor Begue 1-31; Lawayne Ross 1-20; Kent Shelby 2-17; Lenny Breda 1-15; Tre Roberts 1-24, TD; Jacob Logan 2-8, TD; Tavarious Battiste 2-15; Parker Orgeron 1-6; Benjamin Jones 1-6; J’Cobi Skinner 1-3; Mac Briscoe 3-(-5); Cyron Sutton 1-66, TD; Dontay Hargrove 1-2; J’Uan Gross 2-14.

Jammerio Gross-Whitaker, Jonta Jones, Tessilym Anifowoshe, Brandon Blackwell

Tackles For Loss:
Tyrique Gibson, Erik Jones, Khoury Kraus, Vinny Quirk, Tre Porter, Ed Duplessis

Field Goals:
4-5: Trent Manuel 2-2 (29, 45Gunnar Raborn 2-3 (made 41, 28; missed 48)

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