McNeese falls 30-19 to Alcorn in home opener

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LAKE CHARLES – Alcorn State scored 21 straight second quarter points then held off a McNeese second half spurt as the Braves recorded the SWAC’s first-ever win over the Cowboys 30-19 on Saturday night.

The Cowboys dropped to 0-3 on the season while Alcorn won its first game to improve to 1-2. It’s also the first win by a SWAC program in 16 tries over McNeese.

Following a scoreless first quarter, ASU (1-2) got on the board first on a 13-yard run by Niko Duffey to make it 7-0 at the 11:20 mark. The lead built to 14-0 following an 11-yard run by Jarveon Howard. That score was set up after the Cowboys fumbled the ball away at their own 24-yard line.

Following a McNeese punt that downed the ball deep in Braves territory at the 11, Aaron Allen connected with Mario Hunt for an 89-yard score to put the visiting team up 21-0 with 3:36 to play in the half.

McNeese responded on the next play with a 59-yard touchdown strike by Knox Kadum to Mason Pierce, but a holding penalty nullified the score and the Cowboys ended up settling for a 24-yard Garrison Smith field goal to put them on the board and down 21-3 at the break.

The Cowboys came out fast in the third quarter, driving 62-yards in four plays ending on a 14-yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Durham to cut the ASU lead to 21-10.

The McNeese defense forced the Braves to punt after a three-and-out possession but the offense would come up empty after a 36-yard Smith field goal attempt was pulled wide left.

Alcorn increased its lead to 24-10 after a Noah Kiani 29-yard field goal with 2:48 to play in the third quarter. McNeese scored on a 21-yard Kadum to Kameran Senegal connection to pull the Cowboys to within a touchdown at 24-17 with 39 seconds to play in the quarter.

The Braves got two more field goals and the Cowboys got a safety off a sack by Micah Davey to cap the scoring.

• ASU outgained the Cowboys 404-348 in total offense.
• Deonta McMahon rushed for 102 yards for his second straight 100-yard game and fifth of his McNeese career
• The Cowboys were just 1 for 11 on third downs and 0-1 on fourth downs.
• True freshman WR Kam Senegal made his first-career reception and his first-career touchdown catch.
• QB Knox Kadum recorded his first-career 200-yard passing game.
• It’s the first 200-yard passing game for the Cowboys on the season.
• TE Kyle Klink made his first catch as a Cowboy.
• LB Kordell Williams recorded 15 tackles, his second straight double-digit tackle game. That increased his career total to 255 and moved him into 19th on the McNeese all-time tackles list.
• FS Enos Lewis recovered his second fumble on the season and returned it 22 yards.
• LB Micah Davey recorded his first career sack and first career safety.
• The 4th quarter safety off Davey’s sack was the first Cowboy safety recorded since the 2015 season against UIW.

Missed Opportunities:
1st Quarter – Scoreless game, McNeese drives inside the Alcorn 35-yard line but sees its drive end at the 32 when it failed to convert on a 4th-and-9.
2nd Quarter – Trailing 21-0, McNeese had a 59-yard touchdown reception by Mason Pierce called back after a holding penalty. That would have cut the margin to 21-7. Instead the Cowboys had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to cut the margin to 21-3 with 33 seconds to play in the quarter.
3rd Quarter – Cowboys trailing 21-10, missed a 36-yard field goal that would have cut the deficit to 21-13.
4th Quarter – Trailing 27-19 after a safety pulled McNeese to within one score, on the first play Kadum would be sacked for a loss of eight then threw an interception which Alcorn eventually kicked a field goal to go up 30-19 with 6:32 remaining.

Old Traditions Return:
• Saturday night saw the return of several traditions. First, the Cowboy Walk returned as the team walked down Blue and Gold Drive from Common Street.
• Following six years of absence, The Mystery Rider returned to Cowboy Stadium and took the field by storm during the pregame festivities.
• For the first time since 2013, night games in Cowboy Stadium returned to the traditional 7 p.m. start.

Military Appreciation:
• McNeese honor the US Armed Forces with its annual Military Appreciation Game on Saturday night.
• Two navy fighter jets thrilled fans with a pregame flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthem.

Next Up:
McNeese returns home next Saturday when it hosts Mississippi College of the Gulf South Conference. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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