McNeese hosts Florida Tech in home opener

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LAKE CHARLES – McNeese football opens up its home season on Saturday night against Florida Tech out of the Gulf South Conference, a perennial power league in the NCAA Division II ranks.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Cowboy Stadium.

It’s Military Appreciation Night and all fans in the military are offered a special discounted ticket for $11 with a valid military ID.

McNeese (0-1) is coming off a last season 37-35 loss at Nicholls last Thursday night in the season opener in what was a hectic week for the Cowboys as the team had to travel to Lafayette that Monday and Tuesday to practice at ULL’s indoor facility because of Tropical Storm Harvey’s torrential rains.

Florida Tech (1-0) is facing a similar situation with Hurricane Irma pounding the coast of the Florida peninsula, especially in Melbourne, where FIT is located.

The Panthers arrived in Lake Charles on Friday morning and will wait to see if it’ll be able to return to Florida after Irma leaves its marks. McNeese officials have been working to make sure the visitors are taken care of in case they need to stay in Lake Charles for several days.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the McNeese Radio Network (92.9 The Lake and 929thelake.com) and will also be streamed on McNeeseSports.com.

MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY AT COWBOY STADIUM
• The McNeese Cowboys open up its home slate on Saturday night by hosting Florida Tech of the Gulf South Conference for Military Appreciation Day.
• A swearing in ceremony for new cadets will take place on the field at approximately 5:40 then two members of the armed forces will participate in the coin toss.
• McNeese’s marching band will play the National Anthem while members of a local Boy Scout troop will raise the flag.

MCNEESE SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017 TO BE ENSHRINED AT PREGAME AND HALFTIME
• Five former McNeese greats will be inducted into the McNeese Hall of Fame as part of the 2017 class.
• Those joining the Hall are football players Adam Henry and Toddrick Pendland, former baseball coach Tony Robichaux, basketball player Patrick Richard, and track runner Sarah Salmon.
• Henry, Pendrick and Robichaux will be in attendence. Richard is in Spain for training camp as he’s preparing for the 2017-18 Spanish Professional League season. His parents will accept the award on his behalf. Salmon lives in Australia and is unable to attend. McNeese Hall of Famer and former track great David Kohrs will accept the award for Sarah.
• With the five being inducted, that brings the total number of members in the Hall to 151, 70 of those a members of the football program either as a player or a coach.

MCNEESE VS. FLORIDA TECH
• This will be the first-ever meeting between the Cowboys and Panther.
• Florida Tech is a NCAA Division II program out of the powerful Gulf South Conference and compiled an 8-3 record in 2016 while making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Playoffs.
• The Panthers are in their fifth year of being a football program.
• FIT is currently ranked No. 27 in this week’s AFCA D2 Coaches Poll.

COWBOYS IN HOME OPENERS • ALL-TIME IN COWBOY STADIUM
• McNeese has won its last 12 home openers with its last loss coming at the hands of Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 11, 2004 (51-17).
• Overall, the Cowboys have compiled a 201-90-5 all-time record in Cowboys Stadium, dating back from their first season in the venue in 1965.

MCNEESE VS. GULF SOUTH CONFERENCE
• The Cowboys are no strangers against members from the Gulf South Conference.
• In 2013, McNeese scored with less than a minute to play to escape with a 44-42 win over West Alabama, a team that featured current New England Patriot defensive back Malcolm Butler whose interception in the endzone with less than a minute to play in Super Bowl XLIX secured the win for the Patriots.
• Overall against the GSC, the Cowboys have compiled a 13-2 record against members of the Gulf South Conference with the only two losses coming to Nicholls and Northwestern State back in the 1970s.

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