McNeese opens home schedule against Alcorn State

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McNeese (0-2) vs. Alcorn State (0-2)
Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
Cowboy Stadium (20,000) • Lake Charles, La.

TV: ESPN3 LINK
Radio: 92.9 The Lake
Audio Stream: 929thelake.com
Live Stats: LINK

LAKE CHARLES – Saturday will mark exactly 1,050 days since the McNeese Cowboys played under the lights at Cowboy Stadium. All that will change when the Cowboys kick-off their home slate with a 7 p.m. start against Alcorn State.

Saturday night’s 7 o’clock kick will mark a return to the traditional start times that was last held in the 2013 season. It’s also Military Appreciation Game as McNeese will be honoring all members of the U.S. military armed forces and fans will witness a flyover during the National Anthem.

Both teams enter the contest 0-2, each having lost to highly ranked FCS opponents in Week 1 then following that up with losses at FBS opponents last week.

The game will broadcast live on ESPN3 while McNeese radio will carry the game on 92.9 The Lake and 929thelake.com.

COACHES
• McNeese: Gary Goff (1st season at McNeese, 0-2; 11th season overall, 60-55)
• Alcorn State: Fred McNair (6th season at Alcorn State and overall, 36-26)

COWBOYS AND BRAVES
• McNeese and Alcorn State will tangle for the fifth time in history on Saturday when the two meet in Cowboy Stadium at 7 p.m.
• McNeese leads the all-time series 4-0 and last beat the Braves 17-14 back on Sept. 14, 2019.
• The Cowboys are 15-0 all-time vs. members of the SWAC.

ABOUT THE COWBOYS
• The Cowboys will enter the game 0-2 on the season with both losses coming on the road.
• McNeese is ranked No. 1 in the Southland Conference in rushing offense (165.0 ypg) and No. 1 in in the SLC and 2nd in the NCAA in fewest penalties against (2.0 per game).
• RB Deonta McMahon is 2nd in the league in rushing (83.0 ypg) while D’Angelo Durham is ranked third (68.5 ypg).
• McNeese is a member of the FCS Southland Conference and is in its 79th season of playing football, 51st in the SLC.
• The Cowboys have won more football championships (14) and have made more playoff appearances (16) than any other Southland team, past or present.
• McNeese is coached by Gary Goff, who was named the program’s 18th head coach back in December, and comes from Valdosta State where he was twice named the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year in two seasons and guided the Blazers to the Division II national title game last year.
• The Cowboys have 58 new faces on the team, including 19 from the transfer portal.

ABOUT ALCORN STATE
• The Braves are 0-2 entering Saturday’s game and are coming off a 52-0 loss at Tulane last Saturday.
• Alcorn is coached by Fred McNair, who is in his 6th season and has compiled a 36-26 record at ASU and career.
• Alcorn dropped its season opener 31-27 to former Southland member Stephen F. Austin with the Lumberjacks scoring the game-winner with 2:22 to play in the 4th quarter.
• Alcorn RB and Syracuse transfer Jarveon Howard rushed for a career-high 199 yards on 21 carries against SFA in his first game as a Brave and was named SWAC Newcomer of the Week for his performance… held to 8 yards on 8 carries at Tulane.
• Howard is 2nd in the SWAC in rushing with a 103.5 per game average.
• ASU is ranked 9th in SWAC in scoring offense (13.5 ppg) and 8th in scoring defense (41.5 ppg)
• Picked for a 2nd place finish in the SWAC West in preseason poll.
• It’s pronounced “All-corn” not “Al-corn.”

BACK UNDER THE LIGHTS
• This Saturday will mark 1,050 days since McNeese last played under the lights in Cowboy Stadium.
• The last night game held was back on Nov. 2, 2019 when the Cowboys defeated Northwestern State 30-20.
• The 2020 hurricanes (Laura and Delta) gave a 1-2 punch to SWLA including Cowboy Stadium where the storms destroyed the lighting standards.
• The 7 p.m. start time returns to the old tradition of kick-offs, last seen in the 2013 season.
• Since 2010, McNeese is 45-14 under the lights in Cowboy Stadium and has won 16 of its last 17 when kicking off at night.

WELCOME TO “THE HOLE”
• The 2022 season will mark the 58th being played in Cowboy Stadium, aka, the Hole.
• The unique setting was constructed in the early 1960s with a target date to open up in 1964, however, work issues backed the date up to Sept. 18, 1965, where the Cowboys dropped a 16-12 game to Tampa in the stadium’s first-ever game.
• The Hole, which is nestled 12 feet below normal ground level, was created by over 80,000 cubic yards of soil being removed.
• Original capacity was 12,000 and expanded in 1975 to increase capacity to 17,410. Seating along the hills allow capacity to be as many as 20,000.
• In 2008 the natural grass field was replaced by an artificial turf which was named Louis Bonnette Field in honor of McNeese’s longtime SID who retired in 2012 after a 46-year career.
• The turf was replaced in 2018 and then again in 2020 following damage caused by Hurricane Laura and Delta.
• McNeese is 217-98-5 all-time in Cowboy Stadium including a 103-34 record against non-conference opponents.

RUNNING GAME ON MOVE EARLY
• Throughout the first two games, the Cowboys have had success in the running game, averaging a Southland Conference-best 165.0 ypg, also ranking them 41st in the FCS.
• Individually, Deonta McMahon is 2nd in the conference and 28th nationally with an 83.0 average while D’Angelo Durham is 3rd in SLC and 58th in FCS with a 68.5 average.
• McMahon rushed for 101 yards on 5 carries against Rice last Saturday to mark his fourth 100-yard game as a Cowboy… he had a 62-yard touchdown run in the game and averaged 20.2 yards per carry.
• McMahon is 3rd in the SLC and 34th nationally with 126.50 all-purpose yards per game.

COWBOYS VS. THE SWAC
• Saturday’s game will be the 16th meeting for the Cowboys against a member of the SWAC.
• The Cowboys have posted a perfect 15-0 mark against six SWAC teams in previous meetings wit the first coming against Prairie View in the 1986 season.
• McNeese defeated Southern 31-24 last season in Baton Rouge in the last time the Cowboys faced a SWAC member.
• The Cowboys are 4-0 vs. Prairie View, 4-0 vs. Alcorn State, 3-0 vs. Southern, 2-0 vs. Grambling, and 1-0 vs. Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

HOLD THAT FLAG
• Through two games, McNeese ranks No. 1 in the nation with fewest penalties against per game (2.0) and fewest total penalties (4).
• The Cowboys were flagged just twice at both Montana State and at Rice for a total of 50 yards, ranking them 4th in the nation in fewest penalty yards while the 25.0 penalty yards against per game is ranked 3rd in the nation.

FIRST TIME ACTION
• A total of 17 players saw action as a Cowboy in the season opener at Montana State with another five making their McNeese debut at Rice for a total of 22 players who have made their blue and gold debut.

FROM WALK-ON TO SCHOLLY TO START
• McNeese DB Richard Akers walked onto the Cowboys last fall from Parkville, Maryland, was rewarded for his great offseason and preseason camp with a scholarship.
• In addition, the RS freshman has started the first two games at the Nickel backer and has 5 tackles with a team-high 2 break-ups.

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