McNeese returns home for Homecoming against UIW
LAKE CHARLES – McNeese returns to ‘The Hole’ on Saturday night after nearly a month away when it hosts Incarnate Word as the school’s homecoming opponent while the 19th-ranked Cowboys continue their quest for a Southland Conference championship.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Cowboy Stadium where McNeese is 2-0 on the season. The game will broadcast live on the McNeese Radio Network (92.9 The Lake) while a live stream will be available for a small fee on McNeeseSports.com.
McNeese (5-1, 3-1 SLC) has won five straight games since dropping the season opener on a last second field goal at Nicholls. Since that game, the Cowboys’ DWA (Defense With Attitude) has stepped it up several notches despite missing some key players.
“The younger guys have really done a great job filling in for some of our injured players,” said head coach Lance Guidry. “Plus getting players back like Dominique (Hill) has made a great impact for us lately.”
The defense has allowed just 10 points in the last three games (three vs. HBU and seven at Abilene Christian), and has not allowed a second half point in three straight games.
In addition, the defense is giving up an average of 165 yards (57 rushing and 108 passing) over the last three games, numbers that has boosted it to No. 2 in the FCS in rushing defense (50.5 ypg) and tied for third in total defense (267.0 ypg).
In a 13-7 win at Abilene Christian on October 7, the Cowboys only allowed the Wildcats to cross midfield three times.
“We’re playing as a complete unit,” said linebacker Tré Porter who moved into the starting role at Willie Linebacker after Christian Jacobs went down with a knee injury in the second week of the season. “Having guys with experience like Ashari (Goins), Dre (Andre Fuller) and Dominique (Hill) has helped lead the defense.”
The Cowboys have also been without senior cornerback Jermaine Antoine for most of the last three games and is not expected to play this Saturday either.
Offensively, the surging running game has enabled the Cowboys to continue to dominate the time of possession, where they lead the nation by holding onto the ball an average of 35:38 per game.
Sophomore running back Justin Pratt is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games and leads the conference with 495 yards and an 82.5 average. He’s looking to become the first McNeese running back to lead the league in rushing since Toddrick Pendland in 2008.
Not far behind Pratt is junior David Hamm who is averaging 61.2 yards per game, sixth-best in the league, and who is second in the conference and 22nd in the FCS with 5.7 yards per carry.
The offensive line, which has improved leaps and bounds since the start of the season, will get an added boost this week with the return of senior Joe Jenkins who missed the last four games for personal reasons.
UIW (1-5, 1-3) is coming off its first win on the year after beating Lamar 33-24 in San Antonio last week.
The Cardinals average 301 yards of offense a game – 100 rushing and 200 passing – while allowing 483 per contest (165 rushing, 318 passing).
This will be the fourth meeting in the all-time series with the Cowboys winning the previous three, including a 42-35 win last year at UIW in a game that saw McNeese build a 42-14 third quarter lead only to see UIW storm back to make it a close one at the end.
This will also be McNeese’s 74th homecoming game in school history. The Cowboys have compiled a 53-19-1 overall record in homecoming games and have won five straight and eight of the last 10.
The McNeese Student Advisory Athletic Committee (SAAC) will be collecting donations for Toys For Tots at the stadium entrances on Saturday.
McNeese Football vs. Incarnate Word
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
Times of Interest:
8:00 a.m. – Tailgate lots open
12:00 p.m. – Ticket office opens
2:00 p.m. – Cannon test fire
3:45 p.m. – Cowboy Walk (begins at Common Street and goes down Blue & Gold)
4:30 p.m. – Stadium gates open
5:40 p.m. – Pregame begins with Pride of McNeese Marching Band
5:45 p.m. – Parapokes drop into Cowboy Stadium
6:00 p.m. – Kickoff
Halftime – Presentation of 2017 McNeese Homecoming Court
3rd Quarter – McNeese Baseball SLC Champion Recognition
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