McNeese squanders opportunities in loss to Sam Houston

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Two words sum up McNeese’s 27-13 loss to 5th-ranked Sam Houston on Saturday … missed opportunities.

The Cowboys missed a field goal, had to settle for two field goals instead of touchdowns after driving inside the Sam Houston 10, dropped a touchdown pass and fumbled the ball at the 1 leaving a potential 25 points off the board.

In addition, a running into the kicker call in the third quarter gave Sam Houston the ball back and four plays later resulted in a touchdown and turned the ball over on downs with the ball in Bearkat territory.

With the loss, the Cowboys end their season at 3-4 and 2-4 in Southland Conference play while Sam Houston improves to 5-0 overall and 5-0 in the league while clinching at least a share of the title.

“This team is built on adversity and we went through it yet again today,” said head coach Frank Wilson. “There was no quit. We fought extremely hard. We were in a position to have an opportunity for victory but unfortunately we came up a little short. We squandered opportunities but it wasn’t from a lack of effort.”

McNeese finished with 328 total offensive yards while Sam Houston collected 384, nearly 200 yards below its season average as well as 30 points below.

Quarterback Cody Orgeron completed 27 of 42 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 18 yards. Receiver Josh Matthews caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown while on defense, Andre Sam intercepted two passes as Kordell Williams recorded 13 tackles.

Trailing 27-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Sam’s second interception set the Cowboys up for a chance to cut into the lead. Orgeron moved the ball to the 2-yard line but facing fourth down, fumbled it away at the 1 and Sam Houston recovered in the end zone.

“We had our opportunities but couldn’t cash in on them,” said Wilson. “I’m so proud of this group. We’ll be back and we’ll be better.”

McNeese got on the board with a 19-yard field goal with 7:09 to play in the first quarter. The Cowboys got the ball down to the 1-yard line when Trevor Begue pulled in a 24-yard pass by Orgeron on a 3rd-and-9 play. The Bearkats kept McNeese out of the end zone on three straight running plays to hold it to a field goal.

Sam Houston answered with 17 straight points scored to take a 17-3 lead at the half.

After the Bearkats went up 7-3 late in the first quarter, McNeese drove the ball deep into Sam Houston territory but came up empty when Abel missed wide on a 36-yard field goal with 14:06 to play in the half.

Isaiah Chambers helped keep the Bearkats off the board on their ensuing possession after a third down sack back SH up to attempt a 36-yard field goal which sailed wide to the right.

A couple of long punt returns helped set Sam Houston up on the McNeese side of the field and led to 10 more points, the last three coming on a 21-yard field goal by Seth Morgan as time expired to end the half with the Bearkats leading 17-3.

McNeese’s defense kept the Bearkats out of the end zone to start the third quarter after a 54-yard gain set the ball up at the McNeese 5. Mason Kinsey came up with a big third down sack to hold Sam Houston to a 33-yard field goal.

After the Cowboys were unable to move on offense, the defense forced Sam Houston into a punt, but a running into the kicker call gave it the ball back and four plays later, Donovan Williams scored on a 2-yard run to give it a 27-3 lead at the 7:43 mark of the third quarter.

The Cowboys moved the ball quickly down the field on the next possession as Orgeron completed passes of 22, 10 and 33 yards, the latter to Begue at the Sam Houston 7. A touchdown pass was dropped by Jamal Pettigrew and the Cowboys had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Abel with 4:58 to play in the quarter to cut the lead to 27-6.

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