McNeese takes top 10 FCS ranking to Provo to face BYU

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McNeese (3-0, 2-0 SLC) at BYU (2-1)
Rankings: McNeese – 19 STATS, 9 AFCA Coaches; BYU – 25 AP
Where: Provo, Utah
Stadium: Levell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
Time: 5:05 p.m. CT
TV: BYUtv (374 DirecTV, 369 Suddenlink, 4369 Dish Network)
Stream: ESPN3,
Radio: McNeese Radio Network
Live Stats:
Twitter: @McNeeseFootball
Series: First Meeting

PROVO, Utah – McNeese will kick it up a notch in terms of divisional play on Saturday afternoon when the 9th-ranked Cowboys take on No. 25 BYU at 5 p.m. Central Time in Lavell Edwards Stadium.

The Cowboys (3-0, 2-0 SLC) are not strangers to playing members of the FBS, and on top of that, know what it takes to win against the big boys, having defeated South Florida and Middle Tennessee with a near-win at Nebraska in recent years.

McNeese is coming off a 20-10 Southland Conference victory over Nicholls to improve to 2-0 in league play while BYU stunned then-No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21 in Madison.

Head coach Lance Guidry says this game against the Cougars comes at a good time for the Cowboys.

“I think it does. It’s a game that we don’t have to win. We want to win it but we don’t have to. Of course every time that we go play a game we want to win it and we’re going to prepare to win it but the loss is not going to hurt us with conference play and it’s not going to hurt us in the standings in FCS football. But if you win it, boy it’ll be a shot in the arm to our program and McNeese and of course down the line in the playoff seedings.

“Our kids don’t want to hear anything about that. They’re going in there to try to win it.”

This will be the first-ever meeting between the Cowboys and Cougars on the football field. BYU is a perfect 11-0 against the FCS all-time.


Blunt Earns National, Conference Defensive Player of Week Honors
• Senior linebacker B.J. Blunt was named this week’s STATS and College Sports Madness National Defensive Player of the Week for his game in the Cowboys’ 20-10 win over Nicholls.
• Blunt led McNeese with nine tackles, six of those solo; three sacks, four tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery.
• He was also named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week, marking the second straight week a Cowboy defender earned the league honor.

McNeese Breaks into Top 10 in Both FCS Polls
• With its 20-10 win over the previously No. 12/13 Nicholls, McNeese has jumped into the top 10 in both the STATS Media and the AFCA Coaches Top 25 polls.
• The Cowboys had the largest jump in the STATS poll, climbing seven spots from 16 to No. 9 and five spots in the AFCA poll from No. 15 to 10.
• The Cowboys have been ranked in the top 25 for 12 consecutive weeks, dating back to last Sept. 30.
• This is the first Top 10 ranking since opening the 2016 season at No. 9.

McNeese Against the FBS
• McNeese has compiled an 8-24-1 all-time record against FBS members dating back to the 1982 season, the Cowboys’ first season at the then 1-AA level.
• The Cowboys have won 2 of their last 4 games against FBS members, and nearly a third win after dropping a 31-24 heartbreaker at Nebraska to open the 2014 season. In that game, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah took a screen pass and broke numerous tackles to break a 24-24 tie with just over a minute to play in the game.
• McNeese opened up the 2012 season with a 27-21 win at Middle Tennessee then a year later to open the 2013 season, the Cowboys stunned South Florida 53-21 in what is still the most points and widest margin of victory by an FCS team over a BCS (Power 5) school. South Florida was a member of the now defunct Big East at the time.
• The Cowboys were to open the 2015 season at LSU but constant downpours and lightning forced the game to be canceled.

Quick Hits About the Cowboys
• The Cowboys are 3-0 to start the season for the second time in the last four seasons. McNeese posted a perfect 10-0 regular season mark in 2015 after its season opening game at LSU was canceled due to thunderstorms.
• McNeese will be playing at nationally ranked team for the season straight week. Last week, the Cowboys defeated then-No. 12/13 Nicholls by a 20-10 score. BYU enters this week’s game No. 25 in the AP poll after it defeated then-No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21 on the road.
• The last time McNeese played a FBS nationally ranked team was in 2014 when the Cowboys fell to No. 19 Nebraska 31-24 in the final minute of the game.
• This game will mark just the third time under head coach Lance Guidry where both teams are ranked – Oct. 28, 2017… No. 18 McNeese lost at No. 4 Central Arkansas 47-17; last week No. 15/16 McNeese defeated No. 12/13 Nicholls 20-10 in Lake Charles.
• McNeese has allowed just 20 first half points this year – two touchdowns and two field goals.
• The Cowboys have scored on their first possession all three games this season – all three being touchdowns.
• James Tabary’s 16-yard TD pass to Lawayne Ross on the first play of McNeese’s opening possession came just 10 seconds into the game. It’s the quickest offensive score in school history and was set up by a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff.

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