Preview: Cowboys visit Colonels in Southland Conference action
McNeese (1-5, 0-2 SLC) at Nicholls (1-6, 1-1 SLC)
Saturday, October 22, 2022 • 3 p.m.
Manning Field at Guidry Stadium (10,500) • Thibodaux, La.
TV: ESPN+ LINK
Radio: 92.9 The Lake
Audio Stream: 929thelake.com
Live Stats: LINK
THIBODAUX – McNeese will hit the road on Saturday to face long-time rival Nicholls in a Southland Conference contest.
McNeese (1-5, 0-2 SLC) dropped a 40-15 decision to Texas A&M-Commerce last weekend while Nicholls (1-6, 1-1) lost 49-14 to UIW in a non-conference matchup.
Saturday’s 3 p.m. kickoff will broadcast live on ESPN+.
- McNeese: Gary Goff (1st season at McNeese, 1-5; 11th season overall, 61-58)
- Nicholls: Tim Rebowe (8th season at Nicholls and overall, 45-41)
COWBOYS AND COLONELS
- McNeese will visit Nicholls to renew a yearly series that has been going strong for 40 straight years as the two have met each season since 1983.
- Saturday’s game will be the 47th match-up between the two as the Cowboys hold a 31-15 lead in the all-time series.
- McNeese has won 7 of the last 10 meetings and is 23-8 against the Colonels as Southland Conference rivals (Nicholls joined the league in 1991).
- Nicholls defeated McNeese 32-14 last year in Lake Charles.
- The two teams have alternated wins the last six seasons.
- Saturday’s game will be the first time in the last four meetings where neither team is ranked.
- Nicholls was No. 8 last season when it defeated McNeese in Lake Charles, and in the spring season, the Cowboys downed the No. 11 Colonels, also in Lake Charles.
- In 46 games, at least one team has been ranked in 27 contests (McNeese ranked in 23 of those and Nicholls in 8).
- The Colonels have won the last two games played in Thibodaux.
- McNeese’s last win on the Colonels’ turf came in 2015 when the 15th-ranked Cowboys came away with a 37-7 win en route to an unbeaten regular season and 14th SLC title.
- Nicholls’ win in 2017 snapped an 8-game Cowboys winning streak.
- Tied as the second longest-running series with Southeastern Louisiana in McNeese history trailing just Northwestern State (70 matchups).
NOTES ON THE COWBOYS
- Preseason 1st team All-SLC offensive lineman Caron Coleman made his debut against Commerce this past Saturday… Coleman missed the first six games of the season in concussion protocol after suffering the injury in fall camp.
- In both conference losses, McNeese trailed by only one score in the fourth quarter.
- McNeese picked off its first passes on the season last Saturday, one by Mason Kinsey and the other by Tyler Barnes.
- As a team, the Cowboys are ranked No. 1 in the SLC in fumbles recovered (9), fewest penalties (24) and punt return defense (5.0).
- McNeese is 2nd in the league in fewest penalties per game (4.0), fewest penalty yards (254), fewest penalty yards per game (42.3), passing yards allowed per game (224.0), rushing offense (168.3), and turnovers gained (11).
- The Cowboys are No. 3 in the league in first downs defense (143) and defensive TDs (1).
ABOUT THE COLONELS
- Nicholls was picked for a 3rd place finish in the preseason poll and had 11 players named to the preseason all-conference teams.
- Nicholls is 8th in the SLC in scoring offense (16.7) and 8th in scoring defense (39.9).
- Averaging 354.4 ypg on offense (5th) and 488.3 ypg defense (8th).
- No. 5 in league in rushing offense (145.0) and 6th in rushing defense (182.7)… in passing, ranked 6th on offense (209.4) and 8th on defense (305.6).
- Preseason 1st team All-SLC RB Collin Guggenheim is 6th in the league with 56.0 ypg rushing while teammate Julien Gums is 4th with a 62.9 average.
- Guggenheim ran for 125 yards against the Cowboys last fall in the win in Lake Charles.
- QB Kohen Grainier is fifth in league in passing at 188.0 ypg and has thrown for 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
McMAHON LEADS SLC IN RUSHING
- Senior RB Deonta McMahon continues to lead the Southland Conference in rushing with a 90.5 per game average.
- He’s looking to become the first Cowboy since 2008 (Toddrick Pendland) to win the league rushing title.
- In addition, he also leads the league with 543 total rushing yards, and with 141.5 all-purpose yards per game.
- He rushed for a career-high 138 yards in the Sept. 24 win over Mississippi College to mark his 3rd straight 100-yard rushing game, fourth on the season and 6th in his career.
- His six 100-yard career games ranks 14th on the McNeese list for most in a career.
- To date, McMahon has rushed for 1,290 yards in his career, needing 183 yards to move into 30th on the school’s career list.
- Vying to become the first Cowboy player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since the 2015 season (Marcus Wiltz 1,287).
- Has 13 career rushing TDs, needing 7 to break into the top 15 all-time in school record book.
McMahon 100-Yard Career Rushing Games:
138 (12 carries) vs. Mississippi College (Sept. 24, 2022)
102 (10 carries) vs. Alcorn State (Sept. 17, 2022)
101 (5 carries) at Rice (Sept. 10, 2022)
111 (17 carries) vs. Northwestern State (Nov. 20, 2021)
124 (23 carries) at HBU (Nov. 13, 2021)
111 (11 carries) vs. Nicholls (Apr. 3, 2021)
WILLIAMS ADDS TO TACKLING TOTAL
- Senior LB Kordell Williams increased his season and career total tackles mark by 10 after last Saturday’s performance against Commerce.
- Williams, a Carencro native, leads the Cowboys and is ranked No. 2 in the SLC with 64 total tackles.
- He’s 2nd in SLC and 4th FCS with 10.7 tackles per game.
- He has four, 10-tackle games on the season.
- 284 tackles in his career, ranking him 16th on the school’s career list.
- Recorded 10 or more tackles 12 times in his career and since recording his first 10-tackle game, has posted 10 or more in 12 of his last 18 games going back to the 2021 spring season.
WILLIAMS 10+ TACKLE GAMES
TKLS Opponent Date
10 vs. TAMU-Commerce 10/15/22
12 vs. Mississippi College 9/24/22
15 vs. Alcorn State 9/17/22
12 at Rice 9/10/22
11 vs. Nicholls 11/6/21
12 at Southeastern 10/30/21
11 vs. UIW 10/23/21
17 vs. Southeastern 10/2/21
10 at UIW 9/25/21
11 at Southern 9/18/21
10 at LSU 9/11/21
13 at Sam Houston 4/10/21
TEAM AND PLAYER NOTES
- The Cowboys have forced multiple turnovers in all but one game.
- Defense has had at least one double-digit tackler in 5 of 7 games on the season.
- McNeese has won 3 straight games when scoring 30 or more points and 8 of last 10.
- All-conference OL Caron Coleman started and saw action in his first game of the season last Saturday vs. Commerce.
- With 543 rushing yards, RB Deonta McMahon is looking to become the first 1,000-yard rusher since the 2013 season (Marcus Wiltz 1,287).
- LB Micah Davey has recorded at least one TFL in four of the last 5 games (5 TFL on the season).
- WR Mason Pierce leads the team with 26 catches, four short of his season-best of 30 catches made last season.
- Pierce has 792 receiving yards, 208 short of becoming just the 27th player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard milestone.
- OL Calvin Barkat has started 22 straight games.
- OL Cole LeClair has started in 20 straight games (6 at McNeese and 14 at Valdosta State last season).
- DL Mason Kinsey picked off his second career pass with his first of the season last Saturday.
- DB Tyler Barnes picked off his first pass as a Cowboy against Commerce.
- K Garrison Smith is tied for 2nd in the SLC with 6 FG made and is 13th with 29 total points scored.
TOTAL REBUILD IN PROGRESS
- McNeese is in a total rebuilding year with the addition of a new coaching staff, the fourth in the last five seasons, and 58 new players.
- Following APR sanctions, then two devastating hurricanes that left the Cowboys without facilities for two off-seasons, this rebuild has been compared to a recovery from an NCAA Death Penalty.
- McNeese has just 4 players remaining from the 2018 season, making them the only true seniors on the team (OL Calvin Barkat, DB Enos Lewis, DL C.J. Semien, LB Kordell Williams).
- The Cowboys have rebuilt several times before and reached the peak of the FCS following the rebuilds.
- After several mediocre seasons in the 80s, Bobby Keasler was hired in 1990, and in that season, led the Cowboys to a 5-6 record. One year later McNeese won its first SLC title since 1980 and played in its first FCS (1-AA) playoff game.
- The Cowboys advanced to the quarterfinals in 1992, ‘93 and ‘94 and in 1995, made their first semifinal appearance.
- The 1996 season was a rebuilding year where the team finished 3-8, but in 1997, McNeese played for its first FCS national championship.
- Another rebuilding season occurred in 1999 but in 2000, the Cowboys returned to the playoffs and went on to win three straight conference titles from 2001-03 while playing for the 2002 national title.
- The 2004 season saw a rebuild while 2005 was handicapped due to Hurricane Rita.
- In 2006, McNeese returned to the playoffs then won conference titles in 2007 and 2009.
- After a 2013 second place finish and a second round FCS appearance, McNeese slipped to 6-5 in 2014 but rallied for a perfect 10-0 regular season and No. 2 ranking along with a conference title in 2015.
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