Preview: Cowboys visit Demons to begin second half of season

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Cody Orgeron

McNeese at Northwestern State
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021
Turpin Stadium • Natchitoches, La.
TV: Cox Sports TV (Channel 42 in Lake Charles)
Stream: ESPN+
Live Stats: Link
Radio: 92.9 The Lake
Game Notes: McNeese   NSU

NATCHITOCHES – McNeese will kick-off the second the second half of the season on Saturday when the Cowboys visit Northwestern State in a clash between two rivals that have been playing each year since 1951.

Kick-off at NSU’s Turpin Stadium is at 3 p.m. The game will broadcast live on Cox Sports Television and stream on ESPN+.

McNeese (1-4, 0-2) is coming off an open weekend and prior to that, dropped a 38-35 decision to Southeastern. The Demons (1-4, 1-1) picked up their first win of the year last week after winning at HBU 21-17.

SERIES:

  • Saturday’s game will be the 71st meeting between the two schools with McNeese leading 48-21-1 all-time.
  • The Cowboys won last year’s contest 21-7 in Natchitoches for their second straight win in the series.
  • NSU’s last win was in 2018 by way of a 37-34 double-OT victory in Natchitoches.
  • Before that victory, the Cowboys had won 13 straight games in the series.

SLOW START, FAST FINISH:

  • It’s a rare occurrence for McNeese football. The last time the Cowboys started out the season 1-4 was back in 1999.
  • Despite the unexpected start, the back half of the season was light’s out for the Pokes as they won five of their final six games, including a 24-7 win over No. 1 Troy.
  • McNeese finished 6-5 that season and 5-2 in league play, missing out on the playoffs by one game.

PIERCE PRODUCING ALL-AROUND:

  • KR, PR and WR Mason Pierce has come on strong in both special teams and offensively.
  • Heading into Saturday’s game at NSU, Pierce is ranked 3rd in the league and 17th in the FCS in KO return average (27.2)
  • His 100-yard return to start the game at Southern was the first ever for McNeese to open the game with an KOR for a TD.
  • He’s also only the second player in school history to return a kickoff for 100 yards (Chris Fontenette in 1992).
  • Had a career-long 66-yard punt return against SLU which is the longest in the season by any player in the league.
  • His three TDs scored against the Lions are the most by a player in the conference this season.
  • 2 of 5 games has accumulated over 100 yards in KO returns (105 vs. West Florida; 111 at Southern).
  • 100 all-purpose yards or more in 3 of 5 games this season with a high of 192 in last outing against Southeastern.
  • 3rd in SLC and 25th in FCS with 615 total all-purpose yards.

WILLIAMS’ TACKLING FUEL:

  • Junior linebacker Kordell Williams has been all over the field through the first five games, leading the team, ranking 2nd in the SLC and 24th in the FCS with 50 total tackles.
  • He’s coming off a 17-tackle game against Southeastern, recording a league and FCS high 15 solo tackles.
  • 33 solo stops on the year tops the SLC and ranks tied for 8th in the FCS.
  • He’s recorded 10 or more tackles in 4 straight games.
  • He’s nearing cracking the top 20 career list in total tackles, now with 170, needing 73 more to break in at No. 20.

ORGERON’S MOVING ON UP:

  • With his 3 TD game against Southeastern in his last outing, he moved up to No. 5 with 43 career TDs thrown (13 more for 4th).
  • He’s one of just seven QBs in school history to throw for 5,000 yards in a career, now with 5,594 yards, needing 400 more to move into 6th place.
  • Ranks 7th with 455 completions (7 for 6th, 42 for 5th).
  • 8th with 776 pass attempts (34 for 7th, 65 for 6th).
  • Has 6,553 total yards, ranking him 6th all-time (172 to move into 5th, 356 for 4th, 835 for 3rd).
  • 959 career rushing yards, needing 41 more to become just the 5th QB in school history to run for 1,000 yards in a career.
  • 1,124 total plays accumulated, ranking as the 5th most in school history (12 to move into 4th and 40 for 3rd. Record is 1,649).
  • He’s thrown for 300 yards or more five times, needing one more to match the school record of 6 held by James Tabary.
  • Set a school record this season by attempt­ing 203 consecutive passes without a pick.

HOMECOMING ON THE HORIZON:

  • McNeese will return home next week when it hosts UIW for its Homecoming game.
  • The Cowboys will be looking to snap a 3-game losing skid to the Cardinals, who defeated McNeese 31-0 earlier in the season.
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