LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese wrapped up its first spring slate under new head coach Sterlin Gilbert at Saturday’s annual spring game with both sides of the ball making plays.
The offense snapped roughly 100 plays and totaled 383 yards, 233 on the ground and 150 through the air, and scored four touchdowns – two passing and two rushing.
Meanwhile, the defense forced and recovered three fumbles, one of those that would’ve been returned for a 44-yard score after defensive end Cody Roscoe stripped the ball away from running back Mac Briscoe and sprinted to the end zone with quarterback Cody Orgeron battling to get him down. But the play was called dead before Roscoe could reach the paint.
“From an offensive standpoint, we turned the ball over too much,” said head coach Sterlin Gilbert. “We have to be able to take care of the football. From a defensive standpoint, we created turnovers with some physicality. We saw some guys flash and do some things that were expected and needed to get done. We obviously have some room for a lot of growth and improvement.
“We still have a lot of work left to do. That’s the challenge we’re going to put out to our guys going forward; going into the summer and going into fall camp.”
The offense ran approximately 62 plays in the first 24 minutes of the scrimmage and ended with around 100 snaps when the rain started to steadily fall.
“I think we were ok,” said Gilbert about the tempo. “But from the speed and tempo standpoint, we have to improve and be faster than that.”
McNeese opened the scrimmage with an impressive 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an Orgeron 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver newcomer Davion Curtis. Orgeron completed 4 of 6 passes for 59 yards on the drive and ended the scrimmage completing 5 of 10 for 65 yards while also rushing for 39 yards on three carries.
Curtis, a University of Texas and Tyler Junior College player, was one of two receivers to haul in three passes and finished with a game-high 39 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 15-yard sideline pass from Cam Smith after he broke a couple tackles to find open ground down the sideline for the score.
Big hits by the defense helped jar the ball loose several times against the offense.
“It’s something we always talk about, preach about, is being physical,” said Gilbert. “We need to set the tone with physicality on both sides of the ball.”
The running game was physical as well, rolling up 233 yards on 57 carries with two touchdowns – a 15-yard score by McCaylon Thibeaux and 4-yard jolt by J’uan Gross.
The defense posted a couple of big fourth-down stands and missed out on a couple of pass interceptions.
Defensive backs Gabe Foster and Keshawn Bell each collected two tackles for a loss while Kody Fulp, Chris Livings, Christian Robinson, CJ Semien, and Roscoe each recorded a sack.
McNeese Football Spring Game Stats
Passing: 19-32, 150, 2 TDs
Cody Orgeron 5-10, 65, TD; Cam Smith 5-8, 39, TD; Matt Keller 6-9, 38; Matt Gardner 2-4, 4; Andrew McBride 1-1, 4.
Rushing: 57-233, 2 TDs
Cody Orgeron 3-39; McCaylon Thibeaux 5-34, TD; J’Cobi Skinner 11-31; Braedan James 9-30; J’uan Gross 8-29, TD; Reggie Williams 7-22; Cam Smith 1-22; Quincy Cage 1-17; Reggie Francis 6-14; Mac Briscoe 3-11; Nate Briscoe 1-2; Matt Keller 1-(-2); Tylin Bryant 1-(-2).
Davion Curtis 3-39, 2 TDs; Tylin Bryant 3-14; Lawayne Ross 2-19; Dade Dieterich 2-18; Trevor Begue 2-12; Jacob Logan 2-8; Cyron Sutton 1-21; Dontay Hargrove 1-6; Reggie Francis 1-5; Draysean Hudson 1-4; Tyler Washington 1-4.
Kody Fulp, Chris Livings, Cody Roscoe, Christian Robinson, CJ Semien
Tackles For Loss:
Gabe Foster (2), Keshon Bell (2), Andre Sam
Davion Curtis 19 yard pass from Cody Orgeron. Bailey Raborn PAT missed. (10 plays, 75 yards)
Cody Roscoe 44 yard fumble return (play called dead)
Davion Curtis 15 yard pass from Cam Smith. Noah Anderson PAT good. (5 plays, 40 yards)
McCaylon Thibeaux 15 yard run. Eric Martin PAT good. (6 plays, 40 yards)
J’uan Gross 4 yard run. Bailey Raborn PAT good. (4 plays, 25 yards)