BEAUMONT, TX (KPLC) – McNeese State closed out its football season in an explosive 45-17 Southland Conference victory over Lamar University here Saturday.
The Cowboys, leading 24-10 after three periods, bombarded the scoreboard with 21 points in a four and a half minute span in the final period to claim their seventh straight winning season at 6-5. They also finished 4-3 in league play and in fourth place.
Lamar closed at 4-7 overall and 2-5 in conference. It was the second straight victory for the Cowboys over the Cardinals since the Texas team had a rebirth of its football program.
Cowboy head coach Matt Viator said that a 67 yard touchdown run by Dionta Spencer with 4:38 left in the game could have been a key to the victory. It came with McNeese holding but a 24-17 lead and after a Lamar touchdown.
Other keys had to be the four passes McNeese intercepted, two of them being returned for touchdowns and two others setting up scores.
Malcolm Bronson returned an interception for 44 yards and a score with 9:24 left in the third period and it was his second career pass interception return for a td.
Janzen Jackson ended the game with an 84 yard interception return for a td, that return the eighth longest in McNeese history.
In between, Kentrell Butler intercepted a pass and set up an 11 yard touchdown run by Andre Anderson in the second quarter and Darrell Jenkins picked one off early in the fourth period, returned it 45 yards and set up a two yard td run by Anderson.
The other scoring by the Cowboys came on a 34 yard run by Darius Carey and on a first quarter 20 yard field goal by Josh Lewis.
"I'm very proud of our players," Viator said. "They played through some first half turnovers and played very hard in this game."
Lamar scored on a 24 yard td pass from Andre Bevil to J. J. Hayes, on a 20 yard field goal by Justin Stout and on a 12 yard pass from Caleb Berry to Jesse Sparks.
The Cowboys totaled 329 yards in the game, 203 on the ground and 126 in the air. Lamar had 375 total, only 39 on the ground and 336 passing.
Individual leaders for the Cowboys were Carey with 80 yards rushing and Spencer with 70, quarterback Cody Stroud who completed 11 of 17 passes for 126 yards and Ernest Celestie with three catches.
Carey went a long way towards winning the SLC's punt return title as he ran back four punts for 96 yards and a 24 yard per return average. He also returned two kickoffs 52 yards and had 238 all-purpose yards.
Champlain Babin had 19 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving and 51 yards on kickoff returns for 100 yards all-purpose.