LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - LAKE CHARLES – McNeese State has announced its 2014 football schedule that features six home games and a visit to one of the most prestigious college football programs in history: Nebraska.
The 11-game schedule will kickoff on Sept. 6 at Nebraska followed by the home opener on Sept. 13 against Prairie View A&M.
Division I schools are allowed to play 12 games this coming season with the first playing date set for Aug. 30. McNeese has scheduled 11 contests instead of 12 with open dates on Aug. 30 and Sept. 20.
"We have a complete, exciting and competitive schedule," said McNeese Athletic Director Bruce Hemphill. "We've scheduled six home games, which is what we wanted. We're okay with playing 11 games."
"I like our schedule," said head coach Matt Viator, who will be entering his ninth season at the helm. "It's a competitive schedule. Anytime we can play more games at home than on the road and in front of our great fans, that's always a plus."
McNeese has reached out to other institutions to schedule a 12th game and if the right opportunity presents itself, the Cowboys will consider adding a game to the schedule.
The Cowboys will visit Lincoln, Nebraska for the second time in school history. In 2002, the Huskers defeated the Cowboys by a 38-14 score. After the game, McNeese players received a standing ovation as they were running off the field by the Nebraska faithful for their competitive play.
The game against Prairie View will be the fourth in the all-time series and first since 2001. McNeese has won the three previous games by a combined score of 154-24, including shutout wins in the last two meetings (41-0 in 2000 and 56-0 in 2001).
On Sept. 27, the Cowboys will host Arkansas Tech, a NCAA Division II team out of the Great American Conference then will begin Southland Conference play at home on Oct. 4 against Nicholls.
The Cowboys have played the Wonder Boys just once before, that coming in 1997 in a 55-7 win. Arkansas Tech finished 5-6 last season and 5-5 in conference play.
McNeese will visit Sam Houston State on Oct. 11 then will return home against conference newcomer Abilene Christian on Oct. 18, which will also be Homecoming. Following that week, McNeese will play two straight on the road – Oct. 25 at league newcomer Incarnate Word and at Northwestern State on Nov. 1.
Conference rival Stephen F. Austin will visit Cowboy Stadium on Nov. 8 and on Nov. 15, McNeese will travel to 2013 league champion Southeastern Louisiana. The Cowboys will close out the regular season at home on Nov. 22 in the Battle of the Border against Lamar.
The Southland Conference has added three teams this season – Incarnate Word, Abilene Christian, and Houston Baptist, to bring the total number of football playing schools to 11. A rotating schedule has been implemented for all schools, and with an eight game conference schedule this season, neither Central Arkansas nor Houston Baptist are on McNeese's slate.
Information regarding an attractive season ticket package will be released in the coming days.