LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese racked up 283 rushing yards and 417 total offense, but special teams proved to be the thorn in the Cowboys’ side on Saturday afternoon against Lamar where a missed field goal and two missed extra points, the final one blocked in the overtime period, came up big in a 27-26 loss. McNeese (1-3, 0-3 SLC) scored first in the overtime period when
Carlos Williams bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out to put the Cowboys on top 26-20. But on the ensuing point after attempt, Jacob Abel’s attempt was batted away by Lamar defensive lineman Vincent Rollins to keep the lead at six points.
On Lamar’s possession, the Cardinals got a big conversion on a 4th-and-5 at the 20-yard line when Marcel Johnson took an end around and picked up 15 yards down to the Cowboys’ 5. Jalen Dummett ran it in for the score on the next play and Bailey Giffen’s point after was good to give the Cardinals the win. The Cowboys got out to a quick start when on their first offensive play of the game, Mason Pierce took an end-around pitch from Cody Orgeron and sprinted down the sideline for an 80-yard score, and after Abel’s PAT, McNeese led 7-0 just 3:55 into the game. It was just the 14th touchdown rush of 80 yards or more in school history.
Lamar got on the board on its next possession following a 34-yard Giffen field goal to make it 7-3 with 6:26 to play in the first. A.J. Carter got into the big play game with a 45-yard touchdown run with 3:52 to play in the quarter but Abel’s point after missed wide right and the Cowboys led 13-3. Lamar tied things on a 13-yard pass by Dummett to Griffn Hammond then a 37-yard field goal by Giffen to make it 13-13 at the half.
Pierce opened the second half up with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown but the score was called back due to a McNeese holding penalty. The Cowboys were unable to move the ball and forced to punt it away after a three and out.
Neither team managed to put points on the board in the third quarter but in the fourth, McNeese went back ahead 20-13 after Williams found the endzone on an 11-yard run to cap a 9-play, 86-yard drive.
McNeese’s defense forced the Cardinals to punt on their next possession but the Cowboys weren’t able to respond with any points and had to punt the ball back. A critical personal foul penalty against McNeese with Lamar being held for no yards on a 3rd-and-7. That gave the Cardinals a first down instead of fourth, and four plays later, the Cardinals tied the game on fourth down, 5-yard Dummett touchdown pass to Nathan Gaskamp with 4:33 to play. Both defenses held and McNeese got the ball back with 1:46 to play on its own 29-yard line. A 29-yard pickup on the ground by Williams helped move the ball to the Lamar 30 with less than a minute to play.
Facing a 4th-and-10 and with two seconds to play, the Cowboys opted to do away with attempting a 48-yard field goal against a stiff wind and instead tried for a final heave where Orgeron’s pass was intercepted at the 2 as time ran out in regulation. Orgeron completed 10 of 17 passes for 134 yards and an interception. Pierce led the team with 80 yards rushing on his one rush. Parker added 64 yards and Carter 61. Defensively, McNeese recorded five sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. Dorion Pollard led the team with 10 tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks while Isaiah Chambers led the team with 3.5 tackles for a loss to go along with a sack.