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McNeese defensive line stands out with disruptive effort vs. LSU

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:35 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It’s not a game that the box score does justice. While McNeese’s effort vs. LSU resulted in a lopsided loss (34-7), there were some things to like from the Pokes.

McNeese always felt like it was a play away from being right back in the game for most of the contest. A big reason why was the Cowboys’ pass rush. The McNeese defense saw a nice bounce-back effort in the pass rush game with three total sacks after having none in week one.

“We put pressure on the quarterback. We put hits on the quarterback,” said McNeese head coach Frank Wilson. “I thought we were disruptive and while it didn’t result in sacks, I think you have to look beyond that because sometimes you can have coverage sacks.”

McNeese’s front four disrupted LSU’s passing game, holding the Tigers to under 200 yards passing for the first time since 2018. Tiger quarterback Max Johnson rarely looked comfortable and while his 67% completion percentage was the best of his career, his 6.0 yards per attempt was also the lowest of his four starts.

“I thought we moved [Max Johnson] off his launch point and we did that with the guys up front,” said Wilson. “They were very disruptive and harassed him. They made him move and throw throws that were not ideal when it comes to an accuracy standpoint because of that pressure up front.”

McNeese’s line was predominately responsible for the pressure as the Pokes don’t blitz more than four very often. All three sacks came from the line with defensive tackle Joey McNeely and defensive ends Earnest Grayson III and Leon Young earning the stat. Preseason All-American Isaiah Chambers was without a sack for the second game in a row, but the defensive end picked up a quarterback hit and led the team in tackles with 10.

McNeese makes another trip to Baton Rouge this weekend to face the Southern Jaguars as the Pokes face their first FCS opponent of the season. We’ll see if the defense continues the trend of getting better they’ve shown during the first two weeks of the season.

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