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Defense shines in Cowboys' first fall scrimmage

Last Modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 10:51 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

The defense has not rested its case for McNeese State.

The Cowboys’ defenders were the undisputed stars of the show throughout Saturday evening’s scrimmage at Cowboy Stadium, not allowing a touchdown until the No. 1 offense’s final possession of the 100-play scrimmage.

“Our defense looked really good. We ran around and did some things,” said head coach Matt Viator. “Offensively we did good at times, but we just had so many negative plays. Fumbled snaps. A variety of things. On offense you have to be a lot more consistent than that to sustain.”

The lone touchdown came courtesy of running back Marcus Wiltz, who barreled in from a yard out to cap off a 25-yard drive.

“Any time we’re inside the 20 and see the blue (end zone), we tell each other ‘Let’s finish this drive,’” Wiltz said. “We’ll keep the momentum going forward, subtract the negative plays, and get into the end zone.”

From a defensive perspective, even that was too much.

“We’re kind of mad they got that one touchdown,” said defensive end Everett Ellefsen. “But it’s not that big a deal … (today) was definitely a testament to our work. Coach (Lance) Guidry emphasizes our hustle to the ball on every play.

“I can’t think of one time I was out there that I was tired. This is the first time we’ve ever had a camp where I wasn’t tired after the first scrimmage. We did a lot of work in the summer and in camp.”

The biggest highlight of the scoring drive was a bone-rattling block by 6-foot-5 tight end Nic Jacobs, who laid out a defender to spring receiver David Bush for a 16-yard gain on a catch from starting quarterback Cody Stroud.

“I didn’t see it, but I heard it,” Wiltz said of Jacobs’ block. “I’ll get to see it on film (Sunday), though.”

Most of the big licks came from the defense, though. The most unexpected hit was delivered far from the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Kevin Dorn as he took down receiver Kent Shelby forcefully in the flat.

The defense was also opportunistic, forcing three interceptions and a fumble to go with 6.5 sacks.

The No. 1 defense was responsible for one of those turnovers as cornerback Guy Morgan picked off an overthrown Will Briscoe pass. It was Briscoe’s lone snap working with the first unit. He was forced to throw early due to a blitzing defensive back.

The offense moved the ball effectively but could not punch it in until Wiltz’s score. The No. 1 unit moved from midfield to the 5 on its best drive before the defense stiffened to force a 23-yard field goal.

“We only finished one drive off, and we have to improve in that department,” said Stroud, who was 10 of 18 for 108 yards and no interceptions. “We also had some turnovers. But (we did) good things, overall.”

Ryan Rome was 2-for-4 and Jean Breaux was 1-for-2 on field goal attempts.

McNeese will play its second and final scrimmage of August camp on Wednesday night.

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