Last Modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 2:21 PM
Whether it’s checkers or a game of H-O-R-S-E in the park, few things can duplicate the sensation of beating your dad at something.
And while that isn’t the literal scenario facing McNeese State’s defense this Saturday, the Cowboys seniors are certainly looking forward to proving themselves against the man who raised them in a football sense.
Former McNeese defensive coordinator Mike Collins is returning to Cowboy Stadium for the first time since leaving this summer to take the same job at Sam Houston.
“We came in as young pups and he worked us up,” said senior cornerback Guy Morgan. “When I see him on the other sideline, it will give me a little extra juice to get it done.”
Safety Terence Cahee said no one has any gripe against Collins on a personal level. But they do want to beat him.
“Me and Coach Collins have a good relationship,” Cahee said. “But we’re the same in the aspect we both want to win no matter what we’re doing. He’s a great competitor and I’m a great competitor. I can’t wait to see him on the other sideline Saturday.”
Specifically, defensive end Chris Loveless wants to see Collins with a frown on his face.
“I respect him to the fullest. He’s a great coach,” Loveless said. “But at the same time he’s on the other team now. He’s the enemy. I wouldn’t mind coming out here and making him look bad. But afterwards I’m still going to walk up and shake his hand, because I still have my respect for him.”
• RUNNING MEN: Saturday’s game doesn’t just feature the top two teams in the Southland Conference, but the top two running backs.
Sam Houston State running back Timothy Flanders became the all-time leading rusher in Southland history this season. He leads the league and is third in the nation with 141.5 yards per game.
“He has great vision,” Cahee said. “That’s what really makes him a running back. His hole will be covered up and he’ll bounce it out.”
Second is McNeese senior Marcus Wiltz, who is 15th in the country with an average of 112.3 yards per game.
Wiltz is utilized slightly more in the passing game, averaging 20 receiving yards each game to Flanders’ 7.
Wiltz said he respects Flanders, but thinks he belongs in the same conversation when discussing the conference’s best backs.
“I see myself as one of the top running backs in the FCS,” Wiltz said. “I’ve battled injuries the past couple years so I haven’t been able to do things Flanders has been able to do being healthy. But whenever his name comes up, mine is right behind him. So far I’m doing a great job and he’s doing a great job. But I feel like if you mention his name, you have to mention mine right behind it.”
Wiltz needs 47 rushing yards Saturday to become the 13th player in school history to reach the 2,000 career-yard mark.
• HOMECOMING: This is McNeese’s 70th homecoming. The Cowboys are 49-19-1 in those games all-time.
• TOP TWO: The Bearkats are the seventh top-two team to visit Cowboy Stadium in its history. McNeese is 3-3 against the others (3-1 in the regular season). No. 1 Georgia Southern was the last top-two team to visit, losing 34-15 to the No. 2 Cowboys in 2003.
• TOP 10: McNeese is 0-4 against top-10 ranked opponents in Matt Viator’s tenure, with the most recent loss coming to No. 5 Northern Iowa on Sept. 28. Viator is 4-4 against teams ranked 11th-25th.
• SCHOOL RECORD: A nugget lost in the euphoria of McNeese’s 59-28 win at Central Arkansas was the fact the Cowboys committed no penalties, which, much like a 99-yard pass, is a record that can’t be broken.