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McNeese Notebook: Stroud looks to put SLU game behind him

Last Modified: Thursday, November 07, 2013 9:38 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

Every quarterback has a game best left in the rearview mirror.

When Peyton Manning was at Tennessee, the Florida game held that distinction on an annual basis.

For whatever reason, Southeastern Louisiana has proven to be a bit of a personal Florida for Cody Stroud. Though he is 2-2 against the Lions — Manning famously never beat the Gators — Stroud never had one of his best statistical performances against them.

With Saturday’s game thrown in, his career totals against SLU are 55 of 112 (49.1 percent) for 573 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

He’s not sure why that’s been the case.

“No quarterback’s perfect, I know that,” Stroud said. “Drew Brees didn’t have a good game (last) Sunday. So it’s not like it’s just me. But at the same time you’ve got to strive to be great, get better and learn from it.”

Matt Viator said Stroud just didn’t look sound.

“Looking at the film, I think it started with his footwork,” Viator said. “Throughout the course of the game, his footwork was getting worse and worse. He was pressing, like we were (when) calling plays. They were bringing pressure and we had a couple of chances to hit them early in the game and get them off, but we didn’t. When you don’t, it’s a long night.”

There was a bit of a breeze Saturday night. Is it possible Stroud’s mechanics were off because he tried to compensate for the conditions?

“I don’t know,” Stroud said. “I saw there were some times where my footwork wasn’t great. But at times my footwork was fine and it was just an overthrow. It was just an off night. I don’t know how to describe it. I was pretty mad at myself after the game. But you have to move on.”

NOT SO SPECIAL: The Cowboys have rarely struggled in the kicking game this season, but nothing seemed to go well in that area against the Lions.

In addition to missing a field goal for only the second time this year, McNeese couldn’t get much going in the punt game. Jean Breaux came in averaging 39.9 yards per punt. Against SLU, the longest of his nine punts was 39 yards. He finished with a 33.8 per punt average, including a 20-yarder with the wind at his back.

Thus, McNeese’s problems on offense were only exacerbated by the inability to flip the field.

“We just never did a good job of moving to create good field position, stopping them from moving to create good field position, or kicking into good field position,” Viator said. “It seemed like we were (moving uphill) all game.”

COMMITS KEEP COMING: The Cowboys earned two more commitments from north Louisiana players this week.

Two Bastrop players, wide receiver Jamari Payne and defensive tackle Johnnie Marsaw, verbally committed to join the program next season after visiting this weekend.

Three Neville teammates made verbally committed to the program following the Sam Houston game, giving McNeese five players from two high schools.

Defensive line coach Manny Michel is listed as McNeese’s primary recruiter for north Louisiana. In addition, offensive line coach Rob Sale is a Neville graduate.

• INJURY REPORT: Running back Kelvin Bennett is questionable for this week with a hip pointer. Viator said Javaris Murray has been getting more reps in practice as McNeese’s No. 2 back.

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