McNeese State senior receiver Ernest Celestie’s health has been a touch-and-go matter all season, though last week marked the first time it forced him to miss a significant amount of game time. He did not play after the first quarter against Northwestern State.
Celestie has played the whole year on a fractured foot, but has been able to make it on the field after missing most of the week’s practices.
But even when he plays, he doesn’t necessarily play all that much. Cowboys head coach Matt Viator said Celestie averages between 20-25 snaps a game, which one wouldn’t necessarily infer from a player who is second on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns.
That means a lot of snaps in the slot for backup David Bush, who flew under the radar until he grabbed three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown on McNeese’s 2-minute drive to close the first half.
With Celestie questionable for the regular-season finale at Lamar, Bush will be called on again this week. The transfer from Texas Christian is ready.
“I love playing in this role,” Bush said. “Ernest and Tiger (Diontae Spencer) have been like big brothers to me as I’ve learned the offense.”
• OTHER INJURIES: Backup quarterback Tyler Bolfing missed the first two practices of the week but was back in uniform Thursday. He is expected to play, Viator said.
Viator said Will Briscoe would have taken Bolfing’s place on the first drive of the second quarter if the sophomore was unable to go.
Buck safety Aaron Sam has practiced all week after being helped off the field late in the second half against Northwestern State.
• ODD COINCIDENCE: Running back Kelvin Bennett’s top performances have come against teams that primarily run odd-man defensive fronts.
Bennett had 115 yards against Northwestern State last week,169 against Nicholls State and 122 against Weber State.
Is Bennett’s quickness better suited to hit holes against the wider gaps created with three down linemen?
“I think it’s a coincidence more than anything else,” Viator said. “He certainly looked good the other night. I think when he’s in there he gives us something extra to go along with Marcus (Wiltz) and Dylan (Long). He gives us a chance to hit the big home-run plays.”
Lamar runs sets with both three and four down linemen.
Bennett hit the longest “home run” in McNeese history against the Cardinals last year with a 93-yard touchdown run.
• DORN FAN: One player who caught the eye of Lamar head coach Ray Woodard while breaking down tape of the Cowboys was defensive tackle Kevin Dorn.
It’s easy to see why Dorn would stick out — last week he tracked down a running back 19 yards downfield to make a tackle.
“Having played that position, that’s where I gravitate,” Woodard said. “He has a tremendous motor. He can stop the run. He gets after the passer. He gets stronger as game goes on. He’s the kind of guy I’d like to have on my team.”
Dorn is the leading tackler among McNeese defensive linemen with 45.
• RECORDS WATCH: Cody Stroud is two touchdown passes shy of Kerry Joseph’s single-season school mark of 27 set in 1995, and 20 completions behind Derrick Fourroux’s career mark of 618. … The Cowboys are 11 points away from the record of 478 set in 2002. … Diontae Spencer needs eight catches to become the ninth Cowboys receiver with 100 career receptions. Jermaine Martin is the all-time leader with 160.