Secondary big reason for Cowboys' resurgence

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

Despite a pair of key injuries, McNeese

State’s secondary has been one of the primary reasons for the Cowboys’

mid-year resurgence.

Playing without senior safeties Malcolm Bronson and Ford Smesny, McNeese has picked off six passes in its wins over Stephen

F. Austin and Nicholls State. Five different players have made those interceptions, including linebacker Bo Brown.

“Defensively we’ve bent a little bit, but we made really big plays,” said coach Matt Viator.

The new main man in the middle of the defensive backfield is junior Terence Cahee of Westlake.

Cahee picked up his second Southland

Conference defensive player of the week honor this season for his 10

tackles and interception

against the Colonels. One of those tackles was a highlight-reel

variety smashing of Nicholls backup quarterback Beaux Hebert

on a scramble up the middle of the field.

“It’s phenomenal what he’s done, and

thank goodness he has because of the injuries we’ve had back there,”

said Viator. “He’s

continued to stay on special teams. In terms of him tackling, pass

defending, he’s kind of been the guy that has taken Malcolm’s

spot since he’s lining them up and is kind of the emotional guy

back there.”

Cahee is McNeese’s leader with 83 tackles and 11 passes broken up. But he’s also become a leader in the locker room.

“He’s extremely competitive. To me that’s his best quality,” Viator said. “When things weren’t going well, he didn’t mind

speaking up a little bit, which I like.”

Cahee is not the only one stepping up. He said senior Chris Raggett brings valuable veteran experience to the table.

“He’s a pretty good player, and he’s stepped in for Ford,” Cahee said. “I think he picked up pretty well and will continue

to.”

Young guys are chipping in too.

Ryan Bronson has grown more comfortable filling his older brother’s shoes as the season has progressed. With an interception

in each of the last two games, he’s now tied with Guy Morgan for the team lead (3).

“I’ve definitely had more snaps now than when I started,” Ryan said. “But we’re just all working together back there. We all

complement each other.”

If McNeese wants to keep its playoff

hopes alive at Texas-San Antonio this weekend, the secondary may have to

make big plays

against a team not prone to mistakes. Roadrunners quarterback Eric

Soza has only thrown one interception this season, which

gives this ball-hawking group one of its biggest challenges.

“We’ve got to make the most of our opportunities,” said senior Seth Thomas. “When the ball is in the air, we have to go get

it. We’re going to have opportunities. We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been doing.”