Cardinal offense: Ward throws for 352 yards, defense does rest

Published 9:18 am Sunday, September 26, 2021

SAN ANTONIO — Cameron Ward passed for 352 yards with two touchdowns as Incarnate Word scored in all four quarters and shut out McNeese State 31-0 Saturday to open Southland Conference play.

The Cardinals (3-1), who beat the Cowboys (1-3) for a third consecutive time by a combined score of 124-37, had closed their nonconference slate last week with a 42-35 victory over Texas State, UIW’s first win against a Football Bowl Subdivision program.

It was the first time this season the Cardinals didn’t score at least 40 points.

UIW took the opening kickoff 75 yards in 12 plays to lead 7-0 when Kevin Brown ran the final 14 yards to score. Ward completed a 5-yard pass to Darion Chafion to convert a fourth-and-2 near midfield to keep the drive going.

Ce’Cori Tolds recovered a fumble on the ensuing pooch-kick kickoff and the Cardinals scored a second touchdown four plays later on a Cameron Grimes run from the 1.

Former Cowboys receiver Trevor Begue made a 56-yard catch-and-run and increased the lead to 21-0 with 2:47 to play in the first half.

The Cowboys went out in the second half with an up-tempo offense that saw them move the ball from their own 35 to the UIW 18, but a fourth-and-1 attempt fell shy of the mark and turned the ball over to the Cardinals.

UIW scored on the next possession when quarterback Cameron Ward completed an 11-yard catch and run pass to Taylor Grimes to make it a 28-0 lead.

Late in the game, UIW’s Rashon Davis intercepted McNeese quarterback Cody Ogeron to end a Cowboys threat. That snapped Orgeron’s school record streak at 203 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. UIW converted the turnover into a short field goal.

Ogeron was 22-for-36 passing for 215 yards. McNeese was limited to 75 yards rushing on 27 carries.

Mason Pierce, who returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown a week ago against Southern University, was held to 30 yards on two kickoff returns on Saturday.

It was McNeese’s first shutout loss since a 35-0 setback to Central Arkansas in 2016. The Cowboys missed a chance to avoid the shutout when Jacob Abel missed a 30-yard field goal attempt wide left.

It was the Cardinals’ first shutout since beating NAIA member Langston 24-0 on Sept. 14, 2013, a span of 85 games.

The teams will meet again on Oct. 23 in Lake Charles.