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.