McNeese State will attempt first win at Alcorn State Saturday

Published 11:35 am Friday, September 15, 2023

The Cowboys are looking to put the lessons they have learned in the early going to good use Saturday night in Lorman, Miss.

McNeese State will attempt to win its first game in three tries when it travels to Alcorn State for a 6 p.m. battle between 0-2 teams.

It is the same scenario as last year just a different venue. Last fall the Braves sacked McNeese quarterbacks 10 times in a 30-19 win in Cowboy Stadium, the first victory for either squad.

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That was the first time in 16 games a SWAC school beat McNeese, which holds a 4-1 record over Alcorn. But there is no talk of revenge this year by the Pokes.

“We are a completely different team and so are they,” said McNeese head coach Gary Goff. “We have to worry about this team not last year.”

The Cowboys will look to get their season going in the right direction after being outscored 101-41 by Tarleton State and Florida. They have also allowed 1,114 yards while only gaining 380.

Still, Goff believes this team is ready to make a move.

“We took a step in the right direction last week, playing hard for all four quarters,” Goff said. “If we can do that we will be alright.”

The Cowboys would like to get their passing game going as their quarterbacks are a combine 25-of-55 for 255 yards and one interception. Nine sacks have helped account for some of those issues.

With Alcorn having harassed McNeese QBs last year, protection is one of the keys in this game.

“Their M.O. on defense is to pressure the quarterback,” said Goff. “They are going to try to heat you up. We have to protect the quarterback that is our first priority.”

McNeese QB Nate Glantz believes the Poke offense is ready for a breakout.

“We have been close,” Glantz said. “I have to be fast with my reads and take what the defense is giving us.”

The Braves are aware that this is a different team from last year with 57 new Cowboys on the roster.

“They have a lot of talent,” said Alcorn head coach Fred McNair. “We want to run the ball and keep it away from them. We also want to get our offense going.”

In their first two games, the Braves are averaging just 12 points and have thrown for 64 yards through the air. Alcorn plays two quarterbacks, transfer Tyler Macon from Missouri and last year’s starter Aaron Allen.

But the Braves are really going to try to run behind Macon and Jarveon Howard, a former Syracuse tailback who is on the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List.

“They are going to try to run it and we have to be ready,” said McNeese defensive back Jaylen Jackson, who had eight tackles last week against Florida.

“We have to stop their run and make them pass,” said Goff. “They want to run the clock down on offense.”

McNeese linebacker Micah Davey is likely going to have another big game. He has 25 tackles in the first two games, good for second in the Southland Conference.

Alcorn used this game last year to turn their season around while the Cowboys started 1-7. While Goff doesn’t want to put pressure on his team, he would like to see them rewarded for their work.

“Nobody wants to win more than our players and our coaches,” Goff said. “It is important that they see some good results for their efforts.”

It would also help as McNeese gets ready to start SLC play in two weeks.