With the trip up to Oklahoma State now in the past, the McNeese football team took a few things away from it: a hefty 56-14 loss, a sizable pay day (in the neighborhood of $475,000), and plenty of issues that need to be worked on.
Up next for McNeese is a home game against the defending SWAC champion Alcorn State Braves on Saturday at 6 p.m. from Cowboy Stadium.
At Sterlin Gilbert's weekly press conference on Monday, the first-year head coach said that — through watching game film — he and the rest of the coaching staff were able to identify the things that went well for the Cowboys on Saturday night, as well as the things that didn't go well. Gilbert didn't identify what any of the good or bad things were, but said that they were there.
"You're just evaluating and looking for the areas that we were able to grow in and things we were able to have success doing, then go correct the mistakes that were out there, as well," Gilbert said to open up his press conference. "Ultimately, when you get in a game like that, you're just going and really honing in on the controllables."
One of the biggest positives of the game was McNeese's third quarter offensive production; the Cowboys' 225 yards in that quarter represented just over 70 percent of the team's total offensive production in the game (318 yards). But back-to-back third quarter drives ended at the Oklahoma State one-yard line with McNeese turning the ball over on downs.
The defense was able to play well very early in the game, but once Oklahoma State got comfortable, they started to roll. But senior defensive end Chris Livings did pick up his second sack of the season and the defense as a whole forced three fumbles and recovered two of them; McNeese currently leads the Football Championship Subdivision with seven recovered fumbles through its first two games.
Now McNeese moves onto an Alcorn State team with a 1-1 record, having lost its season-opener at in-state opponent Southern Mississippi 38-10 before rebounding in its home-opener with a 45-7 victory over Division III Mississippi College.
Braves' head coach Fred McNair was asked about McNeese during the SWAC's weekly teleconference on Monday morning and had good things to say.
"We started preparing for them Saturday night after the ballgame," McNair said of McNeese. "We always try to get an edge on our next opponent. I'll you one thing, they got some dudes man. The quarterback Orgeron is a tough kid. He likes to runs the ball. Defensive-wise, up front they're pretty solid. They got some dudes up front. We've got our work cut out for us this week up front."
The last time these two teams met was in 2017 when McNeese needed a 33-yard touchdown pass from James Tabary to Kent Shelby with 26 seconds remaining to defeat the host Braves 34-27.
Alcorn boasts senior running back quarterback Noah Johnson – the reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Year – as well as 2018 HBCU all-American senior running back De'Shawn Waller.
McNeese will continue preparations for Alcorn State with their first practice of the week on Tuesday afternoon.