Orgeron, Chambers win weekly Southland Conference honors

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

With victory comes attention and admiration.

And the weekly Southland Conference awards.

Coming off an upset victory over No. 13 Nicholls, a pair of McNeese players earned the league’s top honors for the week.

Quarterback Cody Orgeron and defensive end Isaiah Chambers were named the Southland’s top offensive and defensive players Monday after leading the Cowboys by the Colonels. For both seniors it was the second time this spring they have been so honored.

Orgeron finished with a career-high 354 yards on 20 of 27 passing with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his second straight 300-yard game and fourth of his career.

He also became the eighth Cowboy to throw for over 4,000 yards in his career, breaking the milestone with a pass to Trevor Begue in the first quarter. His 85-yard scoring strike to Mason Pierce in the second quarter is tied for fourth longest in McNeese history.

Chambers led a defense that held the nation’s top-scoring team to 22 points under their average of 53 a game. He finished with a pair of sacks and four hurries on Nicholls QB Lindsey Scott. Chambers leads the league in sacks at 61⁄2.

The win was not a two-man show by any means. It was the best game of the spring by far, as the club continues to improve and look forward to the fall.

“Very pleased of the way our team played,” said head coach Frank Wilson. “We were fortunate to click.”

The Cowboys are still

without a full complement of running backs, but did get a pair back for the rest of the season. Deonte McMahon was able to return and he rushed for 111 yards on just 11 carries and a 75-yard touchdown behind an improving offensive line.

McNeese was able to put the same starting group back on the field the last two games, both victories.

“Our offensive line continues to improve and establish itself,” said Wilson. “They are getting healthy and learning.”

But it is the coming together of the skilled players on offense most obvious to all. No longer is Orgeron running for his life or locked on his first option. Now he is comfortable and spreading the football around.

“It takes time to build that chemistry,” said Wilson. “We are doing it on the job, in the game, in the season and that’s tough. But their hard work together is showing.”

Three different receivers had 94 yards or more in catches with big plays stretching the defense.

“We wanted to push the pace and make them defend everybody all over the field,” said Wilson.

The Cowboys are also getting their strength back. With the fall a mess, McNeese came into the spring with little time to lift weights and it showed early. But this season the Cowboys have done strength training while playing games.

“We felt like we had to do that,” said Wilson. “Our strategy has changed to gain strength during the season.”

Now will come the last but toughest game of the year, a trip to 4-0 and No. 5 Sam Houston Saturday. It will be the final exam of the spring semester for McNeese.

“They are a very talented team,” said Wilson.

The Bearkats sit between a winning spring and a losing record, though that seems unimportant when you look at the big picture. This is more about the status and improvement of the 3-3 Cowboys.

“I like the progress we are making,” said Wilson.

And with the awards coming others are taking notice as well.””

McNeese State’s Isaiah Chambers goes in for a sack on Nicholls 0 during their game at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, La., Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman / American Press

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