Trying to break even, Cowboys have two games to reach .500 in SLC

Not all is lost.

For McNeese State, there are two games left to finish the college football season.

A .500 record in Southland Conference play is possible.

It’s not what the Cowboys had hoped for, but it is what they have left to play for.

“These last two games mean a lot to all of us,” said defensive back Colby Richardson. “We want to win and set the tone going into next season. It’s the first steps to next year.”

Those steps begin with the final road game of the season. The Cowboys (3-6, 2-4 SLC) travel to Houston Baptist for a 2 p.m. game today against the winless Huskies (0-9, 0-6 SLC).

“When you look at this team (HBU) they are in every game for a good long time,” said McNeese head coach Frank Wilson. “But they seem to fade. I don’t know if it’s numbers or what, but they seem to play tough for some time, especially against the better teams.”

The teams have not met since 2019 and a lot of faces have changed. The Cowboys own a 3-0 series lead and have averaged 40 points in those games.

“They can move the football and like to throw underneath,” Wilson said. “They will take their shots when they can.”

Huskies freshman quarterback Orion Olivas has completed 127 of 211 passes for 1,129 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Sophomore Tyson Thompson is Olivas’ top target with 56 catches for 556 yards and two touchdowns.

McNeese will counter with an improving defense which is tops against the run in the SLC. McNeese allows 117.7 yards a game on the ground and has a league-best 25 sacks. The Huskies run for a leagueworst 59 yards a game.

Linebacker Kordell Williams leads McNeese with 90 tackles, 21/2 sacks, two forced fumbles, a recovery and an interception. Defensive back Andre Sam has made 58 tackles and broken up seven passes. All-American Isaiah Chambers has posted 71/2 sacks and eight quarterback hurries. Jarrius Wallace and Richardson each have two interceptions.

Meanwhile, HBU allows 215.8 yards a game on the ground, worst in the conference. It is something the Cowboys say the hope to exploit despite being without Tulane transfer tailback Stephon Huderson, who will miss the game with an injury. He is sixth in the league in rushing at almost 60 yards a game.

“It is what we like to do is run the football,” said junior offensive lineman Calvin Barkat. “We have a motto of: Run the damn ball.’ It’s what all offensive linemen want to do.”

Leading the Cowboys will be quarterback Cody Orgeron, who is fourth in the conference in total offense at 217 yards a game. He has thrown for 1,648 and run for another 355.

McNeese will try to improve in the red zone where it has struggled all season to finish drives.

“We have to come away with points when we get down there,” Wilson said.

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