Cowboys get their sweet revenge

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The No. 16 McNeese State football team may have had to wait an extra hour, but it finally got its revenge on No. 14 Nicholls State with a 20-10 victory Saturday night in its home opener.

And the Cowboys wasted no time getting started.

After a lightning delay pushed kickoff back 67 minutes, the Cowboys (3-0, 2-0 Southland Conference) scored 10 seconds into the game despite deferring after winning the coin flip.

Blake Yorloff forced returner Nicholls returner Stefano Guarisco to fumble, allowing linebacker B.J. Blunt to jump on it on the Nicholls 16-yard line.

“The kickoff team went down there and really set the tone for the rest of the night,” said McNeese head coach Lance Guidry. “We were going to be the most physical team. We scored on the very next play and the whole team fed off that.”

One play later, quarterback James Tabary found tight end Lawayne Ross for a touchdown pass to get the Cowboys on the board.

“(Offensive coordinator Landon) Hoefer came up to me and said, ‘Let’s score,’” Tabary said. “We called the play we’ve been working on in the red zone against the scout team all week. It was there like we expected it to be.”

McNeese’s defense kept the Colonels off the board for the entirety of the first quarter, allowing the Cowboys to extend their lead early in the second quarter on a perfect 11-yard scoring pass from Tabary to receiver Cyron Sutton.

“We worked on that play all weekend in practice, and it was a great look,” Sutton said. “I saw man, and I knew he couldn’t guard me.”

That’s all the Cowboys needed as Nicholls didn’t reach the end zone until an inconsequential 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Fourcade to receiver Dai’Jean Dixon.

MORE INSIDE
Game report, B4

Tabary completed 14 of 19 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

In somewhat of a reversal of last season’s results, the Colonels outgained McNeese 362-280.

Fourcade completed 22 of 41 passes for 257 yards and Nicholls ran the ball 32 times for 105 yards.

Many of Fourcade’s passes went deep, seemingly in an attempt to take advantage of McNeese’s secondary.

“They didn’t give up,” Guidry said of the secondary. “We work a lot of drills to where if you get beat not looking back and play through the guy’s hands. Colby Burton knocked one out in the end zone and Darion Dunn was beat on a play and he ended up going back there and knocking it out. If you go to the end of the play, you have a chance.”

Guidry said the Cowboys had something to prove.

Despite spending the week trying to temper talk that the Cowboys had an extra chip on their shoulder, he cited preseason awards as a primary motivating factor in the way McNeese played Saturday night.

“We had one (defensive) guy on the preseason all-SLC teams and Nicholls had six,” Guidry said. “Our guys took it offensively. They really did. The other coaches think so little of them … our players play the game. They took it personally.

“I just thought it was a great team win. We were more physical than them and we had more passion. We outplayed them.”

Still, Guidry said Nicholls was just the start. He said he doesn’t plan on giving his team too much credit for beating Nicholls. They have bigger fish to fry.

“We need to beat Nicholls State,” Guidry said. “We’re McNeese. That’s the way we feel. That’s why guys come here. They come here to McNeese over Nicholls. … Nicholls is not our measuring stick.”

The Cowboys will visit Brigham Young next week. The Cougars upset No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21 on Saturday.

McNeese 20 | Nicholls State 10

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