Cowboys begin life without Burton

Week 1 is over.

Now the McNeese State football team has set its sights north to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who will host McNeese at 6 p.m. Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium.

As tough of an opponent as Southern University was, Oklahoma State promises to be a totally different beast. OSU went on the road and beat Oregon State 52-36 in its season opener on Friday.

OSU’s offense proved to be explosive, compiling 555 yards of total offense. Running back Chuba Hubbard ran for 221 yards and scored three touchdowns on 26 carries. Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders made his first college start and passed for 203 yards and three touchdowns, also rushing for 109 yards on 13 yards.

Where Oklahoma State could find its most success on Saturday might be through the air. McNeese’s pass defense gave up 239 yards and three touchdowns to the Jaguars. And OSU junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace, a 2018 Biletnikoff Award finalist, is regarded as one of the best at his position in the country. Against Oregon State, Wallace caught five passes for 92 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Making McNeese’s task even tougher will be the loss of senior cornerback Colby Burton, who was lost for the season with a lower leg injury he suffered on the first drive of the Southern game. Additionally, junior cornerback Darion Dunn — who plays opposite Burton — suffered an injury late in the game. While the injury and its severity were not made available, Dunn was dressed and participated in Tuesday’s practice.

Without Burton, and with Dunn likely being less than 100 percent, the Cowboys might turn to senior Calum Foster and sophomore Colby Richardson for more snaps against Oklahoma State.

Richardson struggled in the first half, allowing the two passing touchdowns that Southern scored in the first 30 minutes. But he rebounded, forcing and recovering a fumble by Jags quarterback Ladarius Skelton. McNeese scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Richardson said he’s glad to have a full week to prepare for what should be a raucous atmosphere in Stillwater against a tough offense.

“It’s going to be great,” Richardson said. “Its a wonderful feeling. That’s something I really wished for as a kid, is to play in that moment. “I’m going to be on my P’s and Q’s and try to play as hard as I can and try to come out of there with a (win). That’s really my biggest goal. Just play with confidence and play my game.”

McNeese at Oklahoma St. 6 p.m. Saturday

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McNeese State defensive back Andre Sam lunges to wrap up Southern University quarterback Ladarius Skelton during their season-opening game Saturday at Cowboy Stadium.

Rick Hickman