Cowboys not alone in SLC success

After an exciting opening week of play for the Southland Conference, McNeese State and Houston Baptist will mark the first league game of the season on Saturday.

It marks the second consecutive season in which the Cowboys (1-0) will play in the opening SLC game, last year losing a 37-35 game at Nicholls State in the opening game of the season.

This year, McNeese will have a game under its belt before taking on the Huskies, and, barring an anomaly, it won’t have to run back and forth between Lafayette to practice due to extreme weather caused by a hurricane.

And while HBU and the Cowboys will be the lone conference game, that doesn’t mean the rest of the SLC will be taking the week off.

Coming off a week in which Nicholls beat Kansas, Southeastern Louisiana gave Louisiana-Monroe (coached by former McNeese head coach Matt Viator) a scare, and defending SLC champion Central Arkansas stayed competitive with Tulsa, the league is set for another great week of action.

Today we’re going to take a look around the league for some of the best matchups on Saturday.

Nicholls at Tulane: A week after upsetting the Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kansas, the Colonels (1-0) will look to carry that momentum into New Orleans as they try to take down another Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in the Green Wave (0-1).

Tulane forced overtime in its game against Wake Forest in Week 1, but the extra session didn’t go the Wave’s way as the Deacon Demons took a 23-17 victory back to North Carolina.

For the second consecutive year, Nicholls kicker Lorran Fonseca kicked a field goal in the final minute, this time to force overtime which ended with a touchdown run by quarterback Chase Fourcade.

Nicholls can make its mark as a SLC favorite before it even begins league play, and Tulane wants to avoid another loss before it gets to its American Athletic schedule. This should be a fun and competitive game with plenty of motivation for both sides to come away with a win.

Grambling State at Northwestern State: A battle between two programs just a short drive away from each other but who rarely see each other, this should be a fun game for a lot of reasons.

The Demons (0-1) will be playing their first Football Championship Subdivision opponent since hiring new head coach Brad Laird. They also have a couple days of preparation under their belt after losing 59-7 to Texas A&M last Thursday.

The Tigers (0-1) want to shake off a season-opening 49-17 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette before taking their bye week.

Both teams struggled moving the ball and each defense gave up a lot of points and a lot of yards. Whichever earns the win will take a lot of much-needed momentum into the remainder of the season.

Lamar at Texas Tech: This likely won’t be a close game, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be entertaining.

The Cardinals (1-0) dominated Kentucky Christian 70-7 in their first game, while the Red Raiders (0-1) lost their first game 42-27 to Ole Miss.

That didn’t keep Texas Tech from making frequent appearances on highlight reels across the country, most prominently with T.J. Vasher’s Odell Beckham, Jr.-like one-handed grab early in the game.

Expect the Red Raiders to air the ball out as they usually do while Lamar tries to control the pace in an attempt to pull off an upset.

The Cardinals racked up 409 rushing yards in the game, and they will need to have similar success in order to keep the ball out of the Red Raiders’ hands to have chance. Darrell Colbert will also have to have another solid day after completing 12 of 15 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

Of course, Kentucky Christian — a National Christian College Athletic Association member — isn’t exactly a great indicator as to whether the Cardinals will be able to have success against Texas Tech, but if they can move the ball and control the clock, they have an outside chance.

Tyler Nunez covers McNeese State athletics. Email him at””

In this file photo, McNeese State receiver Kent Shelby leaps to make the catch near the end zone against Nicholls State in the season opener on August 31, 2017. 

Abby Tabor/Special to the American Press