Jim Gazzolo column: Cowboys their own worst enemy

If it is truly darkest before the dawn then light must be coming soon to McNeese.

For it is clearly dark right now.

Even the new lighting system inside Cowboy Stadium can not brighten up the start of this season.

While there have been flashes of better things to come, like a few more big plays Saturday night against Alcorn State, the concerns continue to grow.

Everybody understood the rebuilding process was going to be a long, hard road, but this long and this hard is something else.

At least you can’t say you weren’t warned.

For the third straight week the Cowboys stumbled their way to defeat, falling to the Braves 30-19. Some of the mistakes were the same, sacks (10), turnovers (3) and blown opportunities to make plays that were there to be made.

Then Saturday there was a new villain — penalties.

After being flagged just four times in the first two games against superior talent, the Cowboys doubled that combine total. The 90 yards was almost double of that the first two games as well.

Four times McNeese was called for pass interference and had a 59-yard TD called back for holding. The first play from scrimmage on offense was a long run called back.

All the miscues have to an 0-3 start for the Cowboys, the first time they have done that since 1975. For those in search of a silver lining, the Pokes rallied to finish 7-4 that season.

So you are saying there’s a chance…

Don’t get too excited yet, Gerald Ford was president back then so it was a long time ago.

While this is hard for fans to swallow because there was hope of a quick turnaround, what we are watching isn’t the rebuild yet but rather the final pieces of a teardown that started long ago.

And it clearly isn’t pretty.

Ten turnovers in three games is bad, 20 sacks is bad, but this team continues to kill itself which is discouraging.

“Obviously, self-inflicted wounds yet again,” said head coach Gary Goff. “Just not executing like we have to. There are no moral victories.

“Yes there were some flashes here and there but overall we have to play complementary football.”

It isn’t that McNeese is playing terrible football but rather the Cowboys’ moments of good are far outweighed by their moments of bad. It has led to stretches of troubles that have left them buried.

And a lot of it they are doing to themselves.

The dark days that started back in 2016 have now turned into a total eclipse. What Poke fans need now is to see some sunlight, and they would like to see it sooner rather than later.

Now that the lights are back on maybe the dark days will finally come to an end.

However, that won’t happen until the Pokes stopping being their own worst enemies.

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers. McNeese State athletics for the American Press. Email him at jimgazzolo@yahoo.com

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