Finish what you start, Cowboys aim for winning season
At the end of each practice, as the Cowboys gather at midfield, they say one final word: finish.
It has been the theme of the season and with three games left it is all they can control.
But McNeese State hasn’t always finished strong, whether it be games or drives. At 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the Southland Conference, the Cowboys want to finish with a winning record.
“That is very important to us,” said quarterback Cody Orgeron. “McNeese has had a history of winning seasons and we don’t want to stop that streak.”
It’s been 15 seasons since McNeese suffered a losing fall record, the longest streak in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Cowboys went 3-4 in an abbreviated spring season, however.
“We have talked about finishing the year strong and what it would mean to our fans and our program,” said Cowboys head coach Frank Wilson. “We also can’t win all three games this week. We have to take it one week at a time.”
That starts with the Colonels (4-4, 3-2). In reality the game is for third place in the conference, which sure sounds better than fourth in a six-team league.
“They are a good team and we respect them, but we have to be focused on us,” Wilson said.
McNeese has won two of three since its bye week.
“We did some self-reflection at the break,” Wilson said. “We decided to do what we do best and turn it loose.”
Since then the defense has led the way, posting 17 sacks over the three games. McNeese had seven in the five games before the bye.
“We just turned those guys loose, ran the football and concentrated on ourselves,” Wilson said.
But the Cowboys will face former LSU quarterback Lindsay Scott, who is a threat both running and passing. Scott leads the Southland in rushing at 113.2 yards a game and nine touchdowns.
Scott ran for 137 yards on 28 carries in the spring when McNeese knocked off the Colonels 43-31, ending Nicholls’ playoff hopes. The Cowboys also sacked him six times.
“He is very good at both and can make big plays,” said Wilson, who recruited Scott while at LSU. “I know him very well, know what he can do. It will be a challenge.”
Orgeron had one of his best days against Nicholls, throwing for 354 yards and four touchdowns. Deonta McMahon ran for 111 yards on 10 carries.
“We had success against them so we have confidence,” Orgeron said. “We saw some things on film we think we can do, but they are a good team and we will have to play well to get the win.”
Wilson said McNeese will be missing three starters on defense as linebacker Darius Daniels and interior lineman Joey McNeely are out for the season while tackle Accord Green will miss the game.
“That is right up the middle so it will be tough,” he said. “It’s just next man up and we will see how we do.”
The Cowboys have been close in games this season but have also made too many mistakes when it mattered most.
“It is both frustrating and hopeful,” Orgeron said. “We know we are close and know what we can be. We also can see how far we have come.”