Having a ball, Cowboys unleash frustrations on Huskies

The Cowboys found somebody to take out their frustrations of a disappointing season on Saturday in Houston.

Scoring touchdowns after all five Houston Baptist turnovers, McNeese State rolled to a 44-3 thumping of the hapless Huskies.

Hey, the Cowboys even made a field goal, their first since Week 3 against Southern University. Nolan Heitmeier turned the trick with a 23-yard boot late in the third quarter.

“That is a big deal for us,” said McNeese head coach Frank Wilson. “Maybe it’s not for all the other teams, but for us it is.”

The victory improved McNeese (4-6) to 3-4 in the Southland Conference with one game remaining.

“You saw a team with energy out there, one that was happy for each other,” Wilson said. “That is the type of culture we are trying to build.”

McNeese quarterback Cody Orgeron threw for two scores and ran for another to lead the Cowboys. He finished 19 of 37 for 205 yards in the air and had another 52 yards on nine rushes on the ground before giving way to Cade Bartlett midway through the fourth quarter.

Deonta McMahon led a run game that ran for 293 yards and gained 505 overall on 91 plays. McMahon finished with a career-high 124 yards on 23 carries, including a 15-yard scoring spring with 2.23 left in the game.

“It starts with the O-line,” McMahon said. “They got us going. They opened the holes and you always want to get in the end zone.”

McMahon’s TD came after the fourth HBU (0-10, 0-7) turnover, an interception by freshman Quad Wilson, the head coach’s son. The Cowboys finished with three interceptions, the last a Grayson Mays 46-yard pickoff returned for a touchdown with 19 seconds left.

On his score, Mays, a sophomore defensive lineman, first tipped the ball in the air before grabbing it and racing in for the first touchdown of his career.

“Being able to score off of those turnovers is what we really try to do,” Wilson said. “It is important that we take advantage of those situations. We have not been able to do it as much as we would like this season.”

After giving up a 26-yard Gino Garcia field goal midway through the first quarter, McNeese found its game thanks to its all-American defensive end. Isaiah Chambers’ strip sack at the goal line forced a loose ball and Mason Kinsey picked it up at the 2-yard line, spun to his left and walked into the end zone.

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff followed, and after Orgeron ran the ball in from the 10, McNeese was up 14-3 with 5 seconds left in the first quarter and never looked back.

“Those got us going,” Wilson said.

Orgeron threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter, the first an 18-yard strike to Walker Wood. Next, Orgeron found a streaking Cee Jay Powell with a 33-yard strike 51 seconds before halftime to make it 28-3.

Powell, has missed most of the season with leg injuries after transferring from Louisiana Tech in the hopes of opening up the McNeese offense.

“We were long overdue for a performance like this,” said Powell, who ended with four catches for 81 yards. “We had some genuine fun out there.”

The McNeese defense did, allowing 182 total yards and 7 on the ground. The Cowboys also had three sacks to go with the three interceptions, two by Chambers.

“Isaiah was phenomenal today,” Wilson said. “He dominated the line.”

Chambers had two sacks, four quarterback hurries and batted down one pass, finishing with three tackles for losses.

“We just wanted them to go out there and have fun and play with energy,” Wilson said. “We did that.”

McNeese will finish the season at home next week against Northwestern State.

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