This Saturday, the McNeese State Cowboys will travel to Hammond for a matchup with the SLU Lions. McNeese enters Saturday’s game coming off an unscheduled bye, as Northwestern State decided to cancel the game and the rest of their season in honor of Ronnie Caldwell. With their actual bye week occurring two weeks prior, McNeese has only played one game since October 7th, and sits at 0-7. Meanwhile, SLU is coming off their actual bye week, sitting at 1-7, and looking for their first home win of the season.
McNeese doesn’t have a clear starter at quarterback for this game. Nate Glantz, an Iowa State transfer, started the first six games and put up some questionable numbers, completing 49% of passes for 861 yards, and just 3 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. Against Incarnate Word on October 21st, McNeese trotted out backup quarterback Ryan Roberts, who threw for a team-high 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with just one interception. There was no prior warning that Glantz wouldn’t start beforehand, so it’ll be interesting, and a surprise, to see who the Cowboys start in this game.
Leading the way on the ground for McNeese is D’Angelo Durham, who has tallied 370 yards on 74 carries with two touchdowns so far in 2023. In their most recent game, however, Joshon Barbie, carried the ball the bulk of the time. Having only touched the ball twice all season prior, Barbie took 22 carries for 117 yards, a 5.6 ypc average, and a touchdown. It won’t be surprising if the coaching staff plays the hot hand. Barbie and Dunham are both averaging over 5 ypc, so shutting down the running attack McNeese features should be priority one for this Lions defense.
Only two Cowboys have caught double-digit passes, those being Jon McCall and Makhi Paris, with 23 and 22, respectively. McCall has totaled 383 receiving yards on the year, around 40% of what this offense has put up. More impressively, though, is that McCall has caught every single passing touchdown this offense has seen in 2023, which is 5. Paris has 275 yards, and nobody else on the roster has over 81.
The leader of this defense is Micah Davey, who has 93 tackles, 43 more than second-place on the team, who is Boogsie Silvera. This is not a defense that has generated a ton of pressure and a decent amount of turnovers, only recording 6 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles.
For SLU, expect much of the same in terms of gameplan and who receives playing time. Two weeks ago, it was Zachary Clement under center the majority of the time, as Eli Sawyer recovered from an injury sustained the week prior. With Sawyer having an additional 2.5 weeks to recover, it’s unclear regarding which quarterback will play more this Saturday.
The game will kick off at 3 PM CT, and be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Southeastern Sports Radio Network.