A week after posting 500 yards of total offense and 52 points, sophomore quarterback Dallas Sealey and the Wildcats recorded just 244 total yards in the 33-14 loss to McNeese State.
McNeese scored on its first drive of the game, going seven plays and 51 yards before Justin Pratt punched it in from four yards out to take a 7-0 lead.
But the ACU defense, after allowing just 86 yards in the first half against Incarnate Word a week ago, came away with its 12th forced turnover against McNeese in the team’s last three meetings. Junior linebacker Sam Denmark recovered the fumble, setting up the offense at the McNeese 16-yard line, and Sealey found junior Troy Grant for the fifth time this season to tie the game at 7.
Sealey’s touchdown was his 17th passing touchdown of the season, as Grant would finish with five catches for 51 yards and the score.
However, the Cowboys would add a 27-yard field from Gunnar Raborn late in the first and 23 unanswered points to take a 33-7 lead with 11:30 left in the game. The score came after Sealey was intercepted on fourth-and-4 at the McNeese 33-yard line, all but sealing the victory for the Cowboys.
ACU was able to put together an eight-play, 73-yard drive capped off by a one-yard run from freshman Tracy James. The score cut the lead to 33-14, and ended McNeese’s 26-0 scoring run. James finished with 44 yards on five carries and senior Adrian Duncan added 47 yards on just three carries as the Wildcats eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the second consecutive week.
Cowboys quarterback James Tabary paced the offense with 275 yards and two touchdowns and Pratt added two more scores on eight carries for 32 yards.
Sealey finished 15-of-32 for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as he was sacked five times.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-8 overall and 1-6 in Southland competition. Meanwhile, McNeese State improves to 5-4 and 4-3 in conference, which is good enough for fifth in the conference.
ACU will look for win number two on the season, as it takes on Northwestern State next Saturday, who is winless in conference and just 1-7 overall. The game will also be the final time the Wildcats take the field at Shotwell Stadium, after calling it home for 57 seasons. McNeese heads to Huntsville to take on the conference leader in Sam Houston State.