The Wildcats had a chance to get the ball back with a minute left in Saturday’s game, however, a personal foul gave No. 22 McNeese a first down and eventually a 13-7 victory.
McNeese, the top-ranked defense in the Southland Conference, and the Wildcats battled out what was a defensive game with low scoring in the first half, and a complete shutout for both teams in the second half.
The Cowboys got on the board first with a 32-yard field goal by junior kicker Gunnar Raborn in the first quarter. The Wildcats couldn’t answer back though, and McNeese scored a 22-yard touchdown off the arm of junior quarterback James Tabary to senior wide receiver Darious Crawley making the score 10-0.
ACU answered back on their next drive, however, with a 16-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Dallas Sealey.
Raborn then closed out the scoring for the entire game kicking a 27-yard field goal five minutes before halftime, leading into the defensive slugfest in the second half.
Head coach Adam Dorrel said he was proud of his team’s efforts despite the loss.
“When you play a top 25 team like McNeese, you play that good on defense, you don’t turn the ball over offensively, obviously we had some issues offensively, but we didn’t turn the ball over so we were proud of our guys.” Dorrel said.
Individually for the Wildcats, Sealey finished the night with 114 pass yards and rushed for his team’s lone touchdown of the game. Sophomore wide receiver DeShun Qualls picked up 56 of those yards from Sealey and led the team in receiving.
Defensively, graduate student safety Erik Huhn led the team in tackles with nine, while sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Chambers and junior safety Brandon Richmond had eight.
For McNeese, Tabary led the way offensively with 175 pass yards and threw for the Cowboys only touchdown. Sophomore running back Justin Pratt was impressive out of the backfield rushing for 109 yards, while senior wide receiver Kent Shelby earned 99 receiving yards.
Dorrel said his team performed better since the last time at Wildcat stadium.
“It was a night and day difference.” Dorrel said. “The attitude and the effort was ten times better, the kids fought hard for each other, and were very positive on the sideline.”
The team will have a long road trip to Louisiana to next face Nicholls this Saturday.