It’s usually a big game in the Southland Conference, and Saturday’s game between McNeese State and Central Arkansas is no exception.
The Cowboys (3-2, 2-1 SLC) try to snap a two-game road losing streak to the Bears (3-3, 2-1) starting at 3 p.m. on the purple-and-gray turf of Estes Stadium in Conway, Ark.
The game will televised locally on WBTR (Cable Ch. 19).
In other state games Saturday, Nicholls State visits Sam Houston, Tulane hosts UTEP, Grambling hosts Concordia-Selma, ULM travels to Troy and Louisiana College visits Howard Payne.
League titles in recent years for the Cowboys have run through Conway. McNeese beat Central Arkansas in 2007 and 2009 en route to winning SLC titles. UCA won meetings in 2008 and 2010 and McNeese finished second in the standings both times.
Defense could be the focal point Saturday. UCA lineman Jermayne Lett and McNeese lineman Desmund Lighten were both featured as CollegeFootballPerformance.com’s National Defensive Performers of the Week last week.
Lett had six solo tackles and three sacks last week at Nicholls in a 37-31 Bears win.
Lighten made 12 tackles during McNeese’s 21-14 loss to Texas State last week. Despite the loss, the Cowboys held Texas State to 249 total yards.
Cody Stroud leads the Cowboys offense. Stroud is 85 of 133 passing for 951 yards and five TDs.
UCA quarterback Nathan Dick has completed 108 of 160 passes for 1,330 yards and 12 TDs.
NICHOLLS STATE (1-5, 0-2 SLC) AT SAM HOUSTON STATE (5-0, 2-0): In Huntsville, Texas, the Colonels face the 10th-ranked Bearkats at Bowers Stadium at 2 p.m.
Nicholls came up a yard shy of winning last week against Central Arkansas after seeing its game-winning drive stall at the UCA 1 with seconds remaining.
Sam Houston, which beat FBS foe New Mexico earlier this season, is coming of a 45-10 thrashing of Stephen F. Austin.
The Bearkats took a 26-7 win over Nicholls last season, extending Sam Houston’s winning streak to five games in the series.
Sam Houston comes into the game with the sixth-rated rushing attack in the FCS (248.8 yards per game) and is led by running back Tim Flanders (109.2 ypg).
UTEP (2-3, 0-2 CUSA) AT TULANE (2-4, 1-1): In New Orleans, the Green Wave hosts the Miners in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.
Tulane will look to snap a three-game losing streak and bounce back from a heartbreaking 37-34 loss to Syracuse last week.
TU is averaging 359.3 yards of offense per game (123.8 rushing, 235.5 passing) while allowing opponents to tally a mark of 381.2 (168.7 rushing, 212.5 passing).
UTEP is looking to bounce back from a 49-42 loss to Houston on Sept. 29. The Miners are averaging 378.6 yards of total offense per game (123.4 rushing, 255.2 passing) while allowing opponents to post 468.6 yards per contest (201.0 rushing, 267.6 passing).