LAKE CHARLES - McNeese State snapped a four-game losing streak with a 26-17 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday in a rare afternoon game at Cowboy Stadium.
In only the 10th game played in the afternoon in Cowboy Stadium since it was constructed in 1965, the Cowboys got a pair of touchdown runs from tailback Andre Anderson, a touchdown pass from quarterback Cody Stroud to tight end Kegan Myers, a field goal from former Denham Springs player Josh Lewis and a safety from defensive end Everett Ellefsen to lift their record to 4-5 overall and to 3-3 in Southland Conference play.
Nicholls (1-8, 0-5) increased its losing streak to eight games.
“It’s good to get the win,” Cowboy coach Matt Viator said in a university release. “I think that our players really gutted it out.”
Anderson, who ran for 171 yards against Nicholls in last year’s victory, was the Cowboys’ leading rusher on Saturday with 57 yards on 15 carries. He scored on runs of 4 yards - for the game’s first touchdown - and 3 yards.
The Cowboys totaled 156 yards rushing as Darius Carey picked up 42 yards, Champlain Babin ran for 25 and quarterback Cody Stroud had 22.
Stroud also completed 13 of 23 passes for 127 yards with a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Kegan Myers.
Lewis booted a 42-yard field goal, and Everett Ellefsen tackled Nicholls quarterback LaQuintin Caston in the end zone for a safety in the final minutes of the contest.
Nicholls got a 39-yard field goal by Andrew Dolan, a 1-yard run by Caston and a 10-yard pass from Caston to Demon Bolt.
Caston led the Nicholls rushing attack with 94 yards and completed 14 of 21 passes for 92 yards.
McNeese held leads of 7-3 at the end of the first quarter and 24-10 at the end of three quarters after putting up 17 points in the third period.
Nicholls led 10-7 at the half, but two turnovers in the second half led to 10 points for McNeese State.
“We had a very clean first half. We took care of the football, put together some good drives and gave McNeese a short field,” Nicholls coach Charlie Stubbs said in a university release. “We tried to stretch the field in the second half, but they made a great play to come up with the interception. We need to try to make those types of plays on offense if we want to win games.”
After the break, Anderson scored his second TD of the game to put McNeese up, 14-10. Nicholls turned the ball over for the first time after the Cowboys recovered a fumbled option pitch at the Nicholls 32. Nicholls held McNeese to Lewis’ 42-yard field goal, making the score 17-10.
Nicholls tried to stretch the field on their next drive, but a deep pass by Caston was intercepted and returned to midfield. McNeese capitalized, scoring on the 4-yard pass from Cody Stroud Myers to push the lead to 24-10 in the third.
Siegan Vergenal led the Colonels with nine tackles (three solo). Bobby Felder, Edet Udoh, Mike Walker, Rashar Knight and Darrell Brown finished with six each.