LAKE CHARLES - To put it mildly, McNeese State’s performance following its bye week last season was lackluster.

With a week to lick their wounds after a 50-6 loss at Missouri, the Cowboys responded by getting thumped 40-14 at home by Cal Poly.

McNeese is hoping for a different result following this year’s bye in the home opener with Division II Sioux Falls.

“We’ve got a lot of questions,” coach Matt Viator said. “We’re obviously concerned about Sioux Falls, but I’m also concerned about us. We’ve predominantly been a good team out of open weeks, but last year we were a horrible team. We have to turn that too.”

In the eyes of many players, this feels different than coming off a normal bye week because it was so early on the schedule.

“It’s almost like (the season) hasn’t started yet,” said junior safety Ford Smesny. “We’re in full anticipation to play this home opener.”

History is on McNeese’s side in home openers. The Cowboys haven’t lost one since losing to Northern Iowa in 1999.

Despite losses to Washburn (33-17) and Northwest Missouri (52-17), Viator said it is clear on tape Sioux Falls is a disciplined team.

“They are very fundamentally sound,” Viator said. “What they do, they do very well.”