On a rainy night in Lake Charles, La., the McNeese State University football team let it rain on Weber State University, running away with the game 43-6.
The Wildcats got on the board first, but gave up 43 unanswered points to the Cowboys, as the defense and offense again struggled. MSU racked up more than 500 yards, holding the Wildcats to just eight completions for 85 yards receiving on the night.
The Wildcat defense made a statement early by stripping MSU quarterback Cody Stroud on the first drive of the game, which the Wildcats recovered at their own 43-yard line.
The Wildcats scored just three plays later as starting quarterback Austin Chipoletti hit wide receiver Cameron Livingston for a 48-yard touchdown down the right sideline. The Wildcats failed to convert a two-point conversion.
The Wildcat defense made another stop and, with a favorable punt, WSU was again set up with good field position.
The Wildcats again had success moving the ball, especially on the ground as Chipoletti continued to find running lanes. But the drive came to an abrupt halt as Chipoletti tried to thread the needle and MSU safety Wallace Scott picked him off. Scott proceeded to take the ball all the way back to the house for a 69-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 7-6 for MSU.
“Our consistency hurt us and we couldn’t sustain drives,” said WSU head coach Jody Sears. “McNeese State is a really good football team, but we just made too many mistakes and were not consistent.”
To begin the second quarter, the Cowboys built their lead as they drove the ball 70 yards in just four plays. The series was finished off with a 48-yard touchdown from running back Kelvin Bennett. That brought the score to 14-6.
After another good stand from the defense, the Wildcat offense had success moving the ball before Chipoletti was again picked off inside Wildcat territory.
After another Wildcat punt, MSU again had its drive cut short with another fumble, this time unforced, as Bennett was unable to handle the handoff.
The Wildcats were unable to do anything with the good field position and were forced to punt. The half ended with the score of 17-6 in favor of MSU.
The Cowboys began the second half where they left off, driving the ball 81 yards, finishing the drive with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to wideout Ernest Celestie. The extra point made the score 24-6.
After another Wildcat punt, MSU once again drove the ball seemingly at will against the Wildcat defense, finishing the drive with an 11-yard touchdown from running back Marcus Wiltz. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 30-6.
The Wildcats gave up two more scores in the fourth quarter, both on plays of 50 yards or more, bringing the score to 43-6.
“We had too many mistakes and didn’t execute,” said WSU running back Bo Bolen. “We had a good game plan coming in; we just didn’t execute when we needed to. We got things going but didn’t finish. We have to stick together as a team and get ready for conference play.”
Stroud finished 13-24 for 189 yards. Bennett finished with 122 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Bolen led the team in rushing yards with 90 and finished with 32 yards receiving yards for the Wildcats. Chipoletti went 8-27 for 85 yards. He also ran for 47 yards.
The Wildcats will return home this Saturday to take on California State University, Sacramento. The game will be at 6 p.m. in the Stewart Stadium and will be the first Big Sky Conference game of the season for WSU.