McNeese began the Sterlin Gilbert era with a 34-28 win over the Southern Jaguars Saturday evening at Cowboy Stadium in front of 20,437. While the score was close at the end, the game really wasn't that close. Southern scored two touchdowns in the final 3:41.

Mcneese took the early lead following a muffed punt by Southern. The Jags then scored twice to take a 14-7 lead one play into the second quarter. But it was the Cowboys dominating from that point on. The Pokes lead 17-14 at the half and increased that margin to 34-14 with 5:25 left in the game before the Jags scored twice at the end.

QB Cody Orgeron finished 15-22 for 149 yards passing and 33 yards rushing. He threw for two touchdowns, both to Trevor Begue. Elijah mack lead the team in rushing with 45 yards on twelve carries and a score. J'Cobi Skinner also had a touchdown run for McNeese. On defense, Sam Andre had four tackles and four assists. The Cowboys also picked up four quarterback sacks in the contest. Mcneese forced five Southern turnovers, including two muffed punts. The one problem area for the Cowboys was penalties. The Pokes were flagged sixteen times for 177 yards. Nearly every Jags scoring drive was kept alive because of a defensive penalty.

One very bright spot for the Cowboys was the kicking game. Noah Anderson hit on a pair of field goals of 29 and 37 yards and was 4-for-4 on extra points. Bailey Raborn punted six times for a 45.5 yard average. His seven kickoffs all made the end zone, 5 were touchbacks.

The Cowboys hit the road next week to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater. They will return to Cowboy Stadium in two weeks to face the defending SWAC champion Alcorn State Braves.