With the McNeese State Cowboys coming to Boone Pickens Stadium on Satuday as the first home opponent for the Pokes, KPLC New Director Brady Renard was gracious enough to give us some insight as someone who covers the team.
MA: Coming into Stillwater to play Oklahoma State will be a huge test for McNeese State. What did you see in the opener on Saturday that made you think they’re ready?
BR: I’m not sure this Cowboy team is capable of winning the game straight up without some help by OSU. I think this MSU team is a good FCS team, but as you know, there is a major difference between a quality Power 5 team and a quality Southland Conference team. That being said, McNeese has proven to be a tough out in these games before. Three times in the last 18 years McNeese has come with 14 points of a Power 5 opponent with the most notable coming in 2014 vs. Nebraska.
McNeese’s willingness to pound the run game and its opportunistic defense (5 turnovers in week 1) is its best chance at winning.
MA: What changes from week 1 will you be looking for?
BR: I think the penalties is the one area the Cowboys need to clean up. The Cowboys totaled 16 for 177 which is the most yardage given up in Division I football during the first week. Luckily for McNeese, that is correctable and while it didn’t keep them from winning in Week 1 — that won’t always be the case.
MA: What will you be most excited to see from each team during the game?
BR: I am interested to see this McNeese offense continue to expand. Sterlin Gilbert has come in and since played everything tight to the vest, and you can only take so much away from week one. The Pokes played a very safe game vs. Southern rushing the ball 52 times with limited success. I want to see what the offense looks like when they open it up and have to be more aggressive.
MA: With cornerback Cody Burton out for the season, what adjustments do you think they’ll make to account for his absence?
BR: This isn’t a spot McNeese is blessed with experience-wise outside of Burton and Darion Dunn. Dunn went down vs. Southern and Gilbert didn’t comment on his injury when asked during the week. Dunn is still listed as No. 1 on the depth chart so I’d expect to see him out there. As for the other side with Burton, senior corner Calum Foster is projected to slide in following a week one performance that saw him force a fumble and recover two more. Behind those two are a bunch of underclassmen that haven’t seen much playing time like freshman Anthony Johnson and sophomore Colby Richardson.
MA: Score prediction?
OSU’s rushing attack will give McNeese some troubles along with the deep shots you know Gundy will call. I think OSU covers in the game, but late MSU scores could change it.
OSU 55, MSU 10