The McNeese Cowboys blew a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and suffered a heartbreaking 31-28 loss to Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
With the defeat, McNeese begins the season 0-4 for the first time since 1954.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Eastern Illinois took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter but McNeese responded as Nate Glantz threw his first touchdown of the season — a 30-yard pass to Jon McCall.
The Cowboys then took the lead with a 12-yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Durham and then extended the lead by two touchdowns after Glantz found McCall for a second touchdown — this time from 22 yards out.
After a defensive stand, McNeese got the ball back and scored yet again, this time on the ground with a 72-yard touchdown run by Coleby Hamm.
The Panthers managed to cut into the lead before halftime, but the Cowboys entered the break with a 28-14 lead.
Even though both teams could move the football, neither team scored in the third quarter but that all changed in the fourth.
Eastern Illinois began to rally with a six-yard touchdown run by MJ Flowers and then tied the game on a 19-yard run by Juwon Farri.
McNeese went three-and-out on its next possession and Eastern Illinois moved the ball down the field to set up Stone Galloway’s 56-yard field goal.
BIG NUMBER: 17
McNeese held a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but the Cowboys would be outscored by the Panthers 17-0 in the final quarter.
BIG NUMBER II: 919
McNeese and Eastern Illinois combined for 919 total offensive yards in Saturday’s contest. The Cowboys had a slight advantage by outgaining the Panthers 467-452.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: COLEBY HAMM & D’ANGELO DURHAM
McNeese’s one-two punch out of the backfield had a tremendous game as the duo combined for 221 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. Hamm needed only eight carries to accumulate 131 yards, which included a 72-yard touchdown.
UP NEXT: McNeese (0-4) returns home to Lake Charles to open up Southland Conference play against Nicholls. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.