McNeese State 2015 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

McNeese State Cowboys


McNeese State lost out on their chance to play LSU due to rain, but that didn’t damper their season. The Cowboys cruised through the Southland and looked pretty impressive in the process. There were some close calls, most notably a 15-13 win at Abilene Christian, but Coach Matt Viator’s team got the job done and the defense is strong enough to keep McNeese State in any game.

2015 Record: 10-0, 8-0
Coach: Matt Viator

Big Wins: 10/17 at Central Arkansas (28-13), 11/7 Sam Houston State (27-10)
Bad Losses: None

McNeese State boasts one of the best run defenses in the FCS. The front four spends a lot of time in the backfield, whether it is getting to the quarterback or a ball carrier. Jammerio Gross-Whitaker is the biggest threat on the line, but Cameron Smith and Isaiah Golden deserve a lot of credit for controlling the line of scrimmage as well. The stars of the defense are at linebacker though. Bo Brown and Ashari Goins know a thing or two about getting to the quarterback and Wallace Scott has a knack for making big plays. The secondary is led by Brent Spikes and Dominique Hill, although the unit as a whole is a bit susceptible to big plays. And, unfortunately, they do not make many big plays either and it is a rare occasion when McNeese State intercepts a pass.

The defense will keep McNeese State in the playoffs for a while, but eventually they will need the offense to win them a game. And that will fall on the shoulders of quarterback Daniel Sams. The senior signal caller is not the most efficient passer around though. He averages about 150 yards passing per game and completes just about half of his attempts. Most of those passes end up in the hands of Kent Shelby and Tavarious Battiste. Shelby is the big play receiver and the 6-3 sophomore can be tough to defend. Battiste has had a great redshirt freshman campaign and is emerging as a very reliable possession receiver. But Sams is about more than passing. He is also a very dangerous rushing threat. Ryan Ross is a capable back, but too often he gets bottled up and that puts a lot of pressure on Sams to carry the entire offense.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Daniel Sams, RB, 877 yards
Passing: Daniel Sams, QB, 1,441 yards
Receiving: Kent Shelby, WR, 575 yards
Tackles: Brent Spikes, DB, 58
Sacks: Bo Brown, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: 5 tied with 1

2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 223.7 (16th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 172.0 (92, 6)
Total Offense: 395.7 (54, 5)
Scoring Offense: 31.4 (29, 3)
Rushing Defense: 80.3 (2, 1)
Pass Defense: 212.1 (54, 4)
Total Defense: 292.4 (11, 1)
Scoring Defense: 10.8 (2, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.44 (32, 2)
Sacks: 2.44 (33, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (15, 2)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2013    Second Round    Lost to Jacksonville State
2009    First Round    Lost to New Hampshire
2007    First Round    Lost to Eastern Washington
2006    First Round    Lost to Montana
2003    First Round    Lost to Northern Arizona
2002    First Round    Defeated Montana State
2002    Quarterfinals    Defeated Montana
2002    Semifinals    Defeated Villanova
2002    Championship    Lost to Western Kentucky
2001    First Round    Lost to Maine
2000    First Round    Lost to Georgia Southern
1998    First Round    Lost to Massachusetts
1997    First Round    Defeated Montana
1997    Quarterfinals    Defeated Western Illinois
1997    Semifinals    Defeated Delaware
1997    Championship    Lost to Youngstown State
1995    First Round    Defeated Idaho
1995    Quarterfinals    Defeated Delaware
1995    Semifinals    Lost to Marshall
1994    First Round    Defeated Idaho
1994    Quarterfinals    Lost to Montana
1993    First Round    Defeated William & Mary
1993    Quarterfinals    Lost to Troy
1992    First Round    Defeated Idaho
1992    Quarterfinals    Lost to Northern Iowa
1991    First Round    Lost to Nevada

*all team stats through 11/14


Playoff Central