McNeese State 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

McNeese State Cowboys


McNeese State has an interesting playoff history. During their last four appearances, spanning from 2003 to 2009, the Cowboys have failed to win a game. In 2002, McNeese State made a nice run to the championship game where they lost to Western Kentucky. Five years earlier, with a few more first round losses in-between, the Cowboys were again in the finals. The program has been boom or bust during their recent playoff appearances and this group has more boom potential than bust. Coach Matt Viator has had some great wins this year, most notably against AAC member South Florida and recent Southland dominator Sam Houston State.

2013 Record: 10-2, 6-1
Coach: Matt Viator

Big Wins: 8/31 at South Florida (53-21), 10/19 Sam Houston State (31-23)
Bad Losses: 9/28 at Northern Iowa (6-41), 11/2 Southeastern Louisiana (7-41)

There are not many more efficient offenses than the one at McNeese State. Quarterback Cody Stroud has thrown 27 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. Receivers Diontae Spencer, Ernest Celestie and Nic Jacobs are all proven pass catchers who help make Stroud look even better. But this is not a pass happy offense. Coach Viator wants balance and he gets it from running back Marcus Wiltz. The senior averages over 100 yards per contest and is capable of taking over a game. Wiltz is a great talent and the Cowboys main rusher, but he rarely tallies over 20 carries a game. Kelvin Bennett and touchdown vulture fullback Dylan Long have successfully supplemented Wiltz’s carries.

Statistically, the defense has plenty of room to improve. The unit allows over 410 yards per game and there have been some very close calls this season. Most notable is against West Alabama when the Cowboys defense allowed 42 points and 565 yards of offense. Turnovers and a late touchdown by Stroud to Spencer saved McNeese State from a shocking upset. Other not so strong teams like Nicholls State and Stephen F. Austin dropped at least 30 points on the defense. Yet, oddly enough, the only two times this team lost this year it did not have everything to do with the defense. Against Northern Iowa and Southeastern Louisiana the defense did allow 41 points in each contest, but the offense was absolutely shut down and mustered just a mere touchdown in each blowout loss. Against the quality teams McNeese State will run into during the playoffs, the offense cannot afford to commit turnovers or fail to move the chains like they did against UNI and Southeastern Louisiana. The defense is not going to make up the difference.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Marcus Wiltz, RB, 1,261 yards
Passing: Cody Stroud, QB, 2,680 yards
Receiving: Diontae Spencer, WR, 739 yards
Tackles: Aaron Sam, CB, 79
Sacks: Bo Brown, LB, 5.0; Everett Ellefsen, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Guy Morgan, CB, 4

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 214.3 (21st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 247.4 (32, 4)
Total Offense: 461.6 (14, 3)
Scoring Offense: 42.5 (4, 1)
Rushing Defense: 167.5 (63, 5)
Pass Defense: 246.2 (95, 6)
Total Defense: 413.6 (81, 5)
Scoring Defense: 27.4 (73, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.5 (27, 3)
Sacks: 1.64 (86, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.27 (24, 4)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
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 11/16


Playoff Central