Greetings, Lion fans, and in Week 6, Head Coach David Bailiff and the Lions continue in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season. Three weeks after perennial FCS power Sam Houston, and two weeks after Southeastern Louisiana, who is the preseason pick to win the Southland, the Lions go on the road for the third time in four weeks to face a McNeese State Cowboy team that is much better than their 4-7 record in 2021 would indicate. So, let us take a look at our neighbors to the east.
When: Saturday, October 15th, 7pm
Where: Cowboy Stadium, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Location: Lake Charles, La.
Enrollment: 6,456 (Fall 2021)
Distance from Commerce: 309 miles
Head Coach: Gary Goff, 1st season.
Overview: If Gary Goff sounds familiar, he should be. He comes to McNeese from Valdosta State, where he was an impressive 22-3 in two seasons (like every other Division 2 team, Valdosta’s 2020 campaign was cancelled due to the pandemic). Goff took the Blazers to the 2019 D2 National Championship game in McKinney, where they lost to Ferris State. In 2021, Valdosta again made a playoff appearance, falling in the second round to West Florida.
Goff’s previous stop was at Tiffin, which was 2-31 before his arrival, and turned around the Dragons into a respectable 38-50 in his eight seasons there.
The Cowboys, while tending to be a middle of the pack Southland team, are a much better and more talented team than their record would indicate. In 2021, the Cowboys went into Death Valley at Baton Rouge, and although losing to the Bayou Bengals, 34-7, it was anything but a blowout. McNeese had a narrow loss, 42-36, to defending D2 National Champion West Florida in the season opener. Later that same season, the Cowboys pushed Southeastern Louisiana to the limit twice, losing 23-20, and 38-35.
Any way you approach this game, the Cowboys have everything a good team needs: Size, speed, talent, and a coach that knows how to win, and has proven it.
Lion fans, no one said this was going to be easy. To quote the 16-time Pro Wrestling Champion, the Nature Boy Ric Flair:
“To be The Man, Ya gotta beat The Man.”
And the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions are certainly capable of it.