Lamar Football’s season came to an end Saturday with a 41-10 loss against McNeese State in Lake Charles. This was the Cardinal’s fifth-straight loss, and their 3-8 overall record is the worst since the 2010 return of the program.
“We were going to have to play near-perfect to stay with (McNeese),” said head coach Ray Woodard. “They came out with a lot of energy. They did some really good things and we made a bunch of mistakes.”
The Cardinals finished with 229 total yards of offense on 79 plays. Freshman quarterback Adam Morse, making his third-career start was 24-of-62 for 182 passing yards and had one touchdown with two interceptions. Sophomore Zae Giles was his favorite target for 47 yards on nine receptions. Lamar saw its only first-half score come from a 37-yard Juan Carranco field goal.
McNeese took the early advantage with a touchdown from Ross Ryan in the opening drive of the first quarter, the first of 3 on the ground touchdowns in the first half.
The second was after a 94-yard drive, that led to a three-yard touchdown run by Dylan Long, to make the score 14-0 with 40 seconds left in the first.
After another LU turnover, James Tabary threw to Darious Crowley for a 19-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Cowboys squibbed a kick which landed at the Lamar 43. Morse connected with Michael Handy for a play of 28 yards. Morse eventually completed two more passes to Marcus Daggs, but was then sacked for seven yards by Chris Livings. Carranco made a 37-yard field goal to get LU on the board.
Down 28-3 at the start of the second half, Big Red was working to score, but Morse threw a pass that was intercepted by Jermaine Antwan, who hauled it in 65 yards to score, with 3:11 left in the third.
Morse’s solo touchdown of the night was a 32-yard pass to sophomore receiver Martell Hawthrone, with 13:58 left in the game. Morse was injured on the play and did not return to the field.
Without starting quarterback Carson Earp and all-conference running back Kade Harrington the Cardinals scored just three offensive touchdowns in their final three games.
In their 31-point loss sealed a ninth-place Southland Conference finish, the Cards were picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll.
By Elisabeth Tatum, contributing writer