'Jacks Host McNeese State Saturday
Nov. 9, 2004
UNUSUAL TERRITORY: Saturday's SFA -McNeese State match-up could be unusual for a number of reasons. Both teams enter Saturday's regionally televised game in unfamiliar territory - no title hopes or playoff aspirations on the line and still in search of a conference win following three weeks of conference play. The 'Jacks need to 'Cowboy Up' and post a win in one of the final two games of the year to post a school record sixth straight winning season. After a 4-0 start propelled SFA to a number five national ranking, the Lumberjacks have lost four of its last five games and need wins in its final two games to match last season's 7-4 mark. McNeese State enters Saturday's game having won only one of its last six games, but lost a shootout to conference leading Sam Houston this past Saturday, 52-47. The Cowboys led until the 10:39 mark of the fourth quarter when the Bearkats scored to take a 45-41 lead. This marks the first time since 1999 that at least one of the two teams will not the game ranked among the top-25 in the nation. SFA fell from the top-25 poll following last week's loss to Nicholls State.
vs McNEESE STATE: This will be the 24th meeting between the two teams with McNeese State holding a 12-9-2 edge in the overall series. In recent years, the series has been very even with each team winning four of the last eight games played. Since 1995, the two teams have also split four games played in Nacogdoches.
1995 McNeese St. 34 SFA 16
1997 SFA 13 McNeese St. 7
1999 SFA 40 McNeese St. 14
2002 McNeese St. 42 SFA 13
THE OPPONENT: McNeese State enters this afternoon's game at 3-6 overall and 0-3 in Southland Conference play. Following four straight years in which the Cowboys have won at least eight games and three straight SLC titles, the Cowboys have slipped this year under the guidance of Tommy Tate. McNeese State has won one of its last six games, a 30-27 come-from-behind win over Florida International three weeks ago. The Cowboys are 2-3 on the road in 2004. The Cowboys enter the game with the SLC's sixth ranked scoring defense, allowing 39.9 points per game. McNeese State has given up 50 or more points in four games (all losses) this season.
THE COACHES: SFA is coached by Mike Santiago (Southern Utah, 1977) now in his sixth season at SFA. Santiago has posted a 38-26 record as a college head coach, all with SFA. In his first season, he led the Lumberjacks to a share of the Southland title (1999). The 'Jacks have won at least six games each season under Santiago and a winning record in 2004 will mark the longest such streak in SFA history. McNeese State is coached by Tommy Tate (42-18) in his fifth season as the head coach of the Cowboys. Tate has led McNeese State to three straight SLC titles and four straight NCAA playoff appearances. Tate was also the Eddie Robinson Award winner in 2002. ™