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Lamar looks forward to meaningful rivalry with McNeese State

November 13, 2018

Mike Schultz wants to bring the rivalry back to Lamar’s annual meeting with McNeese State. The second-year Cardinals coach thinks this weekend’s trip to Lake Charles provides the perfect chance to do so.

Proximity makes the two schools obvious rivals, but recent results on the field tell a different story. Lamar owns just one win over McNeese since the Cardinals program returned.

Schultz said he’s yet to see the competitiveness from Lamar against its Southland neighbors to warrant a rivalry. But with Lamar riding a five-game winning streak and in the midst of a historic turnaround, this year’s Battle of the Border figures to have a much different feel than recent meetings.

“Let’s put the rivalry back in the rivalry,” Schultz said Monday at his weekly news conference. “You’ve got win every once in a while to create a rivalry. Since we brought football back, we have beaten McNeese, it hasn’t been a lot.”

Lamar’s lone win over McNeese in this decade was a 27-24 game during the 2014 season. McNeese played that game with its fourth-string quarterback starting.

Schultz’s only contest against the Cowboys was a 13-3 loss last year in Beaumont. The Cardinals had quarterback problems of their own in that game, starting third-string senior Blake McKenzie.

At the time, Lamar was trying to pick up the pieces from what turned out to be a dismal 2-9 season. This year, Lamar enters Saturday as the hottest team in the Southland. A potential FCS playoff spot is not completely out of question.

Meanwhile, McNeese seems in a bit of a slump. The Cowboys come off back-to-back conference losses in which they were favored to win.

While neither Lamar nor McNeese is still mathematically alive for the Southland title, the winner of Saturday’s game will keep slim playoff hopes alive.

“We’re just glad that there’s a little bit at stake going into this game,” Schultz said. “Last year, we were just trying to rally the troops.”

Schultz believes a competitive rivalry between Lamar and McNeese on an annual basis would be mutually beneficial.

“That’s why you play, to be in these types of games,” Schultz said.

“I think McNeese would benefit from it, and I know we would,” he added.

Two-quarterback system

Both Jordan Hoy and Darrel Colbert Jr. played at quarterback for Lamar last week, a trend Schultz said will continue on Saturday against McNeese.

Colbert began the season as Lamar’s starter, but an ankle injury suffered against Sam Houston State sidelined the senior for three weeks. Hoy took over in his place and promptly won consecutive Southland Offensive Player of the Week awards.

Schultz said he has “no doubt” that both Hoy and Colbert will play on Saturday, although he didn’t say who will start the game.

“They’re similar quarterbacks,” Schultz said. “They’re both athletic, they both can run, and they both can throw pretty well. So they both will be in the game on Saturday.”

mfaye@beaumontenterprise.com

twitter.com/mattGfaye

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