UWF Football Gets Season Opening D1 Win over McNeese State (With Photo Gallery)

September 5, 2021

Austin Reed threw for 380 yards and the Argonaut offensive and defensive lines were as battle-tested in the trenches as ever before to lift top-ranked UWF past Division I FCS McNeese State, 42-36, at a sweltering Cowboy Stadium Saturday in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

UWF (1-0) won its season opener for the fourth time in five seasons and improved to 2-0 against Division I programs. McNeese (0-1) lost for the first time in seven seasons when opening up at home and dropped its first game to a non-Division I opponent for the first time in its last 22 meetings dating back to 1990.

For a photo gallery, click or tap here.

The game was played in temperatures in the low 90s with heat index of low 100s.

The Argos finished with 466 yards of total offense on 56 plays for a school-record 8.3 yards per play. The previous mark was 8.2 ypp against West Alabama in 2019.

Reed completed 19-of-36 passes to seven players and four touchdowns. His 380 passing yards are tied for the sixth-most in program history.

His favorite target was junior David Durden, who totaled 172 yards on six catches, which included a 44-yard scoring strike that got the Argos on the board and a 74-yard play that marked the second-longest play from scrimmage in UWF annals. His 28.67 yards per reception average ranks sixth at UWF. Durden also took a direct snap and scored on a 6-yard run that put UWF ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter as they never trailed the rest of the contest.

But it was still a back-and-forth game with each team answering the other drive after drive.

Cody Orgeron tossed the first of his two passing TDs but the Cowboys missed the first of three extra points to keep UWF ahead at 14-13.

UWF scored on its third-consecutive possession midway through the second quarter when Reed found senior Ka’Ron Ashley on a 26-yard hookup. After the Argos missed a field goal, the Cowboys got one of their own to pull within 21-16 going in to halftime.

The teams each had a non-scoring possession to start the third before UWF extended the lead to 28-16 on a Reed to senior Rodney Coates 4-yard pass. Orgeron scored on a fourth down run from the one to answer the Argo score.

The teams had two touchdowns apiece in the fourth quarter. The running game came alive on each drive for UWF, with sophomore Shomari Mason scoring on a 17-yard rush to stretch the margin to 35-22. After a Cowboy score, it was sophomore Ra’veon Hargove’s turn to stuff the stat sheet. He opened the Argonauts’ final scoring drive with a 22-yard run and ended it with a 9-yard catch out of the backfield for a 42-28 lead.

McNeese scored with 2:44 left and got within six points after a 2-point conversion but was unable to execute the onside kick. UWF rushed three times for a first down and was able to take a knee for the victory.

Four of UWF’s six scoring drives were at least 75 yards long and four were between four and six plays long.

Orgeron threw for a career-high 367 yards on 31-of-47 with two touchdowns.

UWF sacked Orgeron four times and hurried him four times. Senior safety D’Anthony Bell led the Argos with six tackles, one for a loss and two pass break-ups. Grad transfer Stephon Williams had five stops, a hurry and a tackle for loss in his first game at UWF.

UWF will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 11 when it plays host to Southwest Baptist (0-1) at Pen Air Field on-campus. The game will kickoff at 6 p.m. and be the first on-campus game in UWF history.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Photos: Morgan Givens/UWF for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


3 Responses to “UWF Football Gets Season Opening D1 Win over McNeese State (With Photo Gallery)”

  1. Lew Rusinko on September 5th, 2021 12:00 pm

    I graduated UWF 12/70. Have waited 46 years for UWF football. So proud of our DIi National Champions.

  2. Vicki Pulse on September 5th, 2021 10:01 am

    Coach Shinnick and staff did a superb job in some really tough conditions !!
    I watched the game on line and was so proud of this team!

  3. NPC on September 5th, 2021 8:17 am

    What a wonderful addition to our area. Sports teams are always an economic boost and we have national champions with the Pensacola Ice Flyers and UWF Argonauts.

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