LSU football vs McNeese State: Scouting report, prediction as Ed Orgeron faces son Cody

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE — LSU football plays its home opener against in-state opponent McNeese State on Saturday (7 p.m., SEC Network+) in Tiger Stadium after losing its opener at UCLA last week, 38-27. McNeese State lost its opener to West Florida, 42-36.

For the first time since the 2019 season and before COVID-19 restrictions, a capacity crowd of 102,321 will be allowed. 

The Cowboys are coached by Frank Wilson, a New Orleans native who was LSU's recruiting coordinator from 2010-15 and coached under LSU coach Ed Orgeron when he was Ole Miss' coach from 2005-07.

Sep 4, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; Louisiana State Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) celebrates his touchdown scored against the UCLA Bruins during the first half the at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

McNeese State runs spread offense

LSU first-year defensive coordinator Daronte Jones will get a chance to redeem himself and his players after the loss to UCLA.

McNeese State quarterback Cody Orgeron, son of Ed Orgeron, completed 31 of 47 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in the loss to West Florida. He found wide receiver Walker Wood seven times for 104 yards, and also regularly targeted  wide receivers Josh Matthews (8 receptions, 88 yards) and Mason Pierce (4 receptions, 47 yards). 

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"They moved them out, they spread them out," Ed Orgeron said. "I thought Josh made some good catches. I thought that they had a good game plan. Looked like they played well. Little bit more in sync, it was the second year under the same offense. So I thought the timing was OK, pretty good. We have to play better."

QB Cody Orgeron is a veteran starter

Sep 7, 2019; Stillwater, OK, USA; McNeese State Cowboys quarterback Cody Orgeron (8) drops back to pass against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Cody Orgeron, a sixth-year senior who walked on in 2016, has been the Cowboys' starter since the 2019 season, and he started three games in 2018.

"I thought he made some good throws," Ed Orgeron said of the West Florida game. "Thought he scrambled pretty good. I thought the offensive line blocked better. It's challenging to go against your son, but I'm going to coach the way I know how to coach."

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FCS upset alert

LSU is 28-0 against Football Championship Subdivision schools such as McNeese State, but the Cowboys did play the Tigers close in 2010 before falling 32-10 in the first meeting between the programs.

"McNeese is going to come in here and give us a game," Ed Orgeron said, adding that even the national champion Tigers of 2019 struggled early against FCS Northwestern State, which took a 7-3 lead over LSU in the first quarter before losing 65-14.

"These guys are going to come play their best," he said. "There is no planning on pulling back or nothing like that. We've got to get better with our football team. However the game goes, look, if we can put guys in at the end or whatever, we can put them in, but we've got to play our best to beat McNeese."

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LSU 48, McNeese State 13: The Tigers will improve significantly in the run game and at protecting quarterback Max Johnson, who will be more accurate with the extra time. Look for backup quarterback Garrett Nussmeier to play as well. Orgeron said he almost put him in last week after Johnson took a hit.

LSU's defense will be better prepared for any crossing routes McNeese State puts in after watching UCLA shred the Tigers with those plays last week.