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McNeese State 63, Nicholls State 28

11/23/2003

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) -- Scott Pendarvis threw for 258 yards and
four touchdowns as McNeese State clinched the Southland Conference
title with a 63-28 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday night.

Vick King ran for 117 yards and one touchdown for McNeese, while
Marcus Turner caught 4 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Having fallen behind, Nicholls was not able to control the ball
with its triple option rushing attack and had to throw. Nicholls
finished with 188 yards rushing, well below its average. But
quarterback Josh Son was 15-of-26 for 236 yards and two touchdowns
as Nicholls stayed in the game until McNeese's Stephen Barrett
returned a Nicholls fumble for a 72-yard touchdown late in the
third quarter.

McNeese (10-1, 5-0), the No. 1-ranked Division I-AA team in the
country, needed the victory for the league title after Stephen F.
Austin won at Northwestern State earlier in the day.

And the Cowboys didn't need much time to take the lead for good
as Nicholls fumbled on its own 4-yard line less than two minutes
into the game. Pendarvis found Matt Gore in the end zone on the
next play.

Pendarvis' 37-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Sams, followed by
touchdown runs of 9 yards by King and 6 yards by Luke Lawton, put
Cowboys up 28-0.

Son hit Vince Butler, who finished with nine catches for 180
yards and two scores, with a 35-yard touchdown pass late in the
first half. Then Nicholls cut its deficit to 28-14 early in the
third quarter when Rudy August scored on a 25-yard run.

Turner's 36-yard touchdown catch gave the Cowboys a 35-14 lead.
But Son responded with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Butler, and
Nicholls was threatening to pull within a touchdown late in the
third quarter when Barrett scored on his fumble return, leaving the
score at 42-21.

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