FANS FLOCK TO BATON ROUGE: McNeese puts up fight against LSU

October 17, 2010 at 11:53 pm

published Oct. 17, 2010
SW La. tailgaters split loyalties, cheer for both teams
Article and photos BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

McNeese State University alumni load buses outside Cowboy Stadium Saturday morning to travel to Baton Rouge to watch the McNeese football team play LSU. This is the first time the two schools have played each other in football. BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS/AMERICAN PRESS

BATON ROUGE — McNeese State tailgaters were well-represented at LSU on Saturday.

Around 11 a.m., more than a dozen charter buses of alumni left Cowboy Stadium bound for Baton Rouge.
Some had split loyalties through the years, cheering for both teams.

Ocie McGuire of Sulphur said he usually cheered for LSU, but now that they are playing McNeese, he had to pick his alma mater.

LSU’s 32-10 victory marked the first time the teams have played in football because the schools compete at different levels. McNeese and LSU have competed regularly in other sports, including baseball.

McNeese’s athletic department was guaranteed $405,000 for playing LSU, which was ranked No. 9 in last week’s Associated Press media and USA Today coaches polls. A crowd of 92,576 saw the action, with McNeese selling all 6,000 tickets it was allotted.

Walter Eubanks of DeQuincy, an alumni of McNeese and LSU, said he just planned to enjoy the game.

“They always played good games in baseball. I think this will be a good football game, too,” Eubanks said.

Gregory Captain of Iowa — another dual alumni — and his wife, Annie, said they loved the in-state game.
“It’s just a nice gathering for me,” Gregory Captain said.

“It’s something to bring the state together, I think,” Annie Captain said. “Great weather and it’s gonna be a great atmosphere, cause this is Louisiana.”

Children play football in front of Scott Pendarvis’ tailgate area on Saturday. Pendarvis, a former McNeese State quarterback, said he grew up tailgating at LSU with his parents.  BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS/AMERICAN PRESS

Gary Farber, a season ticket holder for McNeese games, also said he loved the in-state opponent aspect.

He and his wife, Theresa, said they couldn’t pass up a chance to go to this game.

“Just like when Southern came here (Lake Charles), this game sold out quick and it was a great crowd and a great game,” Farber said.

Over at Touchdown Village, where RV owners tailgate just off LSU’s campus, McNeese and LSU fans mingled at every RV.

Eva and V.J. Abate of Lake Charles were out with about 25 people.

“We usually tailgate for all of the McNeese home games, but my husband was able to get us a spot here for his RV,” Eva Abate said.

Former McNeese quarterback Scott Pendarvis was tailgating with a mixed crowd of about 20 people.

“I’ve been tailgating at LSU my whole life, and when I went to McNeese, my parents came there,” Pendarvis said.

His older brother and wife Lynsie graduated from LSU, but he said their 1-month-old son, Wyatt, will be “all McNeese.”

Pendarvis said he hoped the game would serve as a learning experience for the Cowboys, who play football in the Southland Conference.

“McNeese is a big underdog, but I think they can use the game to get better. The final score may not show that,” he said.

LSU defender Kendrick Adams chases McNeese tailback Andre Johnson in Saturday night’s game. BY BRAD PUCKETT/AMERICAN PRESS

James Marchand of Sulphur was tailgating with his three brothers, all LSU alumnus.
He said he is glad the two schools finally played each other in football.

“I don’t know why it took so long for them play each other,” he said. “Being a fan of McNeese and an even bigger fan of LSU, it’s just great they finally did this.”

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