BEAUMONT, Texas - After one of the most thrilling wins in program history, the Lamar Cardinals step back on the field to face rival McNeese State in the 2013 regular-season finale. The Cards (5-6/2-4 SLC) enter the week in a two-way tie for fifth, and in search of their first six-win season since resurrecting the program. The No. 6-ranked Cowboys are second in the league with a 9-2 overall record and 5-1 conference mark.
The Cardinals posted their come-from-behind victory over rival Stephen F. Austin. Lamar trailed the Lumberjacks by nine points with less than five minutes remaining but never quit on the game. Lamar scored a touchdown with 2:46 left, and forced a three-and-out, which set up freshman Alex Ball's game-winning kick. The California-native drilled the 41-yard game winner with 15 seconds remaining to hand the Cardinals their first win over the Lumberjacks since bringing back the program.
In addition to the win, the Cardinals set numerous records, in what has become a record-setting season. Junior quarterback Caleb Berry became the school's single-season leader for completions and total offense in the game, while sophomore Reggie Begelton set a new single-season record for receptions. The duo also recorded single-game records for completions and receptions.
"I'm very proud of how our team battled back to defeat SFA," said head coach Ray Woodard. "But we have to put that game behind us. We are preparing to face a very good football team. With this being the last game of the year, we have seen a lot of film on these guys while getting ready for other opponents, so we know good they are. They have a lot to play for, and will come in here ready to play."
Saturday's game takes on significance for both teams beyond the normal bragging rights of a rivalry game. The Cowboys still have an outside shot at a conference title, while Lamar is looking to set a program record for wins and record its first .500 season since bring back the program.