Home CFB Campus Tour: FCS Week 1 Tarleton State vs. McNeese Live Recap Part I

CFB Campus Tour: FCS Week 1 Tarleton State vs. McNeese Live Recap Part I

by Shayler

Videos and Photos taken by Mike from CFB Campus Tour.

Are You Not Entertained? FCS spring season opens with a bang!

Did you think football season ended at the conclusion of the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl LV?  You did?  Wow…you could not have been more wrong.  

Not only did you miss the first FCS spring football game of the season, but also the BEST football game of 2021. Let’s get you back in the know so this NEVER happens again, OK?

While the FBS was able to complete a (mostly) full season during the fall 2020, the FCS decided to move push its 2020 season back to spring 2021. COVID-19 has strongly impacted college football and the extra time helped FCS programs better prepare for the challenges of playing sports during a global pandemic. 

Is the spring idea perfect? No, it’s not. More than 30 FCS schools have opted out and the ones who have stayed in have trimmed down schedules significantly.

What does this all mean? Well, there are two choices: (1) Wait for fall 2021 when experts “think” colleges can again fill their stadiums with fans and “hope” they play a full schedule; or (2) Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see bonus football played at a high level by players who are both hungry and grateful to showcase their talents. 

If you choose (1) then ‘Bye-Bye’. Have fun waiting for FBS spring games, or glorified practices, to happen on one Saturday between March and May. If you choose (2), then ‘Welcome to the (FCS) Party’!

Existing FCS party goers were focused on Tarleton Memorial Stadium in Stephenville, Tex. this past Saturday. Tarleton State hosted McNeese in the only FCS game of the opening weekend. This game was extremely important for both teams — and not just because they had waited over a year to suit up. 

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For Tarleton State, this marked its first ever Division I game in program history. It will play this spring as a FCS Independent and then join the newly recreated/revised WAC (Western Athletic Conference) in fall 2021. 

For McNeese, the game marked an achievement of overcoming the decimation of two hurricanes — Laura and Delta. These hurricanes not only ravaged Cowboy Stadium, but the city of Lake Charles as a whole. With those details providing the backdrop, the game itself was both a symbol of perseverance as well as an incredible display of skill and playmaking.

Things got off to somewhat of a slow start, which sometimes happens when it’s 28 degrees outside. McNeese put up the game’s first 10 points and Tarleton State responded with 10 points of its own to tie the game after 30 minutes. Both Tarleton State head coach Todd Whitten and McNeese’s Frank Wilson Jr. must have given some great halftime speeches because the intensity level of play increased dramatically in the second half.

The Tarleton State offense asserted itself behind quarterback Steven Duncan and running back Braelon Bridges.

From the 11:07 mark in the third quarter to the 7:39 mark in the fourth, these two helped Tarleton State score touchdowns. Bridges, who finished the night with 112 yards rushing, scored two touchdowns. Duncan, a transfer from FBS Western Kentucky, connected with wide receiver Tariq Bitson on this beautiful 13-yard touchdown pass:

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