Football Bears come home to prepare for ‘Red Beans, Rice Bowl’

The Bears will face the McNeese State Cowboys this Saturday at 3 p.m. in the annual Red Beans and Rice Bowl, which the Bears won last year 28-24.
The Bears are going into this game with a two game winning streak, the most recent was a road win against the Nicholls State Colonels. Coach Clint Conque said several factors will go into the Bears’ success. One of the more prominent factors he said is consistency on defense.
“I’ve said it before and it comes down to basics. We have to block well and we have to tackle well,” he said. “McNeese has some very talented tailbacks. We have to put some silver helmets on their ball carriers. The same thing goes for the secondary also.”
Conque said he is impressed by McNeese’s sophomore quarterback Cody Stroud and their offensive system. He said the defense will have to step up and make sure they are able to stop the Cowboys on all fronts.
“Stroud is very efficient. We have to be able to create narrow running seams,” he said.
Conque said he is working to make sure the defense is solid and consistent before the game this weekend. He said the defense is not what it has been and that in-part is because of players who have graduated.
“We graduated some good defensive players last year,” he said. “You have to realize they’re not coming back. In previous years we’ve had the top scoring defense in the conference and we’re trying to put it together. No one will be more critical of our defense than us, and right now we are not up to par at this point.”
Conque said if the defense can build off of their second half performance from the Nicholls State game, then the team is moving in the right direction.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Bears, Conque said the past two games for the Bears have been great and the offensive scheme is starting to click. During the game against Stephen F. Austin, the Bears had 99 rushing yards and 390 yards passing. During the road game against Nicholls State, the Bears had 176 yards rushing and 306 yards passing.
“[Senior quarterback] Nathan Dick has been sharp these past two games,” Conque said.
Junior running back Anthony Blackmon ran last game for 59 yards and a touchdown. He said he is going to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him. He said this game is especially important to him and the team because it is a home game and the Bears are undefeated so far this season at Estes Stadium.
“It’s always good to get to stay at home and not have that long bus ride somewhere,” he said. “This week we just have to go out and practice hard like we always do. I didn’t get to play in last year’s game against McNeese, but this is always a great game for us.”
Junior wide receiver Dominique Croom said the team is excited for the game and is prepared to protect its home field.
“We just have to do the same thing we do every week to prepare,” he said. “We our defending our turf. This is the Red Beans and Rice Bowl so we have got to play hard and make sure that trophy stays here with us.”

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