Take Five Breakdown: Florida-McNeese State Preview

McNeese State Preview

by Chris Will
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Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

Fresh off a road loss to No. 14 Utah, Florida turns their attention to FCS program McNeese State. Inside the Gators sat down with American Press beat writer Jim Gazzolo to discuss the Cowboys matchup with the Gators.

Five McNeese Cowboys to Know

Nate Glantz, Quarterback, Junior

  • Glantz is a former JUCO Offensive Player of the Year. After going over 600 days without a start, he ran for two touchdowns in a loss to Tarleton State. “Kind of looked shaky to start with, but got hot a little bit afterward,” Gazzolo said, “Got a big arm with a lot of experience is a big thing and is one of 57 newcomers.”

D’angelo Durham, Running back, Junior

  • Durham rushed for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown against Mississippi College in the game where he injured and almost lost his leg. He ran for 45 yards and a touchdown in his return. “He’s more of a power guy,” Gazzolo said, “They’re going to use him a little bit more out of the backfield this year in the passing game.”

Jon McCall, Wide Receiver, Redshirt Sophomore

  • He only had one catch for 18 yards in the Cowboys’ first game. But Gazzolo said the receiving core has always been the biggest question mark. “Jon McCall had a very good camp,” Gazzolo said, “He’s been here a couple of years. They went out and got a lot of people, but Jon McCall kind of stepped up and became their guy.”

Micah Davey, Linebacker, Redshirt Sophomore

  • The son of former LSU quarterback Rohan Davey, Micah had 12 tackles in game one. He totaled 68 tackles last season with eight for loss. “He’s very excited to play in the SEC like his dad,” Gazzolo said, “So to play this game is really big for him. They’re looking for him to make plays.”

Trey Winters, Defensive Line, Sophomore

  • The 6-foot-7, 350-pound son of a former Iowa basketball player made the move across the line of scrimmage to the defensive line in the spring. He had five tackles in his first game on the defensive line since high school. “I think he’s going to be big as far as blocking anything in the middle,” Gazzolo said.

Five Fast Facts

  • Week 2’s matchup marks the first-ever meeting between Florida and McNeese on the gridiron and the Gators’ first-ever football game against a Southland Conference opponent.
  • Florida’s 33-straight wins in home openers lead the NCAA (last loss – 1989: Ole Miss 24, Florida 19).
  • Florida has won seven straight games vs. the FCS and is 22-1 against FCS opponents since 1981.
  • The Gators have played 89 total games against FCS opponents, owning a 68-17-4 record (.787).
  • Florida’s FCS matchups since 2019: Florida 52, EWU 17 (2022) | Florida 70, Samford 52 (2021) | Florida 38, Towson – (2019) | Florida 45, UT Martin 0 (2019)

Five GameDay Storylines

Both Teams Trying to Bounce Back

  • Florida lost to Utah, 24-11. McNeese State lost to Tarleton State, 52-34. One of these teams will walk out of the Swamp with a win. “[McNeese is] just there to pick up the check,” Gazzolo said, “Let’s be realistic. It’s a money game. In fact, talking to them, they probably wish Utah lost that game, so Florida wouldn’t be so angry.”

Louisiana Roots

  • McNeese is located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It’s a state with plenty of connections to this Florida Gators squad. Florida head coach Billy Napier coached at Louisiana. Running back Trevor Etienne is from the area. “They know him very well here,” Gazzolo said, “He worked out with a lot of kids that are playing at McNeese.”


  • It’s a big opportunity for a program like McNeese to visit The Swamp. And in today’s day and age of the transfer portal, it could be a chance to showcase their potential. “This is a completely different experience and they’re looking forward to it because some of the players, they know it’s a showcase game for them in the portal next year,” Gazzolo said.

Last Time in Florida

  • The Cowboys have visited the state of Florida before. In 2013, they opened the season against USF in Tampa. The Cowboys walked away with a 53-21 win. “So there’s that,” Gazzolo said.

Rob Sale

  • Rob Sale spent three seasons at McNeese State serving as the offensive line coach for the Cowboys from 2012-13 before being elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2014. In his final season, the Cowboys offense averaged 32.4 points, 396.5 total yards, and 221.9 rushing yards a game.”- FloridaGators.com


  • Chris Will – 56-10 Florida
  • Jim Gazzolo – 37-13

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