GREELEY, Colo. -- James Tabary threw for 206 yards and the McNeese defense held off a late charge by Northern Colorado to open the season with a 17-14 victory on Saturday afternoon.
McNeese led 17-0 after three quarters but managed just 16 yards in the final stanza as Northern Colorado rallied. Jacob Knipp hit Patrick Stephens on a 27-yard scoring strike to make it 17-7 with 5:58 remaining. Two plays later Sherand Boyd Jr. intercepted Tabary, flipped the ball back as he was being tackled and Michael Walker ran the ball into the end zone to close the gap to 17-14.
The Bear defense held on the next possession but so did the McNeese defenders and Northern Colorado ran out of time and downs.
McNeese opened the game with a 66-yard drive that led to a 2-yard scoring plunge by Justin Pratt. Gunnar Raborn added a 27-yard field goal and Gabe Foster returned an interception 49 yards for a 17-0 lead.
Knipp led Northern Colorado, throwing for 261 yards and one score.
Kyler Murray declares for 2019 NFL draft: Answering questions about what's next
Murray has declared for the NFL draft. Can he still play baseball? What are the key dates to pay attention to? Here's what you need to know.
Deion: Murray has to be fully invested in football
Deion Sanders breaks down why Kyler Murray can't be a multi-sport athlete like himself and Bo Jackson.
Clark: White's NFL stock made it difficult to stay
Ryan Clark says LB Devin White wanted to return to LSU for his senior season, but it was difficult to stay because he will likely be a top-10 pick.
Georgia hires Todd Hartley from Miami as TE coach
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has hired Todd Hartley from Miami to coach the Bulldogs' tight ends.
Kyler Murray's Oklahoma highlights: The plays that proved he could be a pro
Oklahoma football was just going to be a stop on Kyler Murray's eventual MLB journey. Instead, he became a sensation and NFL prospect.
Rex Ryan could see Cowboys taking a chance on Lincoln Riley
Rex Ryan says who better than Jerry Jones to make a gutsy move and bring in Lincoln Riley as the next Cowboys head coach.