LAKE CHARLES, La. -- Three plays, six points and the Wildcats were making it look easy.
Not so fast.
True freshman quarterback Austin Chipoletti's second pass of his second start was a 48-yard touchdown strike to another freshman, Cameron Livingston, but the two-point try failed and that was it for Weber State (1-3) as No. 12 McNeese State (4-0) skated to a 43-6 victory on the slick, rain-soaked turf at Cowboy Stadium on Saturday.
Kelvin Bennett ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and Marcus Wiltz added 144 yards and another score as McNeese State rushed for 363 yards on the ground and 585 yards of total offense.
Explosive plays blew up the Wildcats as the Cowboys scored five times on plays longer than 43 yards.
Cody Stroud completed 13 of 24 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown while McNeese reeled off 43 unanswered points. The Cowboys powered their way to 250 yards on the ground in the second half alone, then stopped the Wildcats on fourth and goal at the two-yard line in the final minute to keep WSU from reaching double digits.
A fast start is nice, but "that's not what it's all about," second-year Weber State coach Jody Sears said. "I loved the start. Consistency hurt us. We'd get some drives started, we'd get some stops, get some turnovers, get some good field position. Consistency sustaining drives, regardless what the elements were or where we're at, there are no excuses. We've got to play with consistency, there's no doubt about it, against a really good football team."
Chipoletti competed 8 of 27 passes for 85 yards (48 on a single play), one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 78 yards before sacks knocked his net total back to 47 yards on the ground.
The final result wasn't what the freshman had in mind after getting a quick six to start the game.
"You score like that, you think you're going to come out the next drive and it doesn't happen," Chipoletti said. "We've just got to keep fighting and make it happen. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it happen. A lot of it is on me. I've got to put the ball on the spot."
Senior quarterback Jordan Adamczyk, who started Weber State's first two games but has been limited by knee problems, was 0 for 4 passing. The 'Cats allowed four sacks and seven tackles for loss in addition to the two interceptions.
WSU junior running back Bo Bolen rushed for 90 yards and caught three passes for 32 yards to finish with 132 total yards.
Defensive lineman James Washington had one sack, two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and also recovered it. Luke King led the Wildcats with 11 tackles and fellow linebacker Anthony Morales added 10 as he moved into 10th place on Weber State's career tackles list.
With the game still within reach in the first half, the Wildcats responded well after facing adversity only to sputter to several missed opportunities.
When Wallace Scott jumped a Chipoletti screen pass and returned it 69 yards to give McNeese State a 7-6 lead, Cordero Dixon responded with a 69-yard return of his own on the ensuing kickoff, but an illegal block erased the return and led to a three-and-out.
When Kelvin Bennett's 48 yard run helped the Cowboys to a 14-6 lead, the Wildcats rolled the dice from their own 30-yard line as punter Tony Epperson took a fake 27 yards into McNeese territory early in the second quarter. Chipoletti drove WSU to the 23-yard line before throwing incomplete on fourth and three.
Trailing 17-6 after a Ryan Rome 35-yard field goal late in the second quarter, Weber State's Luke King forced a fumble and Adam Padilla recovered at the McNeese 32. Adamczyk threw two incomplete passes and was sacked before Weber State had to punt it back.
After three consecutive games on the road, the Wildcats return to Stewart Stadium next week -- for Homecoming, appropriately -- against Sacramento State in their Big Sky Conference opener.
McNeese State 43,
Weber State 6
At Lake Charles, La.
Weber State 6 0 0 0 -- 6
McNeese State 7 10 13 13 -- 43
Weber State--Livingston 48 pass from Chipoletti (run failed), 9:41.
McNeese State--W.Scott 69 interception return (Rome kick), 2:55.
McNeese State--Bennett 48 run (Rome kick), 14:45.
McNeese State--Rome 35 field goal, 5:40.
McNeese State--Celestie 43 pass from Stroud (Rome kick), 7:15.
McNeese State--Wiltz 11 run (kick blocked), 1:36.
McNeese State--Celestie 60 run (kick failed), 14:49.
McNeese State--Bennett 50 run (Breaux kick), 9:55.
First downs 15 25
Rushes-yards 52-223 45-363
Passing 85 222
Comp-Att-Int 8-31-2 14-26-0
Return Yards 0 80
Punts-Avg. 9-40.9 6-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 6-114 13-105
Time of Possession 30:03 29:57
Rushing--Weber State, Bolen 15-90, Zac.Smith 11-51, Chipoletti 18-47, Epperson 1-27, Livingston 1-14, Booker 2-7, Walker 1-2, Team 1-(minus 2), Adamczyk 2-(minus 13). McNeese St., Wiltz 19-140, Bennett 10-122, Celestie 1-60, Long 9-53, Eaglin 2-6, Collins 1-1, Team 1-(minus 2), Stroud 2-(minus 17).
Passing--Weber State, Chipoletti 8-27-2-85, Adamczyk 0-4-0-0. McNeese St., Stroud 13-24-0-189, Bolfing 1-2-0-33.
Receiving--Weber State, Bolen 3-32, Walker 3-4, Livingston 1-48, Zac.Smith 1-1. McNeese St., Jacobs 3-38, Celestie 2-69, We.Briscoe 2-39, Bennett 2-35, Bush 2-4, McGilvery 1-19, Wiltz 1-16, Spencer 1-2.