GREELEY, Colo. (AP) 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.

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