(STATS) - Transfer James Tabary has been named the starting quarterback for McNeese's season-opening game Sept. 3 at home against Tarleton State.

First-year coach Lance Guidry said Wednesday the sophomore transfer from Arkansas State outdueled junior Grant Ashcraft in preseason camp. Guidry added Ashcraft will run a series or two in the defending Southland Conference champion's first game.

"It was close," Guidry said. "Me and (offensive coordinator Landon) Hoefer talked about the quarterback position in depth. We leaned on some offensive assistants as well and I talked to the defense (coaches) and asked what they thought and wanted their opinion. All of us were hitting on the same thing."

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Tabary, added Guidry, "can make the long throws, the intermediate throws. He can throw the touch passes and can throw what I call face throws which is in front of him moving up in the pocket. And, of course, he can throw out to the side which are the comebacks, back shoulders and fades."

Junior Joe Lissard will be McNeese's No. 3 quarterback.

The Cowboys finished 10-1 last year, reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs before falling to Southland rival Sam Houston State.