McNeese State (8-0, 7-0), averaging 34 points a game, was stymied throughout as Abilene Christian, which has now lost five straight games, stayed within striking distance. The Wildcats (2-6, 2-5) led 6-3 with 6:18 remaining in the second quarter when Herschel Sims passed to quarterback Dallas Sealey from the 9 for a touchdown.
McNeese State's Daniel Sams ran in from the 2 for a score and a 12-6 lead with 10:37 left in the third. Manuel, who had field goals from 27 and 28 yards earlier, booted a 23-yarder for a 15-6 lead with 10:37 left in the game.
The Wildcats answered when Sealey hit Carl Whitley on a 24-yard scoring strike with 3:54 left.
McNeese State had five turnovers as Sams was intercepted three times.