Courtesy: NSU Athletics
As the Northwestern State football team tries to rebound from a loss for the first time under new coach Jay Thomas, a visit to Birmingham to take on UAB isn't what the doctor ordered.
The Demons (2-1) will play their second straight game against an FBS foe after absorbing a 66-9 whipping at powerful Cincinnati last Saturday. Kickoff against UAB (0-2) is 2 o'clock at storied Legion Field in Birmingham. NSU wraps up its non-conference schedule at home the following Saturday, Sept. 28, with a 6 p.m. game against lower-division Langston.
The UAB Blazers enjoyed an open date last weekend, shaking off the sting of two opening losses. They fell at in-state rival Troy 34-31 in overtime, after blowing a 31-14 lead, in their season opener, then were trashed 56-17 at LSU in week two.
But Coach Thomas said the Demons aren't sleeping on the Blazers.
"I didn't want to see what I saw on the tape watching them. They are a lot like Cincinnati," he said. "There are talented players and they are a physical team. One advantage we have this week is we've now seen the speed of the game at that level, and we have first-hand understanding of the size of the challenges at each position, play after play.
"It's no easy task and that's fine. We are working hard this week to ensure we make a better accounting of ourselves walking off that field Saturday. We learned a lot at Cincinnati, and now the key is to apply what we learned and be better this time than we were last time."
The Demons must contain Blazers star receiver and returner Jamarcus Nelson, who is third in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (210 avg.) and fifth in kickoff return average (35.4), and running back Darrin Reaves, a first-team All-CUSA pick last year.
Meanwhile NSU hopes to rekindle an offense that was stymied by powerful Cincinnati last week (netting only 12 first downs and 179 total yards) after averaging 27.5 first downs and 479.5 yards per game in two opening wins.
The Demons are paced by receivers Ed Eagan and Bryant Mitchell, each with 12 catches among 15 different players who have receptions. Quarterback Zach Adkins has completed 66 percent of his 91 passes for 643 yards and four touchdowns.Already, six different players have run for touchdowns as Rumeall Morris, coming off an 85-yard output at Cincinnati, and Rob Walker share the team rushing lead with 105 yards.
Linebacker Pat Black (25 tackles) and Tyler Roussel (24) are the top tacklers on the Purple Swarm defense.
|AUG 29||6:00pm CDT||at Missouri State|
|SEP 7||6:00pm CDT||Southern|
|SEP 14||6:00pm CDT||at Cincinnati|
|SEP 21||2:00pm CDT||at Alabama Birmingham|
|SEP 28||6:00pm CDT||Langston|
|OCT 12||3:00pm CDT||at Nicholls|
|OCT 19||6:00pm CDT||Southeastern Louisiana|
|OCT 26||2:00pm CDT||at Sam Houston State|
|NOV 2||7:00pm CDT||Central Arkansas|
|NOV 9||3:00pm CDT||Lamar|
|NOV 16||7:00pm CDT||at McNeese State|
|NOV 23||3:00pm CDT||Stephen F. Austin|