NSU aims to keep hot streak going on the road against E. Illinois
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - With a win this Saturday on the road against Eastern Illinois, Northwestern State can celebrate a win for the third straight game for the first time since 2011.
It has been a drastic turnaround for the Demons after what was a difficult three-game stretch to open up the season. In NSU’s first three games on the road against Montana, Grambling State and Southern Miss, the Demons were outscored 158-31.
Desperately needing a spark, NSU turned to backup quarterback Zachary Clement. The sophomore from Broussard, La. got his first start of the season in the Demons’ Southland Conference opener against Lamar.
Clement went on to throw for 366 yards and three touchdowns to give the Demons their first win of 2022. Clement followed that performance with another 300-yard and three-touchdown game in a come-from-behind win over rival Nicholls.
In that game, Clement led the Demons to two TD drives with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter including a go-ahead touchdown pass to Javon Antonio with nine seconds left. It was not only a season-defining win for the Demons but perhaps a career-defining win for Head Coach Brad Laird in his fifth season.
“To be on the sideline and watch these young men, the way they just stayed the course and kept fighting, all the credit goes to their resiliency to go out there and continue to make plays,” said Coach Laird.
With the win over Nicholls, the Demons started SLC play 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
“As a team, we came together and said we are not going to let those three weeks define us,” said Clement. “We are going to go out there and play our type of football and execute. We are going to do what’s asked of us, and that’s really paid off in the end for us.”
With another streak snapped, NSU will look for another Saturday at Eastern Illinois to continue their winning streak to three games. The last time Northwestern State faced the Panthers was back in 1993 when Coach Laird was leading the Demons, just at the quarterback position.
In the snow, the Laird-led Demons defeated EIU 34-26 in their only win in the series history nearly 30 years ago.
Kickoff between the Demons and Panthers will be at 2 p.m. in Charleston, Il and can be seen on ESPN3.
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