NSU looking to find consistency on offense ahead of in-state rival matchup against La. Tech
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - Northwestern State’s non-conference schedule is full of rivalries, especially in Week 2, as they will travel to Louisiana Tech.
Head Coach Brad Laird has multiple ties to Ruston, as he played and coached at Ruston High School and his father was on the coaching staff at Tech.
The in-state rivalry dates back almost a century. From 1926-1987, NSU and Louisiana Tech never missed a chance to meet in what used to be called the State Fair Classic, but since then the two schools have only played three times.
In the Demons’ season opener against UL-Lafeyette, the offense could not find consistency at any point during the game with their new quarterback, Tyler Vander Waal.
The Demons’ offense only had 179 total yards of offense, and one of the keys to victory for this week, according to Laird, is consistency, which could mean exploring other options at the quarterback position.
“We had a couple of opportunities, good field position with three takeaways, but we only had six points,” said Laird. “Those were opportunities we did not take advantage of. We have to find a way to move the ball offensively. We have to find a way to run the football, and we are going to go through this week and explore different things.”
Central State University transfer Twon Hines was part of the silver lining of an offense that is trying to find their identity, as he led the team with three catches and 38 yards in his first start in the Purple and White.
“We realize that we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” said Hines. “It is not like we went out there, and they just demolished us, or we did not belong on the same field as those guys. We just did not take advantage of the good situations we were put in. I think now on offense, we saw what we could be capable of and people kind of have a chip on their shoulder.”
Even though the Demons did not capitalize on offense, the Purple Swarm was able to capitalize on the opportunities they were given, creating three different takeaways.
The Purple Swarm created just eleven takeaways last season, and after Week 1, they have almost created one-third of those.
“It has to be next play mentality,” said junior defensive lineman Donovan Green, who had five tackles and a forced fumble against UL-Lafayette. “One thing coach always says is you have to have a great mindset, you can not let the play before dictate the play after. We have to keep playing, keep level-headed and stay focused, always move on to the next play.”
The in-state rivalry will be renewed for the first time since 2017, and the Demons will look to snap their 11-game non-conference losing streak.
The Demons and the Bulldogs will kick off at Joe Aillet Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m.
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