First-year head coach Brad Laird and the Northwestern State Demons traveled to Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, for the season opener against Southeastern Conference giant Texas A&M and walked away with a 59-7 loss.
“When it came down to the fourth quarter, this team didn’t quit,” Laird said in a press release. “We made a lot of mistakes, and that starts with me, and one game doesn’t define us as we have a lot of opportunities left.”
For the Aggies, this game was a test of how well veteran Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, formerly of Florida State, could lead the young Texas A&M team as they look to improve their standing in the SEC.
For the Demons, this game was a test of how well Laird could bring the Demons together in front of adversity, following a 4-7 season in 2017.
The Demon defense seemed to slow the Aggies in the first quarter, holding them to an early 7-0 lead. However, the Aggie offense found their rhythm in the second quarter, posting 28 more points before halftime, making the score 35-0 going into the second half.
“Texas A&M is a good team, and we’ll learn from this game and get better,” junior linebacker Blake Stephenson said. “We’ll regroup for our home opener and play with a chip on our shoulder.”
The Demon offense cycled through two different quarterbacks, junior Shelton Epper and senior Clay Holgorsen, throughout the game. Both quarterbacks threw for over 100
passing yards, with Holgorsen throwing the game’s only touchdown with a fourth quarter pass to LSU transfer Jazz Ferguson.
Senior punter Parker Pastorello had an outstanding game, averaging 42 yards over 9 punts, with three being more than 50 yards.
The fourth quarter was the Demons’ best from a statistic standpoint as Texas A&M out gained NSU 148-101 in the final period.
“We’ll look at positives like winning the turnover battle (1-0) and not making a turnover,” Laird said. “What really got us was third downs (NSU was 1-of-12 and Texas A&M went 8-of-11).
We couldn’t sustain drives and we weren’t able to get off the field defensively on third down. But plays like Jazz made tonight shows you what he can do when he gets opportunities to make big plays.”
“We did do some positive things tonight, and we’ll evaluate ourselves. They say the biggest improvement is from Week 1 to Week 2, and I’m confident this team will bounce back for our home opener against Grambling.”
The Demons host their first home game of the season against Grambling State Saturday, with kick-off at 6 p.m. in Turpin Stadium.