However, the Demons chose to let their play on the field do the talking with a 55-14 win over Southern in their home opener Sept. 7.
In front of a crowd of 14,873---the sixth highest to see a game at Turpin Stadium---NSU (2-0) had its highest point total against a Division I opponent since scoring a school-record 87 points against Southeastern Louisiana in 2003.
“I’m really proud of our guys with the way we handled the whole week,” NSU head coach Jay Thomas said. “Our motto this week was ‘Win the Week’ and we did just that. Our guys came out on fire and played really well in all phases.”
Junior quarterback Zach Adkins sparked the Demons as he turned in another strong performance. The Riverside, Calif. native threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns on 22-for-34 passing. His three first-half touchdowns helped the Demons build an insurmountable 31-7 halftime lead.
“I just have to credit my offensive line and my receivers,” Adkins said. “They were making great plays for me all game and making it easy.”
Southern (0-2) had a hard time trying to put pressure Adkins and Thomas expounded on his quarterback’s poise.
“That’s his thing, the California swag,” Thomas said. “He’s got that role about him, I like that about him. He can make and extend plays for us and that’s critical. Some guys don’t know when they need to do that, but he does have the clock in his head.”
Sophomore wide receiver Ed Eagan was one of Adkins’ favorite targets during the game, catching six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. The New Orleans native also showed off his kick return skills with a 61-yard return to set up a Robert Walker two-yard score to make the game 45-14 midway through the third quarter.
“Ed is a phenomenal athlete,” Thomas said. “It was a good move moving him from defense to offense and it’s allowed us to put another guy over there that is a weapon. The guy makes unbelievable plays and does a great job in the return game.”
Defensively, NSU held the Jaguars to 248 total yards and sacked Dray Joseph five times, as the ‘Purple Swarm’ defense lived up to its name.
“That’s what we hang our hat on, swarming to the football,” Thomas said. “These guys played with a lot of pride. They’ve been practicing with a chip on their shoulder the entire year. Coach [Chris] Boone did a nice job in keeping us in basic coverages. We didn’t want to hurt ourselves or shoot our toes off. The guys did a great job tackling in the open field. We got pressure on the quarterback when we needed to.”
The Jaguars lone bright spot was Willie Quinn and his two touchdowns to prevent Southern from being shut out.
Quinn’s second touchdown came by way of a 98-yard kickoff return---the longest such return against NSU in its 105-year history.
With the victory, NSU starts a season off 2-0 for the first time since 2007 and Thomas stated it was an overall effort.
“It’s great, but the thing is that it’s not about one coach or one player. It’s about all of us.” Thomas said. “That’s what we are here to do.”
The Demons will now face two Football Bowl Subdivision schools, starting with a trip to Cincinnati Saturday at 6 p.m.