“This week, it will be great to get back home, sleep in our own beds and get back to our home routine once again,” NSU head coach Jay Thomas said. “Our guys will be looking forward to the challenge this weekend.”
Last week, the Demons lost to UAB 52-28, but showed life in the offensive game, which was a far cry from the Cincinnati matchup two weeks ago.
“We had a lot of improvement from the Cincinnati game to the UAB game and there were a lot more positives than negatives in the outcome, Thomas said. “I felt like our offense made a step forward.”
Junior running back Garrett Atzenweiler ran for 100 yards---becoming the first Demon to do so in nine games.
“I thought we were very physical in running the football,” Thomas said. “Our offensive line did a much better job staying connected on blocks. Fundamentally, we were a lot better. Getting Garrett Atzenweiler back boosted our momentum for our offense.”
NSU hopes that same momentum can carry over to the game against Langston.
Hailing from the Central States Football League (CSFL) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Lions pose a tough challenge for the Demons with senior leadership and playmakers.
Defensive backs Isaiah Ross and Chace Green lead the Lions in tackling and rank in the top five in the CSFL in tackles per game. Junior linebacker John Hunter is another tackling machine with 21 tackles.
“Looking at Langston, they’re very competitive,” Thomas said. “They have seven seniors on defense with a lot of speed. They are very aggressive and like to load the box to stop the run.”
Langston (0-3) is coming off of a strong performance on the ground where the team ran for 132 against Nicholls State. Kievon Jackson led the Lions with 68 rushing yards on just nine carries.
Cordara Frazier is another playmaker that is capable of being a home run threat. He only has six catches in three games, but his 105 receiving yards and 17.5 yards per reception lead Langston.
“On offense, they have a lot of talented guys across the board,” Thomas said. “At receiver, they have a number of guys that can make plays. They rotate three quarterbacks who are athletic and throw the ball well. We’ll have our hands full.”
The Demons were jumpstarted against UAB by their seniors, something that Thomas wants to see continue heading into the Southland slate.
“You started seeing our senior leadership step up in the UAB game,” Thomas said. “For our team to keep progressing as we head towards conference play, we need those things to happen for us.”
NSU will face the Lions tonight at 6 p.m. in Turpin Stadium.