NSU Football: Defense makes strides in second scrimmage

In many ways, Saturday’s second and final full-scale scrimmage of Northwestern State’s fall camp followed a typical script.

One week after the Demon offense enjoyed a fast start in the opening intrasquad scrimmage, the Purple Swarm defense was the one who brought the juice early Saturday morning inside Turpin Stadium.

“Defensively, they came out and forced three punts and an interception in four of the first five drives,” fifth-year head coach Brad Laird said. “Looking back at last week, that was different. About the middle of the scrimmage, the offense scored on three straight possessions – two touchdowns and a field goal – before the defense came on again toward the end. That’s the good thing about a scrimmage – when things weren’t going well, the other side of the ball was able to overcome that and be able to put some good things together.”

One week after surrendering more than 500 yards through the air and failed to produce a turnover, the Purple Swarm nearly halved the number of passing yards allowed (255) and collected a pair of turnovers.

Linebacker Jordan Banks, an Arizona State transfer, collected the first, jumping a Miles Fallin pass on the third drive of the scrimmage, part of the Purple Swarm’s fast start.

Toward the end of the scrimmage, freshman Kevondre Burton collected the second turnover, falling on a fumbled quarterback-running back exchange.

“We wanted to come out and do our job,” Banks said. “We’re an aggressive team. We want sacks. We want tackles for loss. We want turnovers. We want to create havoc. I felt like last scrimmage, we didn’t do that much as we should. We want to make sure they don’t get anything.”

In addition to the pair of turnovers, the Purple Swarm notched four sacks and seven tackles for loss, delivering the style of performance first-year defensive coordinator Weston Glaser wants to see.

“Our guys came out, even before the scrimmage, with high energy and wanted to get things fixed,” Glaser said. “We created havoc. That’s what our defense is. That’s what we live on. The big plays are correctable. Those were assignment errors. We had some busts today. We can get those fixed. It’s the little details play in and play out we need to get corrected.”

While the NSU offense was not able to replicate it’s 500-plus-yard performance from a week ago, it did produce a trio of touchdowns, all of which came on explosive plays.

Fallin found Zach Patterson for a 44-yard score to cap the first drive of the day, giving Patterson his second 40-plus-yard touchdown in the two scrimmages.

Following the defense’s three straight stops, Zachary Clement found Jaheim Walters for a 65-yard, catch-and-run touchdown on the first play of a drive. It was Walters’ lone catch of the day and one of two touchdown passes for Clement, who also connected with running back Kennieth Lacy on a swing pass for a 19-yard score.

“It boosted my confidence a lot, but to be honest, my team has boosted my morale since I’ve been back,” Walters said. “As soon as I came back, I wasn’t able to practice fully, but they welcomed me back with open arms. I’ve got to give it up to my Savs, our wide receiver group, for holding it down for me.”

Northwestern State returns to practice Monday afternoon at 4 as they move inside of two weeks to go before the Sept. 3 season opener at No. 2 Montana.

“We’re tired of looking at each other, facing each other,” Laird said. “We’re ready to gear toward Montana. That’s part of fall camp. We’ve seen that throughout 14 practices. Both sides have been able to produce – have good days, have good moments. You’ve seen the other side fight through that to be able to find a way to be productive.”

Scoring Plays

Zach Patterson 44 pass from Miles Fallin (Eddie Godina kick)
Jaheim Walters 65 pass from Zachary Clement (Godina kick)
Godina 37 field goal
Kennieth Lacy 19 pass from Clement (Godina kick)
Godina 28 field goal

Individual Statistics

RUSHING (28-48) – Scooter Adams 9-25; London Williams 4-17; SirMichael Veasley 5-14; Lacy 3-8; Kolbe Burrell 2-2; Fallin 2-(-3); Clement 1(-5); Kaleb Fletcher 2-(-10).

PASSING (16-36-1, 255, 3 TDs) – Fallin 11-20-1 146, 1 TD; Clement 4-10-0 105, 2 TDs; Fletcher 1-6-0 4.

RECEIVING – Patterson 4-56, TD; Jaren Mitchell 3-35; Dylan Fluellen 2-21; Javon Antonio 2-16; Walters 1-65, TD; Ke’Nard King 1-29; Lacy 1-19, TD; Jamel Thomas 1-10; TJ Johnson 1-4.

Defensive Stats

Matthew Broad 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PBU; Ray Gibson 4 tackles; Jacob Washington 3 tackles, 1 PBU; Jared Pedraza 3 tackles, 1 hurry; Jabari Reddock 3 tackles; Kevin Davis Jr. 3 tackles; Jordan Banks 2 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT; PJ Herrington 2 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 PBU; Ty Hall 2 tackles, TFL, PBU; JaQuon Lott 2 tackles, 1 sack; Isaiah Longino 2 tackles, 1 PBU; Kendal Harmon 2 tackles; Danny Sears 1 tackle, 1 sack; Koruth Wilson 1 tackle, 1 sack; Daniel Dufour 1 tackle, 1 PBU; Christian Thomas 1 tackle; Keenan Leachman 1 tackle; Kwame Sarkodie 1 tackle; Trey Williams 1 tackle; John Daigle 1 tackle; William Hooper 1 tackle; Dante Thomas 1 tackle; Kyren Brown 1 tackle; Tory Morgan 1 tackle; Chad Gooden Jr. 1 tackle; Antwon Fegans 1 tackle; Kevondre Burton 1 FR; Cedric Anderson 1 PBU; Isaiah Robinson 1 PBU; Donovan Green 1 hurry

Photo: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services