After flying high in the first two games, a trip to Cincinnati sent the Northwestern State Demons crashing down to earth.
The Northwestern State Demons suffered a crushing 66-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats Sept. 14, giving up 669 yards worth of offense.
"They were very good, especially up front on both sides of the ball," said Demons head coach Jay Thomas. "We didn't have the same level of sharpness that we had in the first two weeks, but you have to credit Cincinnati for that.”
NSU (2-1) was held to 179 offensive yards as the offense failed to click like it did in its first two games against Missouri State and Southern.
Junior quarterback Zach Adkins could not find a rhythm thanks to the Bearcats’ staunch defense. The Riverside, Calif. native was sacked four times and only threw for 79 yards.
On Cincinnati’s defense compared to the Demons’ first two opponents, Adkins said the difference was, "Just the overall team speed. That D-Line did a great job."
His counterpart, Brendon Kay, had no problems filling in for the injured Munchie Legaux as he threw for 277 yards and four touchdowns. The Bearcat senior displayed his accuracy by completing 12 of his 14 passes---including 11 in a row---during the game.
"Munchie is a dynamic player but they have a bunch of really good players and those guys made a slew of plays tonight,” Thomas said. “Hopefully we can learn from the tape. We were challenged in ways we haven't been, and I was proud that we never pulled up, we kept competing every minute, even if sometimes we were outmanned to some degree."
Cincinnati (2-1) was held to a three-and-out on its first defensive stand, but would score touchdowns on its next five drives, ultimately leading 35-9 at halftime, following Chris Moore’s 47-yard field goal to close out the half.
NSU had to wait deep into the second quarter to put together a scoring drive, but freshman running back De’Mard Llorens finally got the Demons on the board when he scored on a six-yard run to make the score 28-6.
However, the Bearcats would shut out NSU in the second half en route to scoring 31 points the rest of the way.
Cincinnati’s 66 points was the most the Demons gave up since Baylor scored 68 on Sept. 26, 2009 in a 68-13 loss.
After the game, Thomas looked at the positives of the setback.
"You don't burn the tape, you learn what you can and improve,” Thomas said. “There's a whole lot of season left, nine games deep into November, and this was not wasted effort tonight, unless we let it become that. We have a very challenging game at UAB Saturday, and we learned some things tonight and will after watching the tape, that can help us the rest of the way."
Adkins added, “I think it is a reality check for us because we came off these two wins. It is going to help us learn from this and we will come back and work harder."
NSU will complete its slate against Football Bowl Subdivision schools with a matchup against the UAB Blazers in Birmingham, Ala. Saturday at 2 p.m.