“It’s a business trip,” Broussard said. “It’s one of 12 games we play this year. NSU and Natchitoches are special to me, but make no mistake about it, it’s a business trip.”
NSU and Southern will face each for the first time in 11 years, as they renew a rivalry that saw both play for 10 consecutive years from 1993 to 2002. Broussard, who was an offensive lineman for the Demons from 1996 to 1999, wanted to see the Jaguars play more Louisiana teams, leading to the rekindling of the matchup.
“This is the first of three straight years that we’ll play an in-state opponent other than Grambling in the Bayou Classic,” Broussard said. “That’s important to me that we have more of a presence here in Louisiana. We’re willing to make that a focal point over the next few years with our scheduling.”
NSU and Southern will also have a sense of familiarity with each other. Last week, the Demons traveled to Springfield, Mo. and defeated Missouri State 23-17 Aug. 29. The following night, the Jaguars lost to Football Bowl Subdivision foe Houston 62-13 in Reliant Stadium.
“This part of the rivalry is good, because it will be a good early-season benchmark for both teams to measure up where they are,” Broussard said. “It’s a good matchup for a lot of these guys who went to high school with each other or played at rival high schools.”
With Turpin Stadium likely being filled to its full capacity of 15,971, it will not be anything new for Southern who generally plays in bigger crowds for neutral-site games against other Historically Black Colleges and Universities or their home games---Southern ranked ninth in Football Championship Subdivision attendance last year. However, it will be a different acclimation.
“Anytime you play in front of a sold out stadium, it makes for a great fan experience,” Broussard said. “It’s not an experience that we are unfamiliar with because we played in front of an average of 16,602 last year. But it’s going to be a unique environment, because most of the stadiums that we play in in our conference that are this small aren’t always sold out.”
Broussard is fond of his times at NSU where he worked under Demons athletic director Greg Burke and NSU alumni association executive director Chris Maggio. Yet, with state bragging rights on the line and the possibility to get a leg up on recruiting, he hopes that Southern can come away with a victory at the expense of his alma mater.
“My ties to the university are strong and there’s some great people there,” Broussard said. “If there’s any consolation, I certainly hope NSU goes 11-1 this year. But it’s my responsibility to make sure there’s a one in that loss column. That’s where our focus is going to be this weekend.”