Early Southeastern surge gives Northwestern State first conference loss

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
NSU's Jaylen Watson
Northwestern State junior receiver Jaylen Watson catches a 74-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of a 49-20 loss to Southeastern on Saturday at Turpin Stadium (Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services).

NATCHITOCHES – Southeastern journeyed far and wide on five offensive touchdown drives in the first half as the Lions topped Northwestern State 49-20 on Saturday in Turpin Stadium.

Add a punt block for a touchdown late in the second quarter, and the Lions leaped to a 42-13 halftime edge and never looked back.

The Lions (2-3, 2-1 Southland Conference) engineered five scoring drives of at least 74 yards in the first half aided by numerous big plays en route to 461 first-half yards (13.2 yards per play).

Southeastern scored on its first three possessions with two of those drives containing passes of 58 and 88 yards from quarterback Lorenzo Nunez.

Nunez threw for 253 first-half yards on just 8-of-11 passing with an 88-yard touchdown to Jariah Tolbert and a 58-yard pass to Javon Conner.

Conner’s reception set up a 1-yard touchdown run for Darren Johnson to open the scoring at 7-0.

NSU (1-3, 1-1 SLC) responded with a 74-yard Jaylen Watson touchdown catch from quarterback J.D. Almond to slice Southeastern’s lead to 7-6 with 3:39 left in the first quarter in front of a crowd of 9,073.

Almond threw for a pair of touchdowns in the first half, but once Bobby Chan-Chan reeled in a 32-yard touchdown that was tipped multiple times with no time remaining in the first half, the score cut Southeastern’s lead to just 29 points (42-13).

“This one hurts, I can see it on these kids’ faces,” said NSU coach Jay Thomas. “There’s still a lot of football left, and we’ve got to bounce back, rally and go down to Thibodaux next week to play Nicholls.

“We can play better than this. The Southeastern defensive line was really good, and they handled us up front. Our running game was pretty non-existent, so we had to rely on the pass.”

Almond threw for a season-high 256 yards on 17-of-27 passing with two touchdowns and an interception.

Watson (81 yards on two catches) has three touchdowns in his seven receptions this season.

Chan-Chan caught four passes for 71 yards, marking the second 70-yard performance this season.

“The touchdown before half was a momentum boost for us, one we needed,” said Chan-Chan. “It gave us a chance.
“We’re taught to be where the ball is, and whoever touches it, make the play.”

Southeastern scored on drives of 93, 88, 85, 74 and 92 yards in the first half capped by two Julius Maracalin touchdown runs, Johnson’s 1-yard run, a 2-yard touchdown pass from Nunez to Damien Dawson and Tolbert’s 88-yard catch.

Maracalin tacked on a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for his third score, finishing with 36 yards.

Southeastern’s third-quarter score was set up by a Marcus Cooper 66-yard run. Cooper ran for 140 yards on just seven carries.

NSU redshirt freshman Tyreik Campbell caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from junior transfer Clay Holgersen in the fourth quarter. The score was the first at NSU for both players.

The Lions rolled up 294 rushing yards and 286 passing yards. NSU has allowed at least 200 rushing yards in all four games.

NSU threw for 304 yards with Holgorsen adding 40 yards on 7-of-11 passing. Kenny Sears also saw action late in the fourth quarter.

The Demons continue SLC play at Nicholls on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Cox Sports Television.

CST broadcaster Lyn Rollins, an NSU graduate, was surprised during the broadcast with the Nth Degree, one of the highest honors bestowed on a Demon alumnus.

NSU president Dr. Chris Maggio and athletics director Greg Burke interrupted a halftime interview between Rollins and Burke to make the presentation on the air, honoring Rollins for his 44 years of broadcasting which includes four Louisiana Sportscaster of the Year plaques.

  • < PREV Troy ends LSU non-conference home win streak at 49
  • NEXT > LA Tech downs South Alabama, 34-16