Northwestern State can’t cash in on chances in loss at No. 23 Grambling
GRAMBLING – Northwestern State couldn’t cash in enough of its offensive opportunities as the Demons end their Lincoln Parish road trip with a second loss in a 23-10 decision at No. 23 Grambling.
The Demons (0-2), who lost in the opener to Louisiana Tech, turned five possessions in GSU territory into just 10 points.
The backbreaker came early in the fourth quarter when a J.D. Almond interception spoiled a drive the Demons started on the GSU 42 following a bad punt. The Tigers protected its 20-10 lead with De’Aumante Johnson’s interception with 11:49 remaining.
“That was a key part in the game when we had an opportunity to steal the momentum,” said NSU coach Jay Thomas. “We could have put ourselves in position to win, but we had an unfortunate interception at an unfortunate time in the game.
“But we can’t get discouraged by not making enough plays today. We will work our tail off to get things corrected.”
Grambling (1-1) took advantage of a handful of explosive plays to support an offense that gained 435 yards.
The Tigers had three plays of at least 50 yards in three different drives that totaled 13 points.
Running back Martez Carter rushed for 138 yards and contributed another 63 receiving to total 201 offensive yards.
He turned a swing pass into a 60-yard jaunt on the game’s first play that set up his 2-yard touchdown run.
“We made some adjustments at halftime that helped, but we’ve got to keep continuing to work on technique and tackle better,” said defensive end Zak Krolczyk of a unit that held GSU to six second-half points. “We proved that we can hold teams down when we clean up the little things.”
The Demons found success through the air with quick passes, but Grambling forced the first of two turnovers with a sack fumble of Almond on NSU’s first possession.
Outside of the pair of turnovers, Almond was fairly efficient by completing 21-of-34 for 241 yards and a touchdown
After GSU tacked on an 18-yard Marc Orozco field goal for a 10-0 edge in the middle of the first quarter, the Demons cracked the scoreboard.
Almond found Marquisian Chapman on a 14-yard corner route for Chapman’s first career touchdown to cut GSU’s edge to 10-7 with 14:52 in the second quarter.
But more Grambling big plays allowed the Tigers to grab a 17-7 advantage after a 24-yard touchdown from Devante Kincade to Darrell Clark.
Kincade threw for 231 yards on just 13-of-20, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt.
The NSU defense held Grambling to two field goals in the second half, but the Demons mustered just a 34-yard field goal from Austyn Fendrick.
That field goal came with 14:05 left in the game on a drive that stalled in the red zone thanks to a negative rush and an incomplete pass. Fendrick just missed a 54-yard attempt in the first half.
The Demons rushed for just 42 yards on 30 carries.
Senior Cameron Lazare led all receivers with 70 yards on eight catches. Bobby Chan-Chan contributed 56 yards on three catches with Chapman adding 56 yards on three catches.
“We came out prepared in the first half and was able to throw well,” Chan-Chan said. “Grambling made adjustments in the second half, and they did a great job.
“But we’ll learn from this game and be ready to open conference play against Lamar.”
NSU welcomes Lamar to Turpin Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Demons home opener.
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