The Demons aim for redemption and a happy Homecoming this Saturday October 19, 2013 at 6 p.m. in Turpin Stadium, Natchitoches, La.

Northwestern State has to put to rest its stumble out of the gate in the Southland Conference race, with an explosive Southeastern Louisiana squad incoming for the aptly-named Homecoming game for the Demons.

NSU has been on the road for four of its first six games, traveling for more than 4,000 miles ( the equivalent of a Natchitoches to Anchorage, Alaska journey). The Demons will play at home in Turpin Stadium for four of their last six games.

None appears any more challenging than Saturday’s matchup with Southeastern, which is averaging 35.5 points and 479.2 yards per game. Scoring on the Lions carries a threat, since they lead the FCS with a 30.4 kickoff return average fueled by Xavier Roberson, tops nationally at 38.3 per return this year, 36.7 for his career with 3 TDs. The Demons hope for their fourth straight Homecoming win.

Sizing up the Northwestern-Southeastern series

The Demons are hoping to post their third win in four seasons over the Lions and sixth in the most recent 10 meetings between the teams, since SLU resumed football in 2003. NSU fell 27-22 at Strawberry Stadium last year, Ron Roberts’ first as the Lions’ coach. The Demons posted a 51-17 victory for homecoming 2011 in Turpin Stadium, the same season that started with Roberts’ Delta State team leading 17-0 but falling 24 -23 at NSU when a late two-point conversion pass didn’t connect.

Northwestern leads the series 29-27. The rivalry dates back to 1935 and has included conference games in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association/ Louisiana Intercollegiate Conference, the Gulf States Conference, the Gulf Star Conference and the Southland Conference.

Looking back at last year’s Lions’ win in Hammond

There were plenty of NSU shortfalls contributing to last year’s loss at SLU.

The Demons missed an extra point for the first time all season. They had a punt blocked for the second time in 2012. They lost dynamic returner/receiver/wildcat back Phillip Harvey to a knee injury shortly after halftime, and by then, top rusher Rob Walker was already sidelined with a blow to the back on his second carry. They were down to only two starting offensive linemen. Picking up two early turnovers netted only three points.

But the prevailing factor was the performance by the Lions. NSU trailed by double digits three times, but a 1:15-long, 62-yard hurry-up drive ending with quarterback Brad Henderson’s 8-yard keeper with 4:08 remaining brought the Demons back within five points. NSU couldn’t threaten again.

Via [Doug Ireland]