Northwestern State (0-0) at Lamar (0-0): The Matchup, Players to Watch, Keys to Victory, Prediction

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Northwestern State (0-0) at Lamar (0-0)

When: 3 p.m. Saturday at Provost Umphrey Stadium in Beaumont, Texas. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The Matchup: NSU coach Brad Laird begins his third season at the helm of the Demons squad that regressed on defense and in the win column in 2019. Laird is trying to re-establish a once-proud program to the top of the Southland Conference. The administration may be expecting to see measurable improvement this year.

The Blane Morgan era finally begins in Lamar. While the Cardinals are only two years removed from an appearance in the FCS playoffs, they have been short on talent in key areas. Morgan recently signed a nationally-ranked recruiting class and the future is looking brighter in Beaumont.

Players to Watch: Northwestern State lost most of its top yardage producers on offense from 2019. However, the Demons have one of the top linebackers in the country with former Sherman High School standout Ja’Quay Pough. The Texas Tech and Trinity Valley transfer led the Demons with 109 tackles in 2019.

Lamar also lost the majority of its key skill players from 2019 which gives Morgan a blank slate to implement his system. One returning player to keep an eye on is senior Kirkland Banks who led the Cardinals with 506 yards receiving in 2019.

Key to Victory: Lamar will need to contain the Demons explosive offense. The NSU passing attack has put up over 3,000 yards in the last two seasons with Laird in charge. The Cardinals should be able to move the ball and put some points on the board against a defense that has ranked at the bottom of the Southland in recent years.

Prediction: Lamar by 3

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