Big plays plague Lions in 51-17 loss at Northwestern

 After a bye week, the Lions (1-5, 0-3) entered Saturday’s contest versus Northwestern State (4-3, 3-1) at Turpin Stadium looking to end a two-game losing streak and earn their first conference win of the season. The Demons would prove to be too much as the Lions fell 51-17, falling to 1-5 on the year.

The Demons quick start and big plays put the game out of reach early for the Lions. In the first 15 seconds of the game, the Demons scored first off of a Lions miscue when safety Jamaal White jarred the ball loose, forcing a Lions fumble and saw his teammate, linebacker Lamont Simmons, scoop the ball for a 24-yard return.

The ensuing kickoff by the Demons came out aggressive with an onside kick and recovery, leading to a 44-yard field goal by kicker John Shaughnessy. After a three and out, Demon running back D.J. Palmer carried the ball 82-yards for another score. The Lions trailed 17-0 only 4:25 into the game.

“It started out bad and it stayed that way,” said Lions head coach Mike Lucas. “We fumbled the ball on the first drive and let it get away from us.”

With 4:07 left in the first quarter, the Lions trailed 24-3, and the offense continued to stall throughout the quarter. Junior quarterback Brian Young set new career highs in passing yards (355) and completions (27) with senior wide receiver Brandon Collins catching five of his passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

The big play and special teams would hurt the Lions again coming out of the half as Demon wide receiver Phillip Harvey opened the third quarter with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The Lions gave up another big play in the third quarter when Henderson completed a 37-yard pass to tight end Justin Aldredge and Morris ran for a 11-yard touchdown with less than 5:00 remaining in the third, bringing the score to 48-10.

The Lions would add their final score of the evening when Young completed his second touchdown pass of the night to senior wide receiver Kory Theodore, completing an eight play, 64-yard drive at the end of the third quarter.

Defensively, the Lions were led by sophomore linebacker Ricky Irvin and junior defensive end Devan Walker with 10 tackles each and junior cornerback Robert Alford with an interception.

The Lions return home Saturday, Oct. 22 versus Texas State in Strawberry Stadium.