NATCHITOCHES — Robert Walker ran for 106 yards, including a key 3-yard touchdown with 6:46 remaining after Lesley Deamer’s sack, strip and fumble recovery at the Lamar 5-yard line as Northwestern State outlasted visiting Lamar 30-23 in a Southland Conference football game Saturday night at Turpin Stadium.
The Demons (3-3 overall, 1-1 in the Southland) opened a 27-17 advantage on Walker’s touchdown, then added a 20-yard John Shaughnessy field goal, his third of the game, with three minutes left. Lamar (2-4, 0-2) scored on an 8-yard Jordan Edwards reception from Caleb Berry with 36 seconds remaining, but an onsides kick was recovered by NSU’s Trevor Goodie to clinch the outcome.
Deamer had a career-best eight tackles as NSU kept Lamar contained much of the night. The Demons doubled their season sack total with four, and came up with four turnovers, three fumble recoveries.
“Our pressures and good pass coverage combined to have a big impact tonight,” said NSU head coach Bradley Dale Peveto. “Until their last drive, when we were backing off and trying to keep them in front of us, we were close to holding them to 200 total yards.”
The final 10-play drive by Lamar covered 78 of the Cardinals’ 285 total yards.
Walker picked up his rushing yards on 23 carries. Receiver Phillip Harvey added 84 yards on seven carries, including a 26-yard run for an early 10-0 lead, and added a 66-yard punt return that set up Shaughnessy’s final field goal.
Northwestern never trailed while remaining unbeaten at home in three games.
Shaughnessy missed on his first field goal try, a 36-yarder at the end of NSU’s opening series of the game, for only his fifth misfire in his last 25 attempts. He pounded through a 41-yarder to end the Demons’ next possession for a 3-0 lead six minutes into the contest.
Harvey’s TD run out of the wildcat formation came two plays after Damon Medcafe recovered a fumble forced by Anthony Gilbert at the Lamar 28, and put the Demons up 10-0 with 4:01 to go in the first quarter.
NSU appeared to be heading toward a bigger lead when Tyrus McGlothen of Lamar forced a fumble that teammate James Washington scooped up and returned 62 yards for a stunning score 4:45 before halftime, drawing the Cardinals within 10-7.
The Demons responded quickly, going 68 yards in eight plays including a 20-yard Harvey burst on the second snap, and going up 17-7 with 2:11 left in the half on a 4-yard Brad Henderson pass to Tucker Nims.
Lamar took the second half kickoff and closed the gap on a 27-yard Kevin Johnson reception from Berry. The 14-play, 80-yard drive was ignited, when Lamar punter Kollin Kahler fumbled the snap from his own 39, but picked it up and dashed 17 yards to sustain the series.
NSU answered with a 42-yard Shaughnessy field goal at the 4:45 mark of the third quarter, moving ahead 20-14. Lamar’s Johnson raced 60 yards with the kickoff and a 15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on, leading to a 28-yard Justin Stout field goal that brought the visitors within 20-17 with 2:20 left in the third period.
The margin stayed there until shortly after Deamer’s pivotal play, a 15-yard loss on third-and-7. He beat the blocker, dragged down Berry while ripping the ball free and recovering it at the Lamar 5 with 7:28 remaining. Two snaps later, Walker burst into the end zone over right guard for the 27-17 advantage.
NSU managed 310 total yards, only 72 after halftime, against the Southland’s top-ranked defense, allowing 299 yards per contest.
All-America linebacker Derek Rose paced the Demons with nine tackles. Lamar’s Jermaine Longino had a game-high 13.