Northwestern State capped preseason football camp Saturday morning with a 105-play scrimmage in Turpin Stadium as the Purple Swarm defense notched five sacks, three by junior college transfer end Tremaine Whittley, and snatched two interceptions.
There was no tackling allowed in the 1:45-long competition with 75 plays from scrimmage and 30 snaps in the kicking game.
The defense allowed only three scores and no plays longer than 24 yards, a turnaround from the first major scrimmage a week earlier when the offense connected on several long pass plays.
“I liked a lot of what I saw on both sides of the ball, and in the kicking game,” said fourth-year head coach Jay Thomas. “We are where we need to be. The coaches will be able to make the depth chart decisions and we’ll be able to decide what younger guys are going to play and which will be redshirted. We’ve had a very good camp.”
Three quarterbacks combined to complete 21 of 40 passes for 169 yards, including Joel Blumenthal’s six-yard swing pass to redshirt freshman Jared West, who made a nice cut to evade a tackler and score.
Nine receivers had catches, with senior Tuff McClain (4 receptions, 58 yards), junior Bryson Bourque (4-40) and junior Bobby Chan-Chan (4-27) setting the pace.
Eleven ballcarriers totaled 96 yards on 35 carries, led by Blumenthal (6 carries, 30 yards), a junior, and senior running back De’Mard Llorens, who scored on a 12-yard run.
Eric Piccione booted a 27-yard field goal set up by a 24-yard connection between graduate transfer Brooks Haack (10-20-1, 92 yards) and McClain.
Manny Mukes and Eric Waters recorded interceptions, with Waters making his in the end zone. There were no fumbles.
Whittley and linebackers Shawn Stephens and Zak Crolczyk led the defense with four tackles.
The offense drew eight penalties for 60 yards, while the defense was cited for one pass interference call by the Southland Conference officiating crew working the scrimmage.
After taking Sunday off, the Demons start classes Monday and resume practice Tuesday afternoon.
They open the season Friday, Sept. 2 at Baylor in a nationally-televised (Fox Sports 1) contest, then come home to host Incarnate Word on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 in the annual White Out Game to kick off Southland Conference action.