Preview: Northwestern State vs. Texas Tech

Final look at the season opener for the Red Raiders.

The last time Northwestern State and Texas Tech met out on the gridiron, it was a blowout, beat down, destruction of the Demons by the high-flying Red Raiders, 75-7, in 2007.

Now in 2012, the Red Raiders and Demons are much different teams.

Tech is looking to start the season in the right direction following a season to forget, going 5-7 and missing the post season, while Northwestern State is coming off an unsatisfactory season as well going 5-6.

Despite both of the squads coming off tough seasons, Tech quarterback Seth Doege said they expect the Demons to give them everything they can handle, even with it being a non-conference matchup.

"Those guys are excited.  The guys that are coming in, Northwestern State, they're excited to play us," he said. "Like I said, I don't think fear us at all.  I think they're going to come in and give us their best shot.  They don't have anything to lose.  It's a non‑conference game.  So I think the more excited we are, the better we'll play."

Looking at the Red Raiders, everyone knows what weapons they return in 2012 with the return of Eric Stephens, Alex Torres, DeAndre Washington and more from injuries from the 2011 campaign.

Also the depth at the wide receiver with the addition of Javon Bell, one of many junior college transfers to keep an eye on in the opener, and also have Eric Ward, Darrin Moore and Jace Amaro back as well.

But the key to the Tech offense of course will be Doege, who is on four pre-season award watch lists, and is expected to have a huge senior season as he returns as the most accurate passer from the 2011 season in all of college football.

With all the experience the Red Raiders return in 2012, so do the Demons as 18 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters are juniors and seniors.

Even with all of that experience coming back, it is expected we will see seven first-year offensive players take the field against Tech, including true freshman Pace Murphy.

Transfers will help the Demons also has they went out and got three players from the Big 12 Conference including wide receiver Sheldon McLain from Oklahoma. Northwestern State also picked up Corey Simmons a tight end from South Carolina.

So despite being an FCS school, there is a lot of talent on the roster that has played on the big start in two of the most powerful conferences in the country, the Big 12 and SEC.

Tech senior safety D.J. Johnson expects a lot of different looks from the Demons offense including some run and pass as well.

"They look like a lot of run, 22 personnel, 12 personnel, and 11.  They do some 10 personnel, but they're more with the run game, powering it, two tight ends," he said. "From what I've watched, they like to use their tight end and like to throw deep balls and that quarterback will let it go.  So that is something that we have to be aware of, just not giving up big plays."

On the defensive side of the ball one player to watch is senior linebacker Derek Rose, Buck Buchanan Award Watch List member, who is a two-time All-American.

Outside of the game and all the festivities that surround college football, this week was arguably hard for a lot of the Demons players as they had to leave Louisiana early with Hurricane Isaac bearing down on the gulf earlier this week.

Despite having that kind of distraction, Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville expects a quality game from the Demons in The Opening weekend.

"But you'll have some guys that will have their mind on some other things for a few days, anyway, and hopefully everything's fine, and everybody can get everything cleared out, and we can have a good game and they can get back safely," he said.


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