NATCHITOCHES — Northwestern State and Missouri State will meet for the second straight year to open the season.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Turpin Stadium in Natchitoches.

The Demons, coached by Baker native Jay Thomas, won last Aug. 29 in a hard-fought 23-17 decision in Springfield in the first meeting in 24 years, rallying in the third quarter, going up on a 51-yard Shakeir Ryan catch and run from Zach Adkins and getting a late defensive stand in the red zone to hold off the Bears.

It’s the White Out Game, and it will be the first time Northwestern State has worn white jerseys in Turpin Stadium history, dating to the first game in the stadium at the end of the 1976 season and the official dedication opening the 1977 campaign.

Northwestern State expects to play at least four or five true freshmen Thursday, and there’s a possibility more could play.

Receivers Cameron Lazare and Bryson Bourque, offensive guard Andrew Bluiett, running back Ronald Green and defensive tackle Josh Roberts are expected to head the true freshmen who get into the action in the opener. Lazare, Bourque and Bluiett are second-teamers on the Demon depth chart, while Green is in the mix to get some touches at running back. Roberts will likely hit the field as a third-team defensive tackle.