Northwestern State will try to keep its Southland Conference title hopes alive Saturday against explosive Central Arkansas.

Both Northwestern and UCA have one conference loss and are trailing Southland Conference-leading Sam Houston State (8-0, 5-0 SLC).

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Turpin Stadium in Natchitoches. WBTR (Cable Ch. 19 in Baton Rouge) will televise the game.

The winner can stay in the league race and make a run at an at-large berth into the FCS playoffs.

Defense has been key for Northwestern State (5-3, 3-1). The Demons have allowed only seven touchdowns in their last five games, six in the four Southland Conference games.

The Demons have yielded 13.5 points per game is second to the 8.2 permitted by Sam Houston in SLC games.

For the Bears (6-3, 5-1 SLC), the game is their final conference game of the season with only a nonconference home contest against Texas State remaining. The Bears have averaged 33.2 points in SLC games.

In other state games Saturday, Louisiana College hosts McMurry at 1 p.m., Nicholls State visits McNeese State at 2 p.m., Grambling travels to Jackson State at 2 p.m., Tulane visits SMU at 2 p.m., and Louisiana Tech goes to Fresno State at 9:30 p.m.

NICHOLLS STATE AT MCNEESE STATE: The Cowboys host the Colonels in a game where both teams need a win badly.

McNeese (3-5, 2-3 Southland Conference) is looking to snap a four-game losing streak, its longest since 1996. Meanwhile, the Colonels (1-7, 0-4) have lost seven straight.

McNeese is playing only its 10th afternoon contest at Cowboy Stadium since it opened in 1965. The game time was moved so as not to confilct with the LSU-Alabama game.

Nicholls, meanwhile, is coming off an open week.

“The bye week was much needed,” Colonels coach Charlie Stubbs said. “I wish it could have come a little earlier with all of our injuries, but we are prepared to make that final push for the season. We have three games remaining and we expect to play well.”

LOUISIANA TECH AT FRESNO STATE: The Battle for the Bone pits two sets of Bulldogs meeting in Fresno, Calif. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Louisiana Tech (4-4, 3-1 WAC) has a half-game lead on Fresno State (3-5, 2-1) as both teams still have a chance to win a WAC championship.

“You want to play significant games in November,” said Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes. “Here we are in November with four games left against quality teams. The outcome of these games will be meaningful and you want to get to a point where every game played in November means something.”