NATCHITOCHES - After allowing only two field goals and an average of just 172.5 yards per game in the last two outings, Northwestern States Purple Swarm defense is drawing comparisons to the tenacity it displayed in 2002-04, when NSU ranked among the nations leaders each season. The Purple Swarm defense and the entire NSU team face a big test at home Saturday night when Sam Houston State visits Turpin Stadium in the Southland Conference opener for both teams. Kickoff is 7 oclock in a regionally-televised (FSN Southwest) matchup between schools that shared the 2004 SLC title. The Bearkats (2-2) use a spread offense that will rely on talented running back D.D. Terry and a rapid-fire passing game, said Demons coach Scott Stoker on Wednesday. Terry ran for 85 yards last week at Texas, piling up more yards rushing by himself against the Longhorns than did the entire offensive units from Ohio State, Iowa State, Rice or North Texas. "Theyre extremely challenging to defend," said Stoker. "Terry is a heck of a back and they do a great job with a different scheme that you dont often see. They wont take a snap behind center in any circumstance and it presents some different problems for the defense. "Our guys realize the stakes are high. Its the conference season now and weve had a really good approach in practice this week," said Stoker. "Hopefully we can get another good performance by the defense." Despite opening the season against two BCS-member Big XII Conference foes, Northwestern (2-2) is allowing only 255.3 yards per game and ranks 19th overall in Division I-AA in total defense. The Purple Swarm is ninth nationally in rushing defense, giving up only 89 yards per game. The Swarm is 36th in I-AA in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 112.5. Most important, Northwestern hasnt allowed a touchdown in the last two games, giving up only two field goals, one in each win. The deepest penetration by Delaware State or Arkansas-Monticello was to the NSU 11. Otherwise, neither foe got closer than the Demons 28. Its been 30 seasons, going back to 1977, since the last two-game stretch in which Northwestern allowed only six points. Coach A.L. Williams squad beat Stephen F. Austin 20-6 on Sept. 24, then blanked Northeast Louisiana 13-0. That came during a remarkable five-game stretch where the Demons allowed only 23 points and notched shutouts over NLU and Lamar. Those Demons finished 6-5. The single-digit allowances vs. Delaware State and Arkansas-Monticello give the Purple Swarm 10 games under Stoker in which theyve held an opponent to under 10 points.