Career passing effort by Fourcade lifts No. 23 Nicholls over UIW, 38-31
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Behind a career-high 358 yards passing from sophomore Chase Fourcade and 100-yard receiving efforts by Mason Roberts and Dai’Jean Dixon, the Nicholls State University football team scored 31 points in the first half and hung on for a 38-31 victory over UIW on Saturday at Benson Stadium.
The win secured the Colonels’ first winning season since 2007, putting the Red and Gray at 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the Southland. With the loss, UIW slipped to 1-7 and 1-5.
“I’m really proud of the effort by our guys. We came out after a tough road trip and anytime you can win on the road in this conference, it’s really good,” said Nicholls head coach Tim Rebowe. “We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We thought we had a good lead in the second half, but we gave them a little momentum and let them get back. Overall, the effort was fantastic from our players; they knew what we had to do. We have three games left and a lot to play for.”
Nicholls never trailed in the contest, scoring on their first drive on a 68-yard pass to Roberts. The Colonels led 14-0 after the first quarter and 31-14 at the break following their third interception return for a touchdown of the season, this one for 57 yards from Laryon James.
The lone touchdown in the second half for Nicholls came on a highlight 55-yard catch by Dixon. A freshman from New Orleans, Dixon shed a few tacklers before finding the end zone for the second time in the game.
Trailing 31-14, UIW added two touchdowns in the final quarter, with the last coming with 45 seconds remaining in the game. The Cardinals attempted an onside kick, but Roberts, the lone Texas native on the roster, secured the football off of a bounce to seal the win.
Fourcade needed just 18 completions for his second career 300-yard game. In addition to his two long touchdown passes, the Rummel graduate also hit his high school teammate, Damion Jeanpiere, Jr., for a 50-yard catch. Fourcade came into the matchup ranked eighth in the FCS with 15.1 yards per completion.
While the run game was limited to 77 yards, Kyran Irvin found the end zone on a 4-yard rush that gave Nicholls an early 14-0 lead. The touchdown was set up by the Colonels’ longest rush of the day as punter Tyler St. Germain ran for 23 yards on a fake punt at midfield.
UIW’s first score was in the second quarter on a 20-yard catch by Phillip Baptiste. Nicholls answered with a 33-yard field goal by Lorran Fonseca for a 17-7 advantage; however, UIW’s Desmond Hite returned the kickoff 100 yards for his third touchdown of the season.
The scoring continued in the quarter as Nicholls took advantage of two UIW turnovers. With the Colonel defense applying pressure inside the UIW 10, quarterback Sean Brophy tried to get rid of the ball but passed it backwards, and it was recovered by Darren Evans. Fourcade then lobbed a pass into the back corner of the end zone and Dixon came down with it for an 8-yard score.
James’ interception happened with a minute remaining. The pass was tipped into the air right into the sophomore’s hands and he sprinted 57 yards for the touchdown.
UIW’s first two scores in the second half were on a touchdown rush by Ra’Quanne Dickens and a 45-yard field goal from Jose Perez.
Dixon had four receptions for 100 yards receiving, while Robert had three grabs for 106. Jeanpiere finished with four catches for 89 yards.
The defense was led by Corey Abraham with 11 tackles and Marcel Andry added a sack-fumble.
The Colonels will look to finish undefeated at home as they play their final game at John L. Guidry Stadium Saturday, Nov. 4 against Houston Baptist. Kickoff for Senior Day is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
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