Nicholls, Rebowe earn respect with playoff win
With the victory, Nicholls (9-3) extends its winning streak to five games and advances to the second round to play at No. 3 Eastern Washington.
The job that Tim Rebowe has done in Thibodaux is second to none at the FCS level. He has taken a traditionally losing program and turned it into a winner by recruiting excellent players, almost exclusively from South Louisiana. He has done it by hiring an excellent coaching staff. He has created fan interest.
Rebowe has his Colonels in the FCS playoffs for the second consecutive year, quite an accomplishment.
A year ago, Nicholls came close but fell just short, losing at home 38-31 to South Dakota in the playoffs.
The difference between this year and last year is that Nicholls entered the postseason on a downer after losing to Southeastern 21-17 the previous week to the playoffs in 2017. This year, the Colonels are playing their best football, having won four straight games in dominating fashion entering the FCS playoffs. Make that rive straight.
With its 49-30 win over San Diego Saturday, the Colonels won for just the second time ever in the playoffs. The last time that occurred was in 1986. You get the picture.
Nicholls has a diverse offensive attack, led by junior Chase Fourcade of Archbishop Rummel, one of four prominent Raiders on offense for the Rebels. One of the others, Damion Jeanpiere, caught seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Jeanpiere is second all-time in Nicholls history with 2,302 receiving yards.
Fourcade has matured into one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the FCS ranks.
The Southland Conference Player of the Year is making better decisions. His accuracy has improved. His running ability has improved annually. Fourcade is just 89 yards short of establishing a new all-time passing yardage record in Nicholls history with 7.670 yards.
On Saturday, he completed 21-of-31 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 82 yards and two additional scores. The Colonels bludgeoned the San Diego defense to the tune of 606 total yards.
The three-headed monster of Dontrell Taylor, Kendall Bussey and Julien Gums at running back is as good as any in the nation at the FCS level and the offensive line, anchored by senior Ryan Hanley of Rummel, is very good. Nicholls has run for 200 yards or more in five straight games.
Now, it is on to Cheney, WA to take on Eastern Washington on a red playing field at Roos Field. Nicholls will travel 2,385 miles to play next Saturday afternoon. As of now, the forecast for next Saturday in Cheney is for snow. To say that the Colonels will be fish out of water would be accurate.
With a win next Saturday, the Colonels would reach 10 wins, tying the most in the school’s history, set in 1986.
While the Colonels will be seeing red throughout, so will the Eagles. They will be facing one of the hottest teams in the country, a very good team. In the five-game win streak, the Colonels have scored at least 40 points in each of those five wins while outscoring opponents 229-85 over that stretch.
The Eagles are 10-2, losing only to Weber State in the Big Sky Conference, where they finished second. The other loss was to a highly ranked FBS team in Washington State.
It will be a long trip and a tough task but with a stout running attack and on a roll, do not discount these Rebels. They have earned our respect.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…