Nicholls rolls in 44-13 victory over Prairie View A&M

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THIBODAUX, La. – The Nicholls State University football team put up a stellar performance in the first half, racing out to a 34-0 lead and went on to defeat Prairie View A&M, 44-13, Saturday night at Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium.

The win puts Nicholls at 2-0 at home on the season and 2-1 overall, with the only setback coming against FBS Texas A&M, 24-14, last week. The victory was also head coach Tim Rebowe’s 10th of his career in two-plus seasons.

“I’m proud of the way the guys came out because obviously we had a tough loss last week. We didn’t have any hangover from it and I thought our guys really practiced hard and prepared well this week for it,” Coach Rebowe said. “We knew Prairie View had an excellent football team and could score points. I thought defensively, we did a good job of keeping them off of the scoreboard and offensively, we controlled the clock, the ball and was able to run the football. For us to come out like we did and have the game in control by halftime, I was proud of that.”

The Colonels went into the locker room with a 34-3 lead after Prairie View A&M (0-2) kicked a field goal before time expired. The Colonels had three rushing touchdowns in the half, led by two from sophomore Kyran Irvin. Making his first career start, Irvin led the Red and Gray with a personal-best 113 yards on 19 carries, which was his second career 100-yard game.

As a team, Nicholls piled up 493 yards of total offense with 219 on the ground. Jeremy Rounds also got in on the action, rushing for 55 yards and a score, and Tuskani Figaro came in a quarterback for the first time since 2015, adding 50 yards on four carries.

Chase Fourcade had another solid performance at quarterback, throwing for 248 yards and two scores on 18 of 26. Mason Roberts paced the receivers with a career-high 83 yards, highlighted by a 62-yard touchdown catch that make the score 14-0 in the second.

Irvin found the end zone first for Nicholls, scoring on a 1-yard rush to cap a 5-play, 64-yard drive. The scoring driving was set up by a 42-yard catch by Damion Jeanpiere Jr., his lone reception of the night. Despite his streak of back-to-back 100-yard games coming to an end, he upped his yards per catch on the season to a staggering 40.1 average.

Following Roberts’ long TD grab, Irvin closed out the quarter with a 34-yard score to make it 21-0.

In the second, Nicholls moved the ball through the air, getting back-to-back first downs on catches by Christian Booker and Jarrell Rogers. Booker had an 8-yard grab to move the ball to the 9, setting up Rounds for his first career touchdown run.

The defense continued to cause problems for the visiting Panthers, who put up 31 points last week at No. 3 Sam Houston State. Junior Kenny Dotson led the charge in consecutive drives, recording a sack in each. After Lorran Fonseca booted a 47-yard field goal for the Colonels, Dotson came up with a strip-sack to give Nicholls the ball at the Colonel 24.

Fonseca added a career-long 49-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining in the half before Prairie View answered with a 42-yarder by Zach Elder, putting the score at 34-3.

In the third, Elder chipped in another field goal from 46-yards out to cap a 16-play, 51-yard drive. Dai’Jean Dixon then took over for Nicholls’ offense on the next possession, catching three balls for 41 yards and added a 15-yard pass inference on the defense. Fourcade connected with Dixon on a floating 22-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone to put the score at 41-6.

David McKey tacked on a 21-yard field goal for the Colonels’ final points of the night and Prairie View notched its first touchdown on an 8-yard catch by Zarrian Holcombe with a minute remaining.

The Panthers had 347 yards of offense, but averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and struggled in the passing game. Starting quarterback Lavell McCullers was held to 11 of 27 passing with 122 yards and was sacked four times. Along with Dotson, Terrell Encalade registered his fourth sack of the season and Tyler Johnson added one. The Colonels matched their average of 4.0 sacks, which was fourth best in the FCS heading into the matchup.

Corey Abraham, Evan Veron and Joel Dullary led the team in tackles with six each.

The Colonels will hit the road for their next two games, starting next Saturday at defending league champion, No. 3 Sam Houston State. The Bearkats had the weekend off after defeating Prairie View A&M on the road last Thursday, 44-31.

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