No. 16 Colonels stays atop Southland standings with 47-14 rout of SFA
THIBODAUX, La. – Needing a win to stay in the hunt for the Southland Conference championship race, the No. 16/17 Nicholls State University football team continued to dominate the opposition at home with a 47-14 victory over Stephen F. Austin Saturday night at Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium.
Nicholls improved to 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the Southland, remaining in a first-place tie with UIW, which clinched at least a share after defeating Central Arkansas. The Colonels can claim a share of the title and secure the automatic bid to the FCS playoffs with a victory Thursday night in the River Bell Classic against rival Southeastern Louisiana.
The Colonels stayed undefeated at home with a 4-0 mark and have outscored the opposition, 172-69, in the four games. Nicholls is averaging an astounding 540 yards a game while surrendering just 350 per game at Guidry Stadium.
Junior quarterback Chase Fourcade had another historic outing, throwing for 261 yards and matched his career high with four touchdowns passes. In doing so, Fourcade broke the program’s record for touchdowns responsible for with 67, surpassing Doug Hudson’s 66 (1983-86). He also joined Hudson as the school’s only 7,000-yard passers while also rushing for 67 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau.
Nicholls nearly doubled SFA (2-7, 2-6 SLC) in total yards, 536-270, using another balanced attack on offense. Dontrell Taylor rushed for 77 yards and a score on 13 carries, and Kendall Bussey added 64 yards and had a 48-yard touchdown catch. Nicholls averaged just under five yards per carry and racked up 275 on the ground.
Dixon led the receivers with five receptions for 98 yards, highlighted by two touchdown catches in the opening quarter. Damion Jeanpiere, Jr. also had a strong outing with two grabs for 74 yards.
Defensively, Nicholls was ferocious on its home turf once again, totaling three turnovers, five sacks and nine tackles for loss. After going without an interception over the last three games, Evan Veron and Corey Abraham each had one, with Abraham’s coming on SFA’s first offensive play.
Fourcade threw two touchdowns to Dixon in the first quarter, an 11-yarder on the opening possession, and a 38-yard strike with 4:52 on the clock for a 14-0 lead. SFA answered with a drive to the Colonel 37, but Sully Laiche forced a fumble on a sack and recovered the ball for the turnover.
In the second, the defense pinned SFA deep in its own territory after back-to-back sacks by Hezekiah White and Veron. On the ensuing possession, Gabe Fuselier caught a 4-yard pass on a fourth-and-1 in the red zone and followed up with a 7-yard TD catch for a 21-0 lead. Before the break, a 39-yard catch by Jeanpiere set up a field goal 22-yard Lorran Fonseca field goal as time expired for a 24-0 advantage.
SFA got on the scoreboard with a 6-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to start the third, but Nicholls answered right back. Taylor rushed for 31 yards and received an additional 15 on a facemask, and capped the possession with a 2-yard score.
Before the end of the quarter, Veron’s interception led to another touchdown drive by the Colonels, with this one ending on a 4-yard rush by freshman Julien Gums for a 37-7 lead.
The scoring in the fourth was started on Jake Blumrick’s second 2-yard touchdown pass for the Lumberjacks. Nicholls responded once again with a score as Bussey caught a short screen and ran 48 yards for a touchdown. With the second unit in for the offense, Fonseca added a 26-yard field goal to make the final.
Austin Dickerson led the defense with six tackles, and Laiche had five with 2.5 for loss. Ronald Ollie had a sack and 2.0 TFLs, and Ahmani Martin and Kenny Dotson teamed up for a sack.
Nicholls closes out the regular season Thursday, Nov. 15 in the River Bell Classic against rival Southeastern Louisiana. A win would give the Colonels a share of the Southland title, just its second in program history, and their second-straight trip to the FCS playoffs.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. For tickets, call 985-448-4790 or visit NichollsTickets.com.
- < PREV No. 7 LSU holds off Arkansas for 24-17 win
- NEXT > Dancy, Defense lead LA Tech past Rice, 28-13