No. 8 Sacramento State downs Nicholls in season opener, 38-24
THIBODAUX, La. – The Nicholls State University football team battled No. 10/8 Sacramento State to a 17-10 deficit in the third quarter but three consecutive touchdowns by the Hornets were more than enough to stave off a late rally, as the Colonels fell, 38-24, Thursday night on Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium.
After trailing 17-3 at the half, an interception and return by Kershawn Fisher in his Colonel debut set up a short Pat McQuaide touchdown run to make it a one-possession game. Sacramento State countered with three long passes to set up two touchdowns, then a bad snap on a punt gave the Hornets a short field and a 38-10 advantage early in the fourth.
Nicholls found the end zone with 7:26 remaining on Jaylon Spears first career touchdown run before Terry Matthews caught an 84-yard touchdown pass from McQuaide in the final minutes for the last score of the night. The Colonels elected to go for an onside kick but it was unsuccessful and the Hornets ran out the rest of the clock.
Sacramento State ended the night with a 441-293 advantage in total yards which helped fuel an impressive 20th consecutive regular season victory. The Hornets controlled the tempo of the game with 49 carries for 185 yards rushing, but the Colonel defense held them to a 3.8 yard per average. But three explosive plays in the passing game came at the right time for the visitors as quarterback Kaiden Bennett finished 11 of 16 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. The first TD went for 40 yards to Jared Gipson on the drive immediately following the Colonels’ third-quarter touchdown.
Nicholls fell into a 17-0 deficit in the first half before putting together a 12-play scoring drive right before the break. Gavin Lasseigne made history with his 30-yard field goal as he moved into sole possession of the program’s all-time scoring list with 225 career points. Lasseigne, a product of Central Lafourche High School, also holds the school record for extra points.
In his first game as a Colonel, McQuaide completed 15 of 29 for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Following Fisher’s 38-yard return on his interception, McQuaide scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard keeper.
The offense finished with 97 yards on 36 carries but 22 yards were negated on a wild snap on a punt. Collin Guggenheim toted the ball 16 times for 74 yards while Spears had nine carries for 42 yards. His TD came on a 3-yard rush up the middle.
Also in their Colonel debuts, Tyren Montgomery (40 yards) and Quincy Brown (22 yards) each hauled in three passes.
Defensively, Ethan Lee registered a team-high 11 tackles for the Red and Gray while a total of seven Colonels logged tackles for loss. One of the biggest TFLs of the night was by safety Tyler Morton was blew up a run in the backfield on third down, resulting in the Hornets having to settle for a field goal.
Kylan Dupre also had a solid night for the specialist, punting seven times for a 45.3 average with three inside the 20. He boomed a 71-yarder in the third quarter for a new career high.
The Colonels will hit the road for their next three games, starting next Saturday (Sept. 9) at TCU. The Horned Frogs are coming off a historic season where they finished as runner-up in the College Football Playoff. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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