Slow start dooms Nicholls in loss at Lamar

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Nicholls at Lamar football 2022

BEAUMONT, Texas – The Nicholls State University football team fell behind by two touchdowns in the first half against Lamar and the Cardinals would never relinquish the lead as the Colonels suffered a 24-17 loss Saturday afternoon at Provost Umphrey Stadium.

Despite the sluggish start, Nicholls had a chance to gain the lead in the fourth quarter trailing 21-17 and still could force overtime after a Lamar field goal. But the Colonels fell short on a short fourth-down try late in the game and then surrendered a long run on 3rd-and-10 that allowed Lamar to basically run out the clock.

With the loss, Nicholls slipped to 2-7 overall and 2-2 in the Southland while Lamar notched its first win of the season. The Cardinals snapped a seven-game drought in the series and ended a 15-game losing streak that dated back to early last season.

The Colonels had trouble slowing down Khalan Griffin as he totaled 131 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Neither team scored in the opening period before Griffin punched one in for a 7-0 Lamar lead in the second. Then the Cardinal defense scored on a 55-yard interception return by Aaron King off a Kohen Granier pass.

Nicholls pieced together a drive but had to settle for a Gavin Lasseigne field goal before the intermission.

Momentum shifted towards the Red and Gray in the opening drive of the third when Granier found a wide open David Robinson Jr. for a 67-yard touchdown. Robinson led the Colonels with 80 yards on three receptions while tallying his third career touchdown. But Lamar put a screeching halt to the shift by needing only three plays to get the touchdown back as Griffin broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run and pushed the advantage to 21-10.

Later in the third, Nicholls scored on a 16-play, 98-yard drive that was capped on a 10-yard catch by Neno Lemay from Granier. The Colonels faced just one third down on the drive as the cut into the deficit at 21-17.

In the fourth, Lamar added a field goal for a touchdown lead. The Colonels’ final drive ended with less than four minutes remaining when the Cardinal defense stopped KJ Franklin for a 1-yard reception on 4th-and-3. Nicholls had two timeouts remaining with hopes of having enough time to force overtime, but Griffin ran for 19 yards on a third and long to keep the Colonel offense on the sideline. LU turnover it over on downs inside the Colonel 30 with only three seconds left on the clock before a final offensive play by Nicholls was unsuccessful.

The total offenses were evenly matched with Lamar having a 365-344 advantage. Julien Gums rushed for 99 yards on on 21 carries while Collin Guggenheim ran for 55.

Defensively, linemen Perry Ganci and Zack Bernard each had a career-high 13 tackles. Elinus Noel III and Eli Ennis added 1.5 tackles for loss apiece.

Nicholls will have the upcoming weekend off before returning to Guidry Stadium for the final two home games. Nicholls will host Texas A&M-Commerce on Nov. 12 for Military Appreciation Day.

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