THIBODAUX, La. – The No. 13/14 Nicholls State University football team raced out to a 32-point lead over No. 18/19 San Diego early in the third quarter Saturday and held off a late rally to win its first playoff game in 32 years, defeating the Toreros, 49-30, Saturday evening at John L. Guidry Stadium.
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. It marks only the second time the Colonels have won in the playoffs, with their first coming in 1986. Kickoff in Cheney is scheduled for 4 p.m. central.
Southland Conference Player of the Year Chase Fourcade led a trio of stars on offense, completing 21 of 31 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns while adding 82 yards rushing and two more scores. The Colonels had 606 yards of total offense, with Dontrell Taylor recording his fourth 100-yard game on the ground with 124 yards and two touchdowns. Damion Jeanpiere, Jr. fueled the passing game with 143 yards and a TD on seven receptions.
On defense, the Colonels allowed only one first-half touchdown to the Toreros, who came into the game ranked 10th in the nation in scoring. But their Walter Payton Award finalist quarterback Anthony Lawrence caught fire after the intermission, adding three more touchdown passes to extend his nation's best total to 39.
Nicholls has dominated the opposition in the first half during its winning streak, and Saturday was no different. Both teams scored on their opening drives, but the Colonels then took a 21-7 lead after first-quarter touchdown runs by Taylor and Fourcade.
San Diego (9-3) chipped into the deficit with a field goal before Nicholls added a rushing touchdown from Julien Gums. Fourcade then hit Tajh Smith for his first career touchdown for 52 yards, sending Nicholls into the break with a 35-10 lead.
The Colonels scored again on the opening drive of the third quarter on a Jeanpiere 17-yard touchdown catch for a commanding 42-10 lead. However, the Toreros made a late push to make the game interesting.
San Diego pulled out a few trick plays, scoring on a reverse flea-flicker as Lawrence found Dalton Kincaid wide open for a 38-yard touchdown. Kincaid caused problems all night for the Colonel defense, finishing with four touchdowns on just six receptions (87 yards). Three came in a span of eight minutes between the third and fourth quarters, making the score at 42-30.
But San Diego had trouble slowing down the Colonel rushing attack all night, as Nicholls ran the ball 10 of 12 plays on its next possession to all but put the game away at 49-30. Fourcade had a 10-yard rush in the drive and ended it with a 13-yard keeper with 8:53 remaining. The Colonels rushed for 269 yards in the win, reaching 200-plus for the fifth-straight game.
San Diego went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and turned it over on downs in the final minute to end the game.
While the defense did not record a sack for the first time this season, it allowed only nine yards rushing on 14 carries.
- The nine wins are the second most in team history (10 in 1986).
- The program's only second playoff win (Appalachian State, 1986) in five appearances.
- Chase Fourcade needs just 89 yards to break the program's all-time passing record (Doug Hudson, 7,670 yards).
- Senior Damion Jeanpiere, Jr. climbed up to No. 2 on the all-time receiving yards list (2,302).
- Sophomore Dai'Jean Dixon moved into ninth on the career top-10 receiving list with 1,224 yards.
Nicholls will play No. 3 seed Eastern Washington next Saturday (Dec. 1) at 4 p.m. The Colonels and Eagles have met just once before, with Nicholls winning at home, 37-14, in 2004.
Posted on Tue, November 27, 2018
by The Lafourche GazetteNicholls State Athletics