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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Colonels win Southland opener at SFA, 48-30

Colonels win Southland opener at SFA, 48-30

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The No. 9/13 Nicholls State University football team scored touchdowns on five of its first six drives and rushed for 291 yards in the game to knock off Stephen F. Austin, 48-30, Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium.

With the win, Nicholls improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in Southland play. The win was the fourth consecutive in the series against Stephen F. Austin (0-4, 0-1 SLC) and the first road-opening league win since 2010.

Sophomore Julien Gums led the rushing attack with his third career 100-yard game and first for the Colonels this season, totaling 135 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 22 carries.

Chase Fourcade scored twice on the ground, tacking on 59 yards rushing and Jeremy Rounds found the end zone for the first time in 2019, adding 72 yards on nine carries.

Fourcade had another efficient outing in the passing game, completing 14 of 18 for 176 yards and a touchdown. His lone TD pass came early in the second quarter to Stefano Guarisco for 14 yards. Guarisco finished with four catches for 51 yards.

The Colonels only trailed once for the night after SFA scored on the game's opening drive. But the Colonels answered with a 21-yard score by Gums and Guarisco snuck to the corner of the end zone for his TD catch for a 14-7 lead.

Nicholls held the Lumberjacks to a pair of Storm Ruiz field goals in the red zone in the second quarter before Rounds ended a 75-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run, making the score 21-13. The teams then traded touchdowns with Trae Self finding Xavier Gipson for a 47-yard touchdown catch, and the Colonels countered with a 9-yard rushing touchdown by Gums.

SFA ended the half with another Ruiz field goal, putting the count at 28-23 Colonels.

Nicholls opened the third with another touchdown drive. Fourcade called his own number and ran untouched for a 19-yard score on a draw.

While the Colonels had trouble slowing down SFA's offense, they delivered three game-changing stops in the second half. The defense pitched another shutout in the third quarter, stopping a 4th-and-short try when Kevin Moore IIIdelivered a big hit on a short completion for a turnover on downs, preserving the 35-23 lead.

In the fourth, Kevin Johnson denied a fake punt pass with a tackle short of the line of gain, and with Nicholls leading 35-30 with 6:21 to go, Allen Pittman, who had eight tackles, stuffed a 4th-and-1 on a Cam Arnold draw up the middle.

The Colonels added a 6-yard rushing TD by Fourcade and following a Laryon James interception, Gums made the finale with his third rushing touchdown.

Nicholls will head back to Texas for the third consecutive week, ending its nonconference slate against FBS Texas State on Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is San Marcos is scheduled for 6 p.m.