After Nicholls State University’s first offensive possession ended with a turnover, very little went wrong for the Colonels in their non-conference win over Prairie View A&M.
Looking to start the game with a big play, Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade threw an interception on his first pass attempt. Fortunately for the Colonels, their defense didn’t allow the Panthers to gain any momentum off the turnover. With the defense forcing a three-and-out, Fourcade and the offense found a rhythm as Nicholls scored 31 unanswered points before the Panthers made a field goal right before halftime.
With a huge lead, Nicholls turned to its running game to chew up yards and clock, while its defense didn’t give Prairie View much hope of making a comeback. In its final non-conference game of the season, Nicholls put together a dominating performance in defeating Prairie View, 44-13, on Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools and the win improves the Colonels record to 2-1 overall.
“I was proud of how the guys came out. Obviously, we had a tough loss (to Texas A&M) last week but we didn’t have any hangover and the guys practiced hard all week,” Nicholls coach Tim Rebowe said. “We knew Prairie View had a good team and they could score some points. Defensively, we did a good job of keeping them off the scoreboard. Our offense controlled the ball and controlled the clock, so for us to come out and be in control of the game by halftime, I was really proud of them.”
After the early turnover, Fourcade engineered a 5-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Kyran Irvin for a 7-0 lead with 10:04 left. It was the first of three first-quarter touchdowns for Nicholls as Fourcade found Mason Roberts on a 62-yard touchdown pass and Irvin scored on a 34-yard run for a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter.
The Colonels added to their lead with 9-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Rounds followed by field goals of 47 and 49 yards by Lorran Fonseca for a 34-0 advantage with 56 seconds left before halftime.
The Panthers (0-2) didn’t cross midfield until the second quarter and on their final possession of the first half, Zach Elder made a 42-yard field goal for a 34-3 score going into halftime.
“Going into the game, we have these plays called openers. Throughout the week we try to pick the best 10 plays to start the series. It was the second play called and I didn’t get what I wanted but I should’ve thrown it away,” Fourcade said of the interception. “We overcame that and I think after that turnover we started to make plays. The defense played a great game holding them to three points in the first half. It was a good team win and we are not done yet. We have more work to do to get ready for Sam Houston (State) next week.”
Prairie View made it 34-6 on a 46-yard field goal from Elder with 6:50 left in the third quarter, but Nicholls got a 22-yard touchdown reception by Dai’Jean Dixon and a 21-yard field goal from David McKey to take a 44-6 lead with 12:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Prairie View added the final touchdown on on an 8-yard pass from Jalen Morton to Zarrian Holcombe with one minute left play for the 44-13 final.
The Colonels finished with 493 total yards and 27 first downs, while the Panthers were held to 347 yards and 19 first downs. With both running backs Dontrell Taylor and Mason Boudreaux injured, Irvin carried the load and finished with a career-high 113 yards on 19 carries.
Fourcade finished 18-of-26 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Roberts had a career-high 83 receiving yards on four receptions.
Prairie View starting quarterback Lance McCullers, who had 280 total yards in the Panthers season opener, was held to 5-yard rushing and 127 total yards in the loss.