HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Nicholls State.
NICHOLLS STATE (8-4)
The Southland (NSU was T3rd in Southland in 2017)
COACH: Tim Rebowe – 4th year (16-18 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 28.3 ppg (42nd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 25.2 ppg (55th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Just short of two years ago, a young Nicholls team traveled to Athens, Ga. to play what most SEC nuts would consider "a tune-up scrimmage against one of those little schools". Well, if that was a scrimmage, maybe the Georgia Bulldogs and Kirby Smart would rather schedule a high school team because the Colonels — led by their true freshman quarterback Chase Fourcade — nearly knocked off the Bulldogs between their vaunted hedges. It wasn't an abberation, as the next year, Nicholls was tied with Texas A&M with seven minutes left in the game in front of 100,000 stunned Aggies fans. This program can elevate its game.
Flash forward to this year, and this program has 16 starters back coupled with an All-American kicker on special teams, and it won 8 games last year and made the playoffs. The bottom line? HERO Sports No. 15 ranked Nicholls not only is going to be a serious contender for the Southland Conference title (keep an eye on that Sept. 22 home game against Sam Houston State) but the Colonels may do some serious damage in the FCS Playoffs, too.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The sky is the limit here. While the SEC near-wins of the past two years were probably a tad bit out of reach (at least on paper, ahead of time), this year's road trips to moribund P5 team Kansas and to 5-7 Tulane look winnable on paper. But of course, they're FBS games and could just as easily end up losses. Then that Sam Houston State home game looms large after the Colonels head-scratchingly gave up 66 points to the rival Bearkats in 2017. If you chock up last year's peaks and valleys to youth, then you'd think a seasoned team like this could end up stunning the FCS and Division I football world if it stands 4-0 on Sept. 22. That would all but seal up the Southland Conference by October while also propelling the program deep into the FCS Top 10. That's the ceiling here for this talented team — it is there for the taking. But can Nicholls take that next, monster step? We think so.
TOP RETURNEE: QB Chase Fourcade (2,316 yards passing 14 TDs)
THE NEXT BEST: WR Damion Jeanpiere (770 yards receiving, 4 TDs); LB Allen Pittman (80 tackles, 6 TFL); NT Sully Laiche (9.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 26 tackles); DE Kenny Dotson (12.5 TFL, 38 tackles); OL Chandler Arceneaux (2nd Team All Southland); OL Ryan Hanley (2nd Team All Southland); PK Lorran Fonseca (19 FGs); RB Kyran Irvan (764 yards rushing, 8 TDs); DB Corey Abraham (79 tackles, 6 TFL).
TOP NEWCOMER: TE Bry'Kiethon Mouton (LSU transfer).
DID YOU KNOW?: In Nicholls' 26 years of playing in the Southland Conference, it has only won 57 league games — but 7 of those victories came last year, if that gives one any idea how strong the program is right now.
THE QUOTE: "Our guys always want to prove they can play with the big boys. I like the attitude they can win big games. If you can have depth on both the offense and defensive lines, that’s where you have a chance to win." — coach Tim Rebowe told the Port Arthur News
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GeauxColonels
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @GeauxColonels
— Nicholls Colonels (@GeauxColonels) July 19, 2018
FCS QB TRANSFERS: Who Tops The List?