San Diego 30
Next up: Nicholls (9-3) at Eastern Washington (9-2)
Time/Date: Sat., Dec. 1 – 5 p.m. (ET) | TV: ESPN3
COMPARE: Nicholls vs. Eastern Washington
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chase Fourcade, QB, Nicholls — Had an outstanding game offensively, throwing for 337 yards and 2 TDs on 21-of-31 passing, while also rushing for 82 yards on 15 carries and another 2 TDs — accounting for a total of 419 yards and 4 of his team's 7 TDs.
OTHER STAT STANDOUTS:
Dontrell Taylor, RB, Nicholls – 124 yds rushing, 2 TDs
Damion Jeanpiere, WR, Nicholls – 143 yds receiving, 1 TD
Anthony Lawrence, QB, San Diego – 322 yards passing, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
Michael Bandy, WR, San Diego – 144 yards receiving
Dalton Kincaid, TE, San Diego – 4 TD catches
THE TURNING POINT
Pick your poison. When you know how potent San Diego can be offensively, you need to pile up the points and try to put the Toreros away. With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, Nicholls hung its 35th point on the board in just over 25 minutes of play when Tahj Smith caught a 52-yard pass from Chase Fourcade. Obviously, San Diego rallied in the second half … but it never got past 30 points, and Nicholls continued to pile them up. That second quarter dagger was a big one.
A team without scholarships jumped on a plane and flew 1,500 miles to play an FCS Playoff game — trying to extend its FCS Playoff opening game win streak to three years in a row. Yep, I'm talking about 9-3 San Diego. I mean, think about that? The Toreros had that to overcome when they flew from California to Louisiana for the first round to play a very potent Nicholls team which hasn't been held under 41 points since early October. Nicholls did pounce on San Diego early in this one, but had to hold on for dear life after three consecutive Dalton Kincaid touchdown receptions in an eight-minute span in the second half got San Diego to within 12 points.
So regardless of San Diego losing or not, you have to give props where they are deserved, and the Toreros deserve it.
But now we pivot to the winners. Nicholls knocked off a Kansas team early this year by very nearly the same margin as Big 12 title game bound Texas did this week. That gives you an idea of what the Colonels can do, just like their games in which they scared the dickens out of Georgia and Texas A&M the past two years. The only question with Nicholls has always been, will they overlook this opponent? The answer on Saturday? No they didn't, they respective the trap-door spider like Toreros, which shows the maturity this Nicholls program has now.
Maybe that stunning upset loss to Abilene Christian on Oct. 13 ended that "consistency issue". Maybe the team got fed up with playing "young" and decided to take every opponent as seriously as it does an SEC opponent. Maybe that's it, because this Nicholls team is good — it's quarterback is elite, its defense can big-play the hell out of you and make you pay. And we saw that tonight.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
So now we get another big question — how will a Louisiana team deal with "Cheney Cold". Or will it actually be that cold? You never know. Cheney didn't scare Youngstown State two years ago, but then again YSU is in Ohio. The truth is, this will be a tough road trip for Nicholls to No. 3 seeded Eastern Washington, but it will have more to do the Eagles than the cold. But then again … Nicholls went to Manhattan, Kan. and beat a Big 12 team this year, and it went to College Station, Texas and played pretty well in front of 100,000+ last year. Which Nicholls team will we see a week from today? That's the question. I think I know the answer based on what I saw tonight.