Nicholls defeats McNeese, 24-14, for 3rd consecutive win

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Over the last two fall seasons, the Nicholls State University football team has amped up its play in November, and Saturday against McNeese was no different as the Colonels earned a third consecutive victory with a 24-14 win in Cowboy Stadium.

Dating back to the first of two championship seasons, the Colonels (5-4, 4-2 SLC) have won their last 10 games in the month of November. The victory over McNeese (3-6, 2-4 SLC) also ended a six-game skid on the road in the series against the Cowboys, dating back to 2008.

Freshman Collin Guggenheim turned in his third consecutive 100-yard game to lead the offense, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns. His second TD came early in the fourth quarter which gave Nicholls a 21-14 advantage.

The Colonel defense followed with their lone turnover of the day when Kevin Moore III delivered with a forced fumble, recovered by Tahj Brown. The offense answered with an eight-minute drive, capped on a short Gavin Lasseigne field goal. Trailing 24-14 and needing two scores, McNeese got the ball back with 50 seconds remaining but time expired after reaching the Nicholls 8-yard line.

Moore and Ty’Ree Evans headed the Colonel defense with nine tackles and Zack Bernard recorded a forced fumble on a strip sack that resulted in a punt. Evans also had a big play with the Colonels leading 14-7 in the third, stopping Cowboy quarterback Cody Orgeron short on a 4th-and-2 rush from the 7.

Nicholls was able to move the ball early against the McNeese defense, but after a punt, had three consecutive drives end on turnovers. Two were via quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. on interceptions, and then Guggenheim lost the ball on one of his 22 carries on the day. Kohen Granier subbed in on the next possession and finished the game under center. He threw for 152 yards and a touchdown on 8 of 14 passes, and added 39 yards rushing.

McNeese scored first after a short punt gave them the ball at the Colonel 36. Nicholls answered right before halftime on a Guggenheim 3-yard rush. The drive was set up on a long 40-yard pass from Granier to Dai’Jean Dixon, who finished with two receptions for 45 yards.

To start the second half, a pair of 20-plus yard plays – a catch by Dontaze Costly and a run by Guggenheim – set up another touchdown drive. From the 14, Granier tossed a perfect pass in the corner of the endzone to K.J. Franklin, who leaped and hauled it in for his fifth touchdown catch of the season.

McNeese responded before the end of the third, scoring on a 2-yard run by Mason Pierce. However, Nicholls regained the lead on the following drive on Guggenheim’s second TD.

The Colonels’ game-clinching drive traveled just 55 yards but took up 8:11 off the clock. McNeese had three crucial penalties to keep the drive going – a pass interference, an illegal participation on a punt and a face mask on third down. While the teams were nearly identical in offensive yards, 367 (Nicholls) to 352, the Cowboys were flagged 13 times for 179 yards. The Colonels had only three for 25.

Other leaders for the Colonels included Al’Dontre Davis with 56 yards receiving on two receptions, and Jarius Monroe had two breakups for the defense.

Nicholls will play its final home game of the regular season, hosting UIW on Saturday, Nov. 13. The Cardinals defeated Southeastern Saturday, moving them into a tie for first place at 5-1. Nicholls is in third at 4-2 and will take on both teams to finish the year.