Colonels pull away from Lamar, 50-27

Published 12:20 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

THIBODAUX, La. – For the second week in a row Lamar University held a first half lead, but the nationally ranked Nicholls Colonels used a strong second half to pull away for the 50-27 victory Saturday at Guidry Stadium.

The Cardinals (1-4/0-3 Southland) finished the day with 361 yards of total offense, but Nicholls ended the night with 613 – the majority of which came in the second half. Senior Darrel Colbert, Jr. completed 10 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown – a 44-yard pass to Mason Sikes. Junior A.J. Walker led the Cards’ ground attack with 12 carries for 77 yards, while Colbert had 19 rushes for 60 and a score.

Senior Davon Jernigan led the Cardinals’ defensive effort with seven unassisted tackles, including two more interceptions. It marks his third pick in the team’s past two games.

“Nicholls is a very good football team,” said LU head coach Mike Schultz. “We knew that coming into this game. This is a very physical team and they pushed us around at times. I’m proud of the fight in our guys. No matter what the score was our men never quit fighting.”

LU forced a stop on Nicholls’ first possession of game, but on LU’s opening drive Colbert’s third-down pass went through the hands of the receiver ricocheted off the defender and came down into the hands of Austin Dickerson who returned it 26 yards for the game’s first score. The Cardinals cut into the lead on their next possession driving the ball 50 yards on 10 plays that ended with a career-long 47-yard field goal from Elvin Martinez.

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Big Red’s defense stripped the ball and recovered it near midfield. The Cardinals took advantage of the miscue and scored on a two-yard plunge from Colbert. The scoring drive was set up by a 38-yard pass from Colbert to sophomore Zae Giles down to the Nicholls’ 24-yard line. The TD gave the Cards their first lead of the game.

The Cardinals’ defense came up with another turnover when Jernigan picked off a pass – his first of the day – on the first play of next series. The interception was made on the Nicholls 43, but LU couldn’t take advantage. Nicholls answered the missed opportunity with a scoring drive but missed the extra-point attempt. The Colonels got the ball back and were driving but Jernigan stepped up to record his second interception of the half – and third in the past two games. The pick set up and 44-yard touchdown pass to Mason Sikes for a touchdown to give LU back the advantage, 17-13, with 9:37 remaining.

The Colonels managed to reclaim the lead midway through the second quarter, and pushed their advantage to 10 points, 27-17, with just over four minutes remaining. Nicholls kept the drive going after converting a 3rd-and-10 from their own 20-yard line. On the very next play Nicholls Julian Gums carried the ball 68 yards through traffic for the score. Both teams had an opportunity in the final 2:30 of the half but neither could move the football as LU went into the locker room down 10, 27-17.

The Cardinals took advantage of their opening drive of the half moving the ball into Nicholls’ territory setting up a 48-yard field goal for Martinez (27-20). It marked the second time in the game that Martinez set a career-long in the game. Unfortunately, the Colonels pushed their advantage to 14 points on the next drive.

The Colonels took a 21-point lead late in the third quarter when Nicholls’ quarterback Chase Fourcade hit Dontaze Costly from 41 yards out. Big Red scored the final points of the game on an eight-yard run by junior Jordan Hoy which was set up by a fumbled punt return. The game was called with 2:04 remaining due to lightning in the area.

The Cardinals will be back in action Saturday, Oct. 13 when they host the Southland’s other Cardinals – Incarnate Word. The game against UIW will kick off at 3 p.m. from Provost Umphrey Stadium.