The Nicholls soccer team comes from back-to-back Southland Conference championships and three consecutive trips to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, including first-round wins from the past two years.
And while quarterback Chase Fourcade will have to be replaced, expectations remain high for Colonels and sixth-year coach Tim Rebowe after finishing 9-5 and 7-2 in the Southland Conference.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL:Nicholls State football starts with several types of spring training
Nicholls returns some key players, has rostered 18 Football Bowl Subdivision transfers, was picked to win the Southland Conference and is ranked # 8 (Athlon Sports) and # 15 (Hero Sports) in two Football Championship Subdivision polls.
The Colonels open their seven-game spring schedule with Division II’s Lincoln University of Missouri on Friday at 6 p.m. The remaining six games are opponents from Southland.
Rebowe recently said that former Zachary High star Lindsey Scott Jr. will get the start as quarterback in the opener. Scott has played at LSU, East Mississippi Community College and Missouri.
Three players to watch
RB Julien Gums (5-10, 230, Jr.): The crushing New Orleans product emerged as the No. 1 back for Nicholls from an experienced and talented group. He earned one season program points for rush yards (1,232) and rush touchdowns (16) and tied the one-season record with five 100-yard rushing games. With the Colonels possibly relying even more on their running race this season, Gums could have a massive year ahead.
WR Dai Jean Dixon (6-4, 200, Sr.): In his first three seasons with the Colonels, the New Orleans native caught 130 passes for 2,286 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is about to break all three records of former Colonels and NFL player Mark Carrier, who had 147 receptions for 2,709 yards and 24 scores from 1983-86.
Safety Kevin Moore III (6-0, 205, Sr.): The Lafayette native came over from Texas Tech last season and had a breakout year. He became a first-team All-SLC player after adding 112 tackles (73 solos), with three forced fumbles and two interceptions before being named 2019 Louisiana Sports Writers Association College Football Newcomer of the Year in a season in which LSU has a National Championship.
Three big games
March 13 in Sam Houston State: The Colonels have had their fight against the Bearkats in the past with an 11-22-1 overall record, falling in Huntsville, Texas, their last time there in 2019 with a 17-0. Sam Houston was a close runner-up in the SLC preseason polls and the game has had a major impact on the title lately and could be the same this season.
April 3 in McNeese State: Former Nicholls player and coach Frank Wilson is the Cowboys’ new coach and has led the program through the devastating aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta that split six weeks in 2020 and left Lake Charles and the McNeese campus in ruins lie. The Cowboys have a 31-13 series advantage against Nicholls, but the Colonels won 34-30 last season. It’s always an emotional game, but maybe even more so this year.
April 10 at home vs. Southeastern Louisiana: To close out the 2019 season, the River Bell Classic had the most dramatic ending in the history of the 29-game series, with the Colonels forcing a fumble on the goal line in the closing seconds and recovering for a 28-way win. -27 to secure Nicholls a share of the SLC title and automatic playoff berth of the conference. It also gave Nicholls a 15-14 series lead over what has become his biggest rival.
There is no reason why the Colonels cannot win another Southland title. With Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian, Stephen F. Austin and Houston Baptist all recording after the decision to play in the fall, the road may not be as daunting as a normal season, but it won’t be easy.
Still, the Colonels have the talent, experience, and coaching to be there at the end of the season, possibly with their only misstep on March 13 at Sam Houston State.
That would leave Nicholls at 6-1 and 5-1 in the SLC and another excellent spot for either the SLC’s automatic bid or one of five at-large bids on the reduced 16-team FCS playoffs, scheduled to begin in April. 24.
Fans in the stands
Only 3,000 fans are admitted to home games at Guidry Stadium.
Nicholls’ athletics department encourages fans to purchase match tickets in advance to guarantee seats.
For information, call 985-448-4790.
To buy tickets online, go to https://nichollstickets.universitytickets.com/?cid=184
Band in the Stands
The Pride of Nicholls Marching Band will be in attendance for all home games this season, but will not be hosting halftime shows.
However, the band will perform from the stands while maintaining a social distance policy.
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