September 23, 2018

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No. 17/18 Colonels Open 2018 campaign at Kansas

THIBODAUX, La. – The Nicholls State University football team is kicking off its 47th season with the program’s first-ever meeting against Big 12 member Kansas. Nicholls has a 21-25 record all-time in season openers after ending a five-year skid with its win over McNeese in 2017. Before last season’s victory, the five losses came against FBS programs (Georgia ’16, ULM ’15, Air Force ’14, Oregon ’13, and South Alabama ’12).

• Tim Rebowe will begin his fourth season at the helm of the Colonel program. Rebowe has a 16-18 overall record after leading Nicholls to an 8-4 mark last year. Rebowe inherited an 18-game losing streak in 2015 and after five losses to start his career – two which came down to the wire, he snapped the skid at 23 games. Nicholls went 3-8 in ’15 and 5-6 the next season. All five wins in the campaign were in conference play, leading to the team’s first winning season in the SLC since 2005. Last year, Nicholls went 7-2 in league play and made the FCS playoffs for the fourth time in team history, and hosted a playoff game for the first time ever.

• Nicholls enters the 2018 season ranked in both preseason polls – the Coaches and the STATS FCS. The Colonels, who received votes in the 2017 preseason edition, came in at No. 17 in the Coaches and No. 18 in the media poll. Nicholls cracked the top 25 last year, marking the first time since 2007 that the Colonels were a ranked team. Despite ending the year on a two-game losing streak, the Red and Gray closed out the year ranked in both polls.

• The Colonels have played an FBS program in every season since 2005 and at least two in each year except ’05, ’08, and ’17. Their last win was in 2013 when they defeated Western Michigan, 27-23, and they also picked up victories over Arkansas State (2001) and Rice (2007). Although the Colonels post a current nine-game losing streak against FBS teams, three of the last matchups were decided in the fourth quarter or overtime. Nicholls led Georgia in the third quarter before falling by two, and lost on a missed two-point conversion in overtime at South Alabama in 2016. Last year, Nicholls tied the game against Texas A&M in the fourth quarter before the Aggies scored 10 unanswered points.

• Nicholls returns a total of 18 starters from last season –  eight each on offense and defense, and two on special teams. Two-year starter QB Chase Fourcade will lead the offense and has his top two receivers from 2017 – Damion Jeanpiere, Jr. and Dai’Jean Dixon, and the two leading rushers – Kyran Irvin and Dontrell Taylor. The offensive line, which features All-Southland honorees Ryan Hanley and Chandler Arceneaux, lost only one starter. On defense, all-league DLs Kenny Dotson and Sully Laiche return, as well as the top two tacklers on the team – All-SLC selections LB Allen Pittman and S Corey Abraham. Kicker Lorran Fonseca leads the specialists after making team-record 19 field goals in his first season.

BY THE NUMBERS
 Nicholls has not played any team currently in the Big 12 Conference, but does have a pair of matchups against former members. The Colonels played Big 12 member Nebraska in 2006 and were defeated, 56-7. In 2015 in Coach Rebowe’s first season, the Colonels were blanked at Colorado, 48-0.

7 – Nicholls added seven FBS transfers to the sqaud this season. Joining the team are OL Alex Anderson (Texas), DB Jerrion Burton (New Mexico St.), RB Kendall Bussey (Texas A&M), DB Alonzo Craighton (Minnesota), DL Emanuel Dayries (Arizona State), WR Gabe Fuselier (UL-Lafayette), and TE Bry’Kiethon Mouton (LSU).

14 – The Colonels led the Southland Conference with a total of 14 players named Preseason All-Southland, and had the most first-teamers with 10. Ten of the selections were automatic from being named All-SLC last season.

19 – K Lorran Fonseca ranked 1st in the FCS with 1.58 field goals per game last season and made 19 field goals – breaking Jose Bran’s single-season record of 16 set in 1990. He also set the Colonel single-game record with 5 field goals in a win over Abilene Christian.

90% – The rushing attack ranked second in the Southland in yards (200.2 ypg) last season, and the Colonels return 90% of the production. Leading the way are Kyran Irvin (All-SLC 2nd Team/764 yards/8 TDs) and Dontrell Taylor (464 yards, 4 TDs).

106 – With 115 players listed on the official 2018 roster, the Colonels eclipsed the century mark with Louisiana natives this season with a 106. Last year, Nicholls had a Division I-best 97 players from the state.

SCOUTING THE JAYHAWKS
• Kansas went 1-11 last season and 0-9 in conference play. The lone win for the Jayhawks came in their season opener in a 38-16 home victory over Southeast Missouri State.

• KU is in its fourth season under head coach David Beaty, who has a combined 3-33 record. In addition to the win over SEMO, Beaty has led KU to victories over Rhode Island and Texas.

• The Jayhawks have played three FCS teams with Beaty as head coach, posting a 2-1 record. In his first career game, KU was defeated at home by South Dakota State, 41-38, in 2015. They followed up with wins in their next two openers over Rhode Island (55-6) and SEMO.

• KU named Peyton Bender as its starting quarterback for the 2018 season opener. Bender threw for 1,609 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior last season.

• Heading the Kansas defense is All-Big 12 linebacker Joe Dineen, Jr., who led the FBS with 7.6 solo tackles a game last season. He finished with 137 stops and set a school record with 25.0 tackles for loss.

• Although Nicholls does not have any players from the state of Kansas, the Jayhawks feature eight players from Louisiana. The most notable Pelican State native is Hahnville’s Pooka Williams, Jr., who was named New Orleans Metro Player of the Year last season.

A WIN OVER KANSAS WOULD…
… give the Colonels its second straight season-opening win. Tim Rebowe is 1-2 in openers.
(0-47 at ULM in ’15, 24-26 at Georgia in ’16, 37-35 McNeese in ’17).
… give Nicholls a 22-25 all-time record in season openers.
… be the first win in team history against a program from a Power 5 conference.
… snap a 9-game losing skid against FBS teams.
…give Coach Rebowe his first win over an FBS team (0-5).
… be the Southland’s eighth victory over an FBS team this decade. McNeese claimed two of the wins, while Central Arkansas has the last victory (vs. Arkansas State, 2016).
… improve Coach Rebowe’s overall record to 17-18.
… be the fourth win over an FBS team since 2000.

ON THIS DATE IN COLONEL HISTORY …

• The Colonels post a 4-2 record on Sept. 1. Their most significant win was a two-point victory over FBS Rice in ’07. In the victory, Lardarius Webb tied the school record with three interceptions, including a 32-yard TD return. It was Webb’s first game as a Colonel.

 YEAR  OPPONENT W/L SCORE H/A
1979  Arkansas-Monticello  W 37-7 H
1984  ULM  L  13-6 H
1990  McNeese  W  31-24 H
2001  UL-Lafeyette  L  20-0 A
2007 Rice W 16-14 A
2011 Evangel W 40-0 A

LAST OUTING
Nov. 25, 2017
No. 18/16 South Dakota 38, No. 22/RV Nicholls 31

THIBODAUX, La.  – Playing in its first-ever home playoff game, the Nicholls State University football team fed off of its electric crowd to take South Dakota down to the wire, but a fumble at the goal line in the final seconds ended the game as the Colonels were defeated, 38-31, Saturday night at Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium.  (RECAP)

QUICK NOTES FROM 2017
– At 8-4, Colonels had first winning season since ’07
– 7-2 was most SLC wins in program history
– Made fourth appearance in FCS playoffs, first since ’05
– Hosted first-ever playoff game and had highest attendance of first-round games (9,612)
– Defense had 10 interception by nine different players, with Austin Dickerson leading with two
– Team ranked sixth in FCS in 4th down conversions (69.2%) and seventh in defensive touchdowns (4)
– Posted the 19th-ranked rushing offense (200.2 ypg)
– Finished ranked in both top 25 polls
– Six-game winning streak was longest since 1986 (8 games)

TOTAL ECLIPSE
The Colonels have had one of the most impressive turnarounds in the FCS over the last few years. From 2011-14, Nicholls won six games, with four being non-Division I, and a 0-12 season in ’14 capped the tenure.  Tim Rebowe was introduced as head coach a day after the ’14 finale, which was the program’s largest margin of defeat in Southland play (59-point deficit) in team history. The loss also extended the Colonels’ losing streak to 18 games, but Rebowe led his squad to a win over Houston Baptist in Year 1 to end the streak at 23. After guiding the Colonels to a winning conference record in 2016 at 5-4, the first since 2005, Nicholls earned an at-large berth in the 2017 FCS playoffs after going 8-3.

STREAK BUSTING
Along with ending the program’s longest losing skid, the Colonels have recently put to rest several other lengthy streaks. A win at Lamar in 2015 ended a 17-game road winless streak and the Colonels have since added six road wins. In 2016, Nicholls defeated Stephen F. Austin in double OT to snap an 8-game drought in the series, and then went on to road the next season to knock off the Lumberjacks for just the fourth time in 18 trips to Nacogdoches. In last year’s season opener, a last-second field put an end to an 8-game streak against McNeese. Despite the several exercised demons, Sam Houston State still holds an 11-game winning streak in the series and Central Arkansas has won the last eight.

LOUISIANA’S BEST
The Louisiana Sports Writers Association hands out yearly awards for the state’s best collegiate players and coaches which include FBS programs LSU, Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette and LA Tech. For 2017, Nicholls had eight players named All-Louisiana, led by first-team DL Kenny Dotson and K Lorran Fonseca. Landing on second team were OL Chandler Arceneaux, QB Chase Fourcade, WR Damion Jeanpiere, Jr., DL Sully Laiche, LB Allen Pittman, and P Tyler St. Germain. But headlining the award winners was head coach Tim Rebowe, who was named Louisiana Coach of the Year.

GNOSAC AWARDS
Along with winning LSWA Coach of the Year, Tim Rebowe was also recognized by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee by being named Outstanding College Coach for the State of Louisiana. He was one of five individuals to be honored in their respective categories, and joining him was Kansas Jayhawk rookie Pooka Williams. A star at Hahnville High School, Williams was selected Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete. Recent winners for the male award include NFL’s Leonard Fournette (2x winner) and Tyrann Mathieu.

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
After head coach Tim Rebowe lost his first two meetings against FBS programs by a combined score of 95-0, the Colonels have dropped their last three games against FBS schools by a combined 13 points. The Colonels started 2016 with a 26-24 loss at No. 9 Georgia, despite holding a lead in the third quarter. Two weeks later, South Alabama scored in the final seconds to force overtime, and the Colonels attempted a 2-point conversion on the final possession of the extra period but came up empty in a 41-40 loss. Last season, Nicholls tied Texas A&M in the fourth quarter before the Aggies scored 10 points to thwart the upset bid.

UP NEXT
Nicholls heads 60 miles east to take on Tulane for the first time in school history. Kickoff on Sept. 8 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Fans can order tickets by contacting the Nicholls Athletics Ticket Office at 985-448-4790 or on NichollsTickets.com.

By: Nicholls State University

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