Next game up: Colonels set to host SFA

The formula for success for the Nicholls State University football team is simple at this point.

Win two games in the next six days and finish with no less than a share of the Southland Conference Championship and likely secure a second consecutive berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Step 1 is set for 3 p.m. Saturday when the No. 16/17 Colonels (6-3 overall, 5-2 in the Southland Conference) host Stephen F. Austin from Manning Field at John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux.

“They are all big,” Nicholls coach Tim Rebowe said of the next game. “The games get bigger and bigger and we had the approach that the playoffs began a couple weeks ago. We are still taking it one game at a time. We are looking forward to a good weekend. The weather is supposed to be fantastic. We need all the support from the students and the community and make this a tough place to play on Saturday.”

Step 2 would be for the Colonels to top Southeastern at 6 p.m. at home on Thursday in the River Bell Classic, but for now, the Nicholls focus is on Stephen F. Austin (2-6 overall, 2-5 in the SLC)

“We know we have to just keep focusing on one game at a time,” Nicholls offensive lineman Eddie Houston said. “We are excited for this one .”

The Colonels, winners of two in a row, are coming off a 41-20 victory over Houston Baptist, while the Lumberjacks are coming off a 24-17 loss to Lamar. The only two wins for SFA this season  came against conference foes Abilene Christian and Houston Baptist.

But Rebowe said no matter the record, the Colonels must be ready for the Lumberjacks.

“Our guys know Stephen F. Austin is a good football team,” Rebowe said. “You throw out the records. You don’t look at any of that. You look at who they played and how they played them. We know they will come in and give us their best effort and our guys will be ready.”

Here are some other things to look for in the game, which can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on 100.3-FM and 1600-AM:

LUMBERJACKS LEADERS

Leaders for the Lumberjacks this season are quarterback Jake Blumrick (122-of-199, 1,465, 5 INT, 8 TD), running back Josh McGowen (64 carries, 309 yards), wide receiver Terian Goree (50 catches, 532 yards, two TDs) and safety Alize Ward (50 total tackles).

FAST STARTS

Nicholls has gotten off to quick starts in its last two wins (over Incarnate Word and Houston Baptist) and  Rebowe said it was good to see.

“We have talked about it on offense and defense, coming out of the gates fast,” Rebowe said. “We have done a good job of doing that the last two weeks. The good thing is we have been able to get touchdowns.”

POUNDING THE ROCK

Nicholls has found lots of success running the ball this season and has been led by Dontrell Taylor, who has rushed for 582 yards for an average of 8.3 yards per carry to go with four scores. The Colonels also rolled up a season high 616 yards of offense last week.

“On offense, we want to run the ball like we have been,” Houston said. “As a group, the O-line is clicking right now. Everybody is back, everybody is healthy and our running backs do a great job of running the ball hard.”

GAINING GROUND

SFA may own a 25-9 series advantage over the Colonels, but Nicholls has won two in a row.

GOOD AT GUIDRY

Nicholls has won eight regular season home games in a row and can make it eight in a row with a win over SFA.

PUTTING PRESSURE

The Colonels, who have the No. 1 scoring defense in the SLC at 22 points per game, are second in all of FCS with 81 tackles for losses this season (nine  per game) and junior defensive lineman Sully Laiche is second in all of the FCS with 24.5 careers sacks.

CHASING HISTORY

Nicholls junior quarterback Chase Fourcade has nine combined touchdowns in his last two games (six passing and three rushing) and has 63 combined TDs for his career. Fourcade needs four more to break the all-time combined TD record held by former Colonels quarterback Doug Hudson (66).

This season Fourcade is 152-for-254 for 2,058 yards passing, 14 TDs and 6 INTs and has added 350 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground.