NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Similar to its previous loss, the No. 13/11 Nicholls State University football team allowed the opposition to take control in the second quarter and the Colonels were never able to erase the deficit, falling 43-31 to McNeese on Saturday afternoon at Cowboy Stadium.
Nicholls (4-2, 3-2 SLC) looked primed to put an end to its decade-plus long drought in “The Hole” by taking a 14-3 lead after a quarter of play, but the Cowboys responded with the game’s next three touchdowns.
The teams traded touchdowns twice in the second half before McNeese (3-3, 2-3 SLC) scored the game’s final points on a 67-yard run by Deonta McMahon with 10 minutes remaining.
The Nicholls offense followed with a punt, a turnover on downs, and then the Cowboys put any chance of a comeback to rest with a late interception.
Nicholls outgained McNeese for the game, 562-541, led by quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. with 137 yards rushing on 28 carries. Scott also threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns but completed just 26 of 53 passes and had two turnovers.
After missing last week, Julien Gums returned in a big way, totaling 121 yards rushing and a score on just only 12 carries.
However, the Colonels had trouble keeping McNeese out of the end zone as Cody Orgeron finished with 354 yards passing and four touchdowns, misfiring on just seven passes on 27 attempts. Josh Matthews and Mason Pierce each hauled in two TDs and had over 100 yards receiving, and Trevor Begue was closed behind at 94 yards.
In the opening quarter, the Colonels found the end zone first on a 10-yard catch by Dontaze Costly.
McNeese answered with a field goal and right before the end of the period, Scott and Dai’Jean Dixonhooked up on a 2-yard score.
Matthews helped spark a McNeese touchdown drive with a 42-yard catch to start the possession. While the Colonel offense stalled with three straight punts in the second quarter, the Cowboys went up 24-14 after a rushing touchdown and an 85-yard strike to Pierce.
Nicholls was able to put together a drive before the break, capped on a 26-yard field goal byGavin Lasseigne.
McNeese started the second half with a 28-yard touchdown reception by Matthews.
Nicholls answered with a long 15-play drive that chewed up over six minutes, scoring on an 8-yard rush by Gums to trim the deficit to 31-24. The Colonel defense received a much-needed stop to start the fourth, but KJ Franklin gave up the ball on a punt return inside the Nicholls 20.
Two plays later, Orgeron and Matthews connected again for a 13-yard touchdown. Scott led Nicholls to its final touchdown, completing passes of 19, 12, 15, 18 and 11 yards.
The last two went to Dixon as the Colonels needed just 1:31 to make it a 37-31 game. On the next possession, McNeese was a play away from a three-and-out when McMahon broke free on a 3rd-and-2 rush and took it the length of the field to push the lead back to two scores. McNeese missed the two-point conversion, but the defense got two stops before intercepting a Scott pass on 4th-and-long.
Kevin Moore III led Nicholls with six tackles and four other players had five. The Colonels were unable to get a sack or an interception in the loss, but did have two fumble recoveries. Franklin paced the Colonel receivers with 76 yards on four receptions. Costly also had four grabs for 72 yards, and Dixon hauled in seven for 69 and two scores.
UP NEXT: Nicholls will host Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, April 10 for the annual River Bell Classic. The Colonels have won the last two, including the thrilling 28-27 win in Hammond in 2019. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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