Riverbell Classic comes with playoff implications for Nicholls and Southeastern

Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:47 PM CDT
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The Southland Conference title isn’t on the line this week, but an at-large bid in the playoffs is. Both the Colonels and Lions have spent the entire season in the top 25, but because of a shortened schedule in the regular season and post-season, both teams still find themselves in need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“The margin for error was so slim, to begin with,” says Nicholls head coach Tim Rebowe. “And they’re cutting down from 24 teams to 16 teams. But the thing is, it’s been a crazy year with us playing, some teams are opting out, and some teams are not playing as many games. So I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks. You just want to win this last one.”

That especially goes for Southeastern, who might need to win convincingly to make their case for a bid.

“This is the playoffs,” says Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo. “You want to keep playing? Win. You don’t win, you’re not going to play anymore. Coach Rebowe knows that. He’s told his team that. I know that, and I’ve told my team that.”

If you’ve seen them play, you know both teams have explosive offenses led by veteran quarterbacks. Cole Kelley and the Lions have put up some huge numbers. His 1,853 yards in the air are third in FCS football. Kelley and Nicholls quarterback Lindsey Scott rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in individual total offense.

Nicholls’ 49.3 points per game also ranks second only behind Sam Houston State’s 50 points per game. So needless to say, there’s a high potential for a shootout in Thibodaux.

Both coaches know this, and both say the key to winning could come down to who has the ball last or who comes up with a timely turnover. Either way, this game is sure to entertain like the many thrilling match-ups we’ve seen between these two rivals before. Nicholls leads the series 15-14 all-time, but Southeastern is hungry for revenge after the Colonels celebrated on the Lions’ field in Hammond the last time they met in 2019.

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