Thibodaux, La. -- Despite overcoming a 10-point deficit in the 4th quarter and fighting down to the wire, South Dakota ended Nicholls season on Saturday 38-31. Four Nicholls turnovers were the difference in the ballgame-- none more costly than the fumble at the goal line in the final 30 seconds.
"I saw #22 and Kyran make contact," said Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade. "I thought he got in but like I said, I thought he was down. I didn't see the ball come out. I just saw everyone jumping on the ball. But like coach said, we can't leave it on the refs. We had other opportunities."
Most of those missed opportunities came in the first half, which included two of Fourcade's 3 interceptions. Both of those turnovers led to South Dakota touchdowns.
"You can't turn the ball over in the redzone against a good football team," said Nicholls Head Coach Tim Rebowe. "We left some points out there on the board and still all that and we still had a chance at the end to win the game. Our guys fought. They kept scrapping. They kept punching the whole way through but against a good team-- hats-off to them. They're an outstanding team. We all know how good they were offensively."
Nicholls' offensive struggles early resulted in just 141 total yards of offense in the first half, as the Colonels trailed 17-7 at the break. Their only touchdown of the first half came on an Austin Dickerson pick-6 late in the second quarter. Nicholls rallied in a big way in the second half, scoring touchdowns on 3 consecutive possessions at one point. The Colonels tied the ballgame with 8:25 to play on a 43-yard field goal by Lorran Fonseca, but less than 3 minutes later, the Coyotes re-took the lead for good.
"Being down by 7, had a chance to score at the end-- that just shows what we've got coming-up," Fourcade said. "Hats-off to the seniors. I just can't thank them enough for what they've done for this program-- for the ups and the downs. I'm just really proud of our effort and we're not done yet."
Fourcade finished 25-35 for 232 yards but he threw 3 interceptions and was sacked 3 times. Kyran Irvin led the run-game with 88 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, while Tahj Smith had a pair of touchdowns and 65 yards on 13 carries. As for the pass-game, Dai'Jean Dixon had 80 yards on a career-high 5 catches.
The Colonels (8-4) finish the year with their most wins since 1996.