Colonels net huge road win
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003
THIBODAUX, La. &045; Fear the triple option.
So the name sounds funny, and it’s an offense that’s about as exciting to watch as Dawson’s Creek reruns. But it’s a ground game that’s leading Division I-AA in yards per game, and its latest victim &045; 18th-ranked Northwestern State &045; has made folks around Nicholls State and the Southland Conference believers in the Colonels right now.
The Colonels’ 40-30 win over Northwestern also got Daryl Daye’s bunch back on track.
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&uot;It was a tremendous win for our kids and a tremendous confidence-builder,&uot; said Daye, a Ferriday native and Huntington grad. &uot;For us to go to Northwestern and spoil their homecoming, I think it was one of the bigger wins Nicholls State has had in a while &045; probably since Arkansas State when we beat the first I-A (team) in school history. Turpin Stadium is a tough place to win. It was the most points put on them in 15 years.&uot;
In fact, Colonel wins at Turpin Stadium are about as rare as Nicholls coaches calling for a pass play. The
Demons have dominated the series over Nicholls State in the past several years, and it was the first win since 1996 and only the third in the 30-year rivalry with the Demons.
But on Saturday things changed.
The Colonels welcomed back quarterback Josh Son after missing time with an assortment of injuries, and the offense got some surprising help from the passing game. But the biggest thing was the Colonels did what they do best &045; line up with two slots, a tailback and a single wideout and run that triple option.
Nicholls is averaging 350 yards rushing per game and ran for 232 on the Demons Saturday.
&uot;When it really came down to it, our kids played with more intensity and &045; bluntly put &045; we out-hit them,&uot; Daye said. &uot;When it got to the fourth quarter, our kids were still pounding away. It’s not hard to get them up for a team they don’t like. Our kids wanted it the most and were not going to be denied. We’re not an offense that throws very much, but when we do it’s usually points. It’s a team-oriented offense geared around the ability to spread the wealth.&uot;
The offense &045; with former Adams Christian standout Tim Baker at center &045; helped take a 33-24 lead at halftime Saturday and controlled the ball in the second half while the defense kept the Demons off the scoreboard until under three minutes left.
The offense, however, exploded for 23 points in the second quarter to take control of the game, but it did punch in a pass for a score when Son hit Vince Butler for an 85-yard TD pass for the Colonels’ first score of the game.
Son completed five of eight passes in the game, but early the scoring pass may have kept the Demons guessing a bit after trying to key on the ground game. The Colonels had another touchdown pass called back for pass interference, and another score was wiped off by a holding call and left them to settle on a field goal.
&uot;That was his first game back,&uot; Daye said of Son, who had a concussion on Sept. 13 and suffered internal bleeding from a hit Oct. 11. &uot;He was still tender, and we rotated the backup quarterback in there. We knew when it was time to give him rest. He’s a warrior. You can count on him to be there every game for you.&uot;
The win Saturday was a welcomed one for the Colonels, who were struggling at 2-4 with wins over NAIA Bethel and Texas Southern. The Colonels were road-weary in their four losses on the road &045; South Florida, Portland State, Texas A&M-Kingsville; and Florida Atlantic.
The win has the Colonels’ sights set back on the I-AA playoffs, although it would take a SLC championship to do so. Saturday’s game was the first conference game, and the big ones await &045; Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and McNeese.
&uot;Sam Houston is a team much like us &045; their record is not where they would like it to be, but they’re a very good football team,&uot; Daye said. &uot;All we’re talking about is Sam Houston. Don’t fix your eyes on the tape when you’ve got obstacles in front of you. You beat Northwestern, and people start talking about a conference championship. We don’t want to hear that.&uot;