The Journey to Nicholls State
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 01:10
Axed the ‘Jacks in front of 26,185 fans on an NFL stage. Earned SportsCenter’s #2 top play of the day. Ranked 8th in the nation in the FCS coaches poll. Swept the Southland Conference player of the week honors with offensive, defensive and special teams recognition. It’s safe to say: We came, we saw, we ate ‘em up.
The Sam Houston State Football team (3-2 overall, 1-1 SLC) looks to carry over their recent positive momentum into week six, as they head east to take on the Nicholls State Colonels (1-3 overall, 0-1 SLC) in Thibodaux, La. this Saturday.
The Colonels have developed the habit of dropping Southland Conference contests, losing their eighth consecutive league match-up against Central Arkansas last Saturday. Even though Bearkat Nation is riding high off the “W” at Reliant Stadium, the football team remains fixated on the task at hand- not taking the forces of Nicholls State lightly.
“They’re a much improved ball club…we talked to our guys about it, every win is equal- it counts as just one,” Coach Willie Fritz said.
“Even though last week’s win was against our rival, we don’t count that as two wins, we count it as one. So this game is just as important—If not more important—than the last one. I don’t know why or how we wouldn’t have the proper focus for this game.”
By keeping perspective and maintaining a “1-0 record every week” attitude, the men in orange remain level-headed.
Nicholls State linebacker, Jordan Piper, recorded the most tackles in a game in the FCS this season, wrapping up 23 take-downs against UCA Saturday. Piper not only spearheads the defensive movement for the Colonels, but leads the Southland Conference with 12.25 tackles per game.
“Defensively they present a bit of a challenge in the fact that they run a different type of defense,” Coach Fritz said. “They’re a 3-4 defense and that’s really unique…but there are some adjustments we’ve been making...they’re very talented defensively. They really run around and play hard, with a lot of blitzing from different angles.”
Nicholls State quarterback, Landry Klann, is second in the Southland Conference with a passer rating of 143.6; while the Colonels’ ground-eaters rank third in the conference averaging 183 rushing yards per game.
“Offensively, they’re able to put stuff together,” Fritz said. “They were up 14-13 over Central Arkansas at the half, but just didn’t finish. Same thing happened to us up there. (Nicholls State) is a very good team that is well coached, so it should be a good challenge for us”.
Meanwhile, Bearkat front-runner Brian Bell sits second all-time in the SHSU record books with 5,139 total yards of offense (1,021 yards behind former QB Rhett Bomar). The fundamental weapon in the Sam Houston stable, Timothy Flanders, just earned a school record 18thcareer 100-yard game; making rushing for triple digits almost a part of his weekly routine. On Special Forces, the consistency of Kicker Miquel “automatic” Antonio has landed him at 243 career points (120 PAT and 41 FG), just 15 points shy of record holder Billy Hayes (1985-88).
The Bearkats aim to close out their five-game road trip with another “1-0 week” by notching their seventh straight win against Nicholls State Saturday at 6pm.