Sam Houston State rolled over Nicholls State on Saturday 49-24 in the final regular season game at Bowers Stadium.
Nicholls received the ball first after winning the coin toss and came up with a field goal on the opening drive. The Bearkats put up 49 straight points from there, until three fourth quarter touchdowns by Nicholls ended the Colonels dry spell.
“I thought we played really well through three quarters,” SHSU head coach Willie Fritz said after the game. “You get some young guys in there and we played a little sloppy, had some turnovers. We didn’t get some things done, but we’ve got to get them experienced. We’re not worried about stats here. We’re worried about winning so that’s how we’re going to play. I was very pleased with our effort.”
Most of the SHSU starters were done playing before the end of the third quarter. Keshawn Hill ran for two touchdowns in the game, while seniors Richard Sincere and Brian Bell rushed for two more.
The Kats also got scoring from their defense when safety Michael Wade returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. SHSU followed that up with screen pass from Bell to Torrance Williams that went 56 yards for a touchdown.
With the Kats leading 42-3 and 8:43 still to go in the third, Fritz put his reserves in the game. That decision eventually resulted in the first of three fourth quarter touchdowns for the Colonels.
SHSU led 49-17 with just three minutes left to play when Nicholls recovered an onside kick, the Colonels’ third attempt of the game. That play resulted in a helmet to helmet targeting penalty on Kats senior linebacker Eric Fieilo, who was ejected from the game.
The Southland Conference will likely review the play to decide whether Fieilo is suspended against Southeastern Louisiana next week.
Fritz said he was paying attention to the line of scrimmage on the play, but it appeared that both players collided in pursuit of the football.
“I’m not sure why they’re doing that at the end of the game,” Fritz said. “It’s a blocking play. People run into each other on those onside kicks. It’s a physical play. You’re blocking them, they’re blocking you. From my vantage point, I thought they ran into each other.
“It’s a tough rule, but we shouldn’t have been in that situation.”
The loss puts Nicholls on a four-game losing streak after opening the season 4-2 with wins against Western Michigan and Northwestern State to open the Southland Conference schedule.
SHSU has won three straight since losing on the road to McNeese State on Oct. 19.
The Bearkats travel to Hammond, La., next week to face Southeastern Louisiana with a share of the Southland Conference championship on the line.