The Nicholls football team got beat by Kansas State on opening day, which, truly, isn’t that big of a surprise, given that Kansas State is a Big 12 opponent and that Nicholls is a member of the FCS.
But how Nicholls got beat was, at least to me, a shocker. At no point was that a competitive game and the Colonels didn’t look much like the playoff contender they’ve been in years past.
The Wildcats gutted Nicholls and mauled them at the line of scrimmage. They rushed for 361 yards on Nicholls and converted 10-of-12 third downs.
The Colonels rarely had the football, but when they did, they didn’t have much luck — as thorough a whopping as the team has been given in the past few years.
So it was back to the drawing board for Nicholls last week with a Week 2 bye. The Colonels take the field on Saturday against Prairie View A&M in a game that the Colonels should be able to more easily compete in than the ballgame with the Big 12 foe.
It’s time to see some of those improvements.
Nicholls needs to show that they can be better at the line of scrimmage or else they have no chance to repeat as Southland Champs.
Sully Laiche is a tough guy to replace, but he’s been out through fall camp and so far this season with a back injury. Without both he and Evan Veron, someone will have to step up.
Allowing rushing yards by the droves is an impossible illness for any defense to beat because it keeps offenses ahead of the chains and in manageable down and distances.
Going forward, the Colonels will have to find a way to generate the push that they enjoyed the past few seasons, because without it, opponents will possess the ball far too often.
But Nicholls’ offense can help a little, too.
In the opener, a lot was made of the fact that Kansas State had the ball for 41 minutes (out of 60). Sure, a lot of the blame for that goes to Nicholls’ defense and some of the struggles we’ve talked about above.
But the Colonels’ offense isn’t blameless, either.
Nicholls was just 1-of-6 on third down and 0-of-1 on fourth down in the loss. They had chances to extend drives, but stalled out.
The Colonels also turned over the ball twice, which amounts to two lost possessions.
Going forward, that can not happen.
It’s literally impossible for a team to both lose at the line of scrimmage and also lose the turnover battle and expect to win big.
So that’s where we are right now with Nicholls.
There’s a lot of football to be played, so there’s still plenty of time to get right.
It’s not time to panic, but it is time to improve.
And those improvements have to begin on Saturday coming off of the bye in the ballgame with Prairie View.
If the Colonels get bullied in that one, then it may be time to panic.
But we don’t expect that to happen.