#9 Nicholls FCS Football 2019 Preview

Nicholls Colonels
Overall Rank: #9
#1 Southland
 Nicholls Logo
Nicholls has quickly turned into a consistent program in the Southland Conference. They have reached the playoffs two years in a row and knocked off San Diego in the first round last season before falling at Eastern Washington in the second round.  As Coach Tim Rebowe enters his fifth season leading the program, Nicholls is in a great spot to continue their success.
2018 Record: 9-4, 7-2
2018 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Tim Rebowe (25-22 at Nicholls, 25-22 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Christophel
Defensive Coordinator: Tommy Rybacki
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dontrell Taylor, RB, 990 yards
Passing: Chase Fourcade, QB, 2,930 yards
Receiving: Dai’Jean Dixon, WR, 753 yards
Tackles: Khristian Mims, DB, 76
Sacks: Sully Laiche, DL, 8.5
Interceptions: Khristian Mims, DB, 2; Darren Evans, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Kendall Bussey, RB Julien Gums, LB Evan Veron, LB Allen Pittman, P Winston Jones
Key Losses: WR Damion Jeanpiere Jr, WR Gabe Fuselier, OL Ryan Hanley, OL Chandler Arceneaux, OL Eddie Houston, DB Corey Abraham, DB Ahmani Martin, DL Ronald Ollie, DL Kenny Dotson, LB Hezekiah White, K Lorran Fonseca
The potent Colonels offense gets the job done on the ground and through the air. Running back Dontrell Taylor fell just short of the 1,000 yard mark last year, tallying 990 yards and nine touchdowns. Kendall Bussey and Julien Gums each rushed for over 500 yards as well and combined for ten scores. And, of course, quarterback Chase Fourcade can do damage with his legs too. He rushed for 659 yards and 13 touchdowns on top of his 2,930 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air. Fourcade is a dynamic playmaker who will make big plays in a variety of ways. He is also an efficient passer and completed over 60 percent of his passes and threw just eight interceptions last year. Dai’Jean Dixon leads a receiver corps that has some holes to fill with the departure of Damion Jeanpiere and Gabe Fuselier.
The offense may be good, but the defense is even better. Last year Nicholls led the Southland Conference in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense. Six starters are back and it all starts up front with Sully Laiche and Brandon Fontenot. Laiche tallied 46 tackles, including 8.5 sacks and 17.0 tackles-for-loss. Linebacker Evan Veron will spend plenty of time in the backfield too after tallying 7.0 sacks and 22.0 tackles-for-loss in 2018. Safety Khristian Mims led the squad with 76 tackles and added two interceptions. With cornerback Darren Evans also back, the secondary has a couple great pieces to build around.
The Bottom Line:
Nicholls has not been particularly consistent. There have been some questionable losses over the last couple of seasons. However, the team has also proven that they can beat anybody on any given day. The non-conference slate is tough with trips to Kansas State, Texas State and Prairie View A&M. Getting an FBS win over Texas State is certainly a possibility and would be a great resume building victory for the Colonels. The big Southland game comes on October 19th at Sam Houston State.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 246.8 (12th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 227.2 (49, 9)
Total Offense: 474.0 (12, 2)
Scoring Offense: 32.3 (28, 2)
Rushing Defense: 105.4 (11, 1)
Pass Defense: 232.0 (86, 3)
Total Defense: 337.4 (27, 1)
Scoring Defense: 21.8 (21, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.31 (35, 5)
Sacks: 3.08 (12, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (61, 3)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#9 Caleb Etienne
#123 Brooks Rayburn
#201 Dillion Davis
#258 Jarius Monroe
#280 Chris Welch