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Nicholls State Improves Schedule With Late Home Games
THIBODAUX – Nicholls State won’t be on the road for more than one week at a time during the 2009 football season. The university released its football schedule for next season Tuesday, but not the times of the games.
In past seasons, the Colonels played three of their final Southland Conference games on the road every other year, but that won’t be the case this year.
“That’s big, particularly in the conference schedule,” Nicholls coach Jay Thomas said. “The setup in the conference schedule is much better for us now.”
Not only will the Colonels not be faced with the rigors of traveling for consecutive weeks at a time like in past seasons, some familiar faces will pop up along the way as the Colonels go through the season.
After traveling to play Football Bowl Subdivision opponent Air Force on Sept. 5 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and hosting Duquesne (3-7 last season) of the Football Championship Subdivision on Sept. 12, the Colonels will travel to play Louisiana Tech in Ruston on Sept. 19 and will host Jacksonville State on Sept. 26 for homecoming.
Louisiana Tech, which went 8-5 last season and won the Independence Bowl over Northern Illinois, features former South Terrebonne standout Phillip Livas, now a standout receiver and return man for the Bulldogs, along with a few other athletes from the local area in Kiamni Washington (H.L. Bourgeois), Jordan Mills (Assumption) and Tarance Callais (Patterson).
“Phillip was a guy we really tried hard to get and keep close to home, and it was a battle between us and Louisiana Tech,” Thomas said. “He really proved what he was about this season and did a great job. I think that will create some interest in the game. Louisiana Tech recruits down here a lot.”
Then one week later, when Jacksonville State comes to town for homecoming, former East St. John and LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is expected to take snaps for the Gamecocks, who went 8-3 last season and finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference of the FCS.
Jacksonville State was at one time in the Southland Conference at one time and leads the all-time series, 8-6, though the Colonels (3-6, 3-4 in the SLC last season) have one five of the last eight.
”That is going to be a big battle for us. Ryan Perrilloux will be making his debut back at home,” Thomas said. “It’s always been competitive, always been close. They have Perrilloux, but they always have very tough and very talented players.”
The Air Force and Louisiana Tech games are the only FBS games the Colonels will play this season.
“It’s highly competitive for our guys,” Thomas said. “Air Force and Louisiana Tech were both in bowls last season. So those two (FBS) games are going to be tough.”
Traditionally, Air Force, like Nicholls has run the triple-option offense, but it has changed things up a bit.
Air Force went 8-5 last season and defeated Houston 34-28 in the Armed Forces Bowl.
“Air Force has a new staff there, and the do some of the old things, but their style has changed, and they are throwing the ball more,” Thomas said. “It is a little unorthodox, but they still have the philosophy of running the option and doing things a little different. I know they are doing really well with it.”
The Colonels have their open date on Oct. 3 before opening Southland Conference play at Sam Houston State on Oct. 10.
“When you play the type of out-of-conference schedule we play, having an open date before conference is always huge so you have an opportunity to get some guys rested,” Thomas said.
“It gives you a chance to heal up heading into conference because this conference is very tough.”
The remaining part of the schedule is comprised of all SLC games.
On Oct. 17 the Colonels host Texas State in the Battle for the Paddle, then travel to Central Arkansas on Oct. 24.
McNeese State then comes to Thibodaux on Oct. 31 for Family Day, before the Colonels travel to Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 7.
The Colonels host Northwestern State for senior day on Nov. 14 before wrapping up the regular season on Nov. 19 at Southeastern Louisiana in the River Bell Classic.
Nicholls releases 2009 schedule
By Kelly McElroy, The Thibodeaux Daily Comet