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Colonels are ready to come home
HOUMA — As first-year Nicholls State coach Charlie Stubbs addressed his team after a tough 39-21 loss at South Alabama on Saturday, he saw a banged up, road-weary bunch.
The loss at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., was the third in a row for the Colonels, and their third straight road game to start the season.
Nicholls played at San Diego State in Week 1 and at Western Michigan in Week 2.
“You are just trying to keep your spirits up,” Stubbs said after the game. “We have done some good things the last three weeks, we just have to sustain them. We are sitting at 0-3 and are a fatigued football team. We had two long road trips and a long bus ride, but I am telling them there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
That light comes in the form of the first home game of the season at 4 p.m. Saturday at John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux against Bacone, an NAIA team, and a bye the following week before opening the Southland Conference season.
Nicholls has played two Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the first two weeks, and another that’s on its way to that level in 2013.
“We have a home game, but we are trying to patch it together health-wise,” Stubbs said. “We get a bye after that game. Hopefully we get reenergized and ready for conference play (at home against Sam Houston State on Oct. 9).”
One player who has looked totally energized for the Colonels (0-3) this season has been sophomore running back Jesse Turner, an Ellender product, who scored two touchdowns and had 205 yards of offense against South Alabama. He has rushed for 203 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns this season and also caught seven passes for 187 yards and a score.
But in a game that was full of momentum shifts in the first three quarters, Turner was stopped twice on key fourth-and-short plays.
“He is a guy I have so much confidence in that if we give him a little more help up front, he would have gotten the yards in those critical downs,” Stubbs said. “He is a guy who plays fast and makes plays. It was a good game for him.”
Nicholls was outscored 12-0 in the fourth quarter after cutting the Jaguars lead to 27-21 at the end of the third quarter.
“We fought in certain parts of the game, but we have to play four quarters,” Turner said after. “We have to learn to build on momentum. We have to get those (short-yardage plays). Coach believes in us to get those fourth-and-shorts, so we have to get them. We have to go back to practice and work hard.”
The Colonels racked up 418 yards of offense against South Alabama, which included 318 yards passing by sophomore quarterback LaQuinton Caston, who was 13-of-23 with two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 35 yards.
Caston ran the run-oriented triple-option last season with Nicholls.
“I’m pleased with LaQuinton,” said Stubbs, who brought in a pass-oriented attack this season. “He does some good things. In the passing game right now, he’s not as far along as most of the quarterbacks I have had, but he’s learning. I think he is a better quarterback right now, but the bottom line is, for us to be successful and beat (teams like South Alabama), we can’t make mistakes. If we stay away form that, we can get in the win column (on Saturday).”
Ladd-Peebles Stadium is where the Senior Bowl and GMAC Bowl are played each year … Nicholls was the largest team South Alabama, which started football two years ago, ever played … Linebacker Kamauoha Pa’a led the Colonels with 10 tackles. The announced attendance on Saturday was 23,174.