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By JJ MARSHALL jjm023@latech

By JJ MARSHALL

jjm023@latech.edu

 

In their first game on the new FieldTurf at Joe Aillet Stadium, the Tech Bulldogs used 24 unanswered points to overcome an early deficit in a 31-21 win over Nicholls State Saturday night.

After surrendering 21 points in the first quarter, the Bulldog defense adjusted and did not allow Nicholls State to score again.

“(Nicholls is) a darn good football team,” Tech head coach Jack Bicknell said. “They were a nightmare to cover and defend early on. Their fullback and quarterback did a great job. They were a very physical football team.”

Tech got a lot of work done on the ground, led by sophomore running back Patrick Jackson’s career-high 116 yards on 23 carries.

Junior Freddie Franklin pitched in with 46 yards on 13 carries as the Bulldogs out-rushed the run-oriented Colonels by 37 yards despite eight fewer attempts.

“I felt like [Jackson] did a nice job running the ball,” Bicknell said.

“They were blitzing us quite a bit, making it tough for us to run. We took some shots down the field, but we got to the point where we sure didn’t want to give them the ball back.

“We felt like we could run the ball on them. So we said, ‘Hey, let’s just run the dang thing.’ Patrick [Jackson] and Freddie Franklin did a nice job doing that,” Bicknell said.

The Bulldogs showed a great balance on the ground and in the air against the Colonels as they ran for 178 yards and threw for 203.

Junior quarterback Zac Champion was 13-22 for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and spread the ball around to six different receivers throughout the game.

Nicholls State scored on a 17-yard run on their first possession, but the Bulldogs answered on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Champion to Eric Newman to tie the game at seven on their next drive.

Tech fumbled away their next two possessions, and the Colonels capitalized on both turnovers with two touchdowns to give them a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

Nicholls State scored on a 50-yard pass to Grant Thorne, and a 5-yard run by Broderick Cole that put the Colonels in a commanding 14-point lead entering the second quarter.

Tech’s defense shut down the triple-option attack of the Colonels in the second quarter, forcing two fumbles and a turnover on downs. The Bulldogs did not surrender a single point in the final three quarters.

Danny Horwedel’s 22-yard field goal with 6:57 remaining in the second quarter cut the lead to 21-10.

Champion then connected with sophomore Josh Wheeler for a 15-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to four at halftime.

In the third quarter, Jackson capped off an 82-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run that gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.

Freddie Franklin’s touchdown run two minutes later extended Tech’s lead to 31-21, which they held onto for the remainder of the night.

Tech will head back out on the road for their next three games, beginning at Kyle Field against Texas A&M on Saturday at 6 p.m.


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