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