FCS Playoff Review: Nicholls 24, North Dakota 6

CRAIG HALEY (STATS FCS Senior Editor=)
The Associated Press

The Score - Nicholls (9-4) beat North Dakota (7-5) 24-6 in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

Story Line - Southland co-champ Nicholls played like a team that was hosting a first-round game for the third straight year. Quarterback Chase Fourcade accounted for a touchdown run and pass and Julien Gums rushed for 172 yards to go over 1,000 for the season.

Game Ball - A balanced Nicholls defense held independent North Dakota to only two field goals. Sully Laiche had a strip sack of UND's Nate Ketteringham that was recovered by Brandon Fontenot at the Fighting Hawks' 1 and set up a second-quarter touchdown. Kevin Moore also recovered a fumble and was joined by Darren Evans and Jarius Monroe for the team high with seven tackles each.

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Key Stat - Nicholls held the ball for nearly 35 minutes while holding a 316-44 advantage in rushing yards.

The Takeaway - With a fifth straight win, the Colonels are playing their best at the right time of the season. Fourcade (14 of 16 for 165 yards) has been playing efficiently and Gums has gone over 100 rushing yards in four of the last five weeks. Laiche is simply one of the best defensive ends in the FCS.

Up Next - Nicholls next play at No. 1 seed North Dakota State (12-0) in the second round Dec. 7 (3:30 p.m. ET). The two-time defending FCS champion Bison have won 33 straight games since 2017, tied with their 2012-14 squads for the longest winning streak in FCS history.

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