THIBODAUX – When Chase Fourcade had the best statistical performance of his college career against the University of San Diego in the opening round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs on Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t surprising that Damion Jeanpierre played a big role.
Fourcade passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 82 and another two scores as the Colonels advanced to the second round of the postseason with a 49-30 victory over the Toreros.
Jeanpiere also had one of his better outings, hauling in seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
It was nothing new for the duo, who have been connecting on the field since their prep days at Archbishop Rummel in Metairie. Jeanpiere, now a Nicholls senior, was a year ahead of Fourcade when both played for the Raiders.
Saturday afternoon’s win had Fourcade, now a Nicholls junior, harking back to his high school days.
“It kind of feels like I’m back at Rummel with the defense I have and the weapons I have as well. We were all doing our job at Rummel and we eventually got those (state championship) rings. I have guys (from Nicholls) I wish I knew more. I’ve only known them for three or four years but they are guys I will know for the rest of my life,” said Fourcade.
The guy who has known him the longest – Jeanpiere – has seen a young quarterback develop through the years.
“He grew a lot since I was in high school playing with him. He’s just getting better and better every year. He’s getting smarter and making better decisions. He knows how to throw the deep ball; he knows how to throw the short passes,” Jeanpierre said.
Fourcade certainly caught the eye of Toreros coach Dale Lindsey on Saturday.
“I didn’t know he could pass that well. That’s what really impressed me was his ability to pass the ball. We knew he could run the ball but his passing was outstanding,” said Lindsey.
A pair of scoring runs by Dontrell Taylor, along with touchdown runs by Fourcade, Julien Gums and Tahj Smith stakes the Colonels to a 35-10 halftime lead.
Fourcade and Jeanpierre hooked up on a 17-yard touchdown strike to open the second half and extend the Nicholls lead to 42-10.
San Diego rallied with three straight touchdowns to make it 42-30 with 14:50 left in the game.
Following the touchdown to get the Toreros with 12 points, Fourcade led a game-clinching drive, culminating the possession on a 13-yard run when the Colonels faced a third-and-9 situation.
“On that big third down, we ran a speed option and he (the Toreros defender) went with Dontrell and I just turned it up and eventually scored,” said Fourcade.
Jeanpiere will depart Nicholls as the school’s second all-time leading receiver – trailing only former NFL star Mark Carrier. With at least another playoff game and all of his senior year remaining, Fourcade, who is only 88 yards away from being the Colonels’ all-time leading passer, should shatter the mark of 7,670, currently held by Doug Hudson.
Fourcade, Jeanpiere and the other Nicholls receivers certainly left a lasting impression on San Diego coach Dale Lindsey.
“I’m highly impressed with the quarterback and the wide receivers. I felt like coming in here I felt we would have a problem running with the wide receivers and their long speed. We could account for a lot of people but when you have that mobile quarterback – and there were a couple of times where we had him and just couldn’t get him down,” said Lindsey.