NEW ORLEANS — Nicholls State University’s football team wanted to ride the wave of momentum to another win over a Football Bowl Subdivision team.
But the Tulane Green Wave wasn’t having it.
Tulane used a 152-yard, three-touchdown performance from junior running back Corey Dauphine to roll to a 42-17 in over the Colonels in Yulman Stadium on Saturday.
Tulane running back Darius Bradwell added 13 carries for 93 rushing yards, and senior quarterback Jonathan Banks completed 12-of-16 attempts for 190 yards and a touchdown pass.
It was the first-ever meeting between Tulane and Nicholls. The game attracted a crowd of 21,092 in Yulman Stadium, including a large representation of red-clad Nicholls fans.
Unlike last week’s 26-23 overtime win over Kansas, the Colonels didn't put up enough points to pick up a second straight win over an FBS team. Tulane (458 total yards, including 268 rushing) took a 21-10 lead at halftime and never looked back.
“We didn’t stop the run,” Nicholls head coach Tim Rebowe said. “We got out of our gaps a couple of times and missed some tackles. They’ve got a good ball club. They did a good job. We just have to regroup and get ready for next week against McNeese.”
Dauphine’s touchdown runs came on sprints of 38, 69 and 35 yards, respectively. He averaged 25.3 yards per run.
“He really played well (Saturday night),” Tulane head coach Willie Fritz said. “Unfortunately, he got dehydrated going into the half. We were going to feed him the ball (more).”
Tulane (1-1 overall) struck first on a 38-yard touchdown run by Dauphine with 6:12 left in the first quarter.
In the first half, the Colonels (415 total yards, 176 rushing, 239 passing) had four drives into Tulane territory, but could only manage three points on a 21-yard field goal by Lorran Fonseca that cut Tulane’s lead to 7-3 with 7 seconds left in the first quarter. Fonseca also missed field goals from 46 and 42 yards in the first half.
Nicholls (1-1) had first-and-goal at the Tulane’ 4, but the Green Wave stuffed three straight run attempts to force Fonseca’s 21-yard field goal.
Rebowe said the missed scoring chances took some of their momentum away.
“I thought we had some opportunities in the first half that we let slip away,” Rebowe said. “We missed a couple of field goals, but our guys were playing hard. It did get away from us in the back end of the game in that fourth quarter.”
Fritz said Tulane’s aggressiveness in the red zone was key.
“We’d rather not bend so much, but it’s good when they don’t score,” Fritz said.
In the second half, Tulane built its lead. Dauphine broke loose on a 69-yard touchdown run through the Colonels defense that put the Green Wave ahead 14-3 with 14:46 left in the second quarter.
Banks used his arm to complete a 25-yard pass to Terren Encalade down to the Colonels’ 4. One play later, Banks used a quarterback draw to push his way into the end zone on a 5-yard run that made it 21-3 Tulane with 8:46 left in the second quarter.
Later in the first half, Nicholls defense stepped up when defensive lineman Kenny Dotson got a sack fumble on Banks that was recovered by linebacker Evan Veron at the Green Wave 26-yard line with 1:22 left.
The Colonels quickly took advantage, using a 26-yard pass from quarterback Chase Fourcade (17-of-31, 239 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions passing; 14 carries, 53 yards) to receiver Dai’Jean Dixon (four catches, 112 yards) to the 1-yard line. After a false start penalty pushed the Colonels back on the next play, Fourcade hit Gabe Fuselier on a 7-yard touchdown pass. Fonseca’s extra point cut Tulane’s lead to 21-10 with 59 seconds left in the first half.
Nicholls’ first possession of the second half started at its own 1-yard line, but thanks to two 15-yard personal fouls called on Tulane, the Colonels set up first-and-10 at the Green Wave 34.
The Colonels couldn’t take advantage of the field position. Fourcade’s deep pass was intercepted by Tulane senior safety Rodric Teamer Jr. at the Green Wave 5-yard line with 8:18 left in the third.
The Green Wave quickly made the Colonels pay for the turnover, finishing off a 14-play, 95-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass over the middle from Banks to Darnell Mooney to extend the lead to 28-10 over Nicholls with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Dontrell Taylor finished a 9-play, 75-yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown run up the middle to make it 28-17 after Fonseca’s field goal with 12:47 left.
Nicholls defense, however, couldn’t slow down Tulane’s running game as Dauphine scored his third touchdown on a 25-yard run with 8:47 left to extend the lead to 35-17.
Rebowe said the Colonels struggled to contain Dauphine.
“Once he got to the edge and he made a couple of cuts, we’ve got to be able to get him down and we didn’t do that,” Rebowe said.
After Fourcade threw his second interception with 3:31 left to play, Tulane capped its scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run from Amare Jones to make it 42-17 with 2 minutes remaining.