Nicholls St. 19, NW Louisiana 17
THIBODAUX, La. (AP) _ The last of Adam Diel’s four field goals, with 16 seconds left in the game, rallied Nicholls State to a 19-17 victory over Northwestern State in the Colonels’ Southland Conference opener Saturday night.
Nicholls State (3-2, 1-0 Southland) spotted Northwestern a 17-10 halftime lead, then shut down the Demons’ offense in the second half to win behind three field goals by Diel.
Nicholls’ first conference victory since 1994 snapped a five-game losing streak against Northwestern (3-2, 0-2).
A 24-yard field goal by Diel midway through the first period gave Nicholls an early 3-0 lead. Northwestern then took a 7-0 lead on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Warren Patterson to Patrick Palmer.
The teams then traded touchdowns in the second period, Nicholls taking a 10-7 lead 15-yard touchdown run by Kajuan Billings. Northwestern struck back to lead 17-10 at halftime on a 2-yard run by Anthony Williams and a 32-yard field goal by Eric Collins as time ran out.
In the second half, Diel had field goals of 42 and 28 yards to bring Nicholls to within 17-16 in the third quarter. Diel’s fourth field goal, with 16 seconds remaining, won it for the Colonels.
Northwestern got the ball at its own 48 when the Northwestern punting unit came on the field after the Colonels held on third-and-two. Punter Shane Barbaro’s punt was deflected backwards and Nichols’ Eric Vice pounced on the ball at the Demon 23.
After three rushing plays, Diel came in to kick the first-game-winning field goal of his career.