PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 1, 2013

LU hopes to make Nicholls first SLC victim


The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT —  Lamar returns to Provost Umphrey Stadium tonight to face Southland foe Nicholls State.

The Cardinals will be looking to end a three-game skid to start the 2013 league schedule. Nicholls State is currently 4-4, but only a game in front of Lamar in the Southland standings. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.

Although the Colonels enter the game ranked near the bottom of the conference in total offense and defense, those numbers are misleading when looking at their results.

Nicholls held FBS foe Western Michigan to only 23 points in Kalamazoo before recording a 27-23 victory over the Broncos. The Colonels have also hung 41 and 30-point outings in conference setbacks to Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State this season. The Colonels also have one of the league's better rushing teams averaging nearly 210 yards per game.

"I think both teams will be coming into this game with a similar type urgency," said LU head coach Ray Woodard. "It is going to be a hard fought game where you will see both teams leaving it all on the field, and that is how important this game is.

"Nicholls is a team that is going to put a lot of points on the scoreboard. They were very impressive against Northwestern (State) earlier this year.”

A side note to tonight's game will be junior quarterback Caleb Berry and freshman running back Kade Harrington. The Lamar duo is on the verge of setting some individual records. Harrington needs only 34 rushing yards to break Sammy Carpenter's record of 607 yards set during the 1951 season. Berry enters Saturday with 20 touchdown passes on the season. He is two TD passes shy of breaking Larry Haynes' 34-year old record of 21.

The Cardinals continue to have the Southland's strongest defenses, led by senior end Jesse Dickson. LU sits atop the conference in total (350.2 ypg) and pass defense (166.4 ypg). Dickson has recorded a team-high 63 total tackles this season. In fact Dickson is the only defensive lineman among the league's top-20 leading tacklers. He also ranks first in tackles for losses and is tied for second in the league in sacks.

"When you talk about Lamar you can't focus on the record," said Nicholls State head coach Charlie Stubbs during the league's weekly teleconference. "They have been in all of those contests, and they are a very good team. Lamar is a very balanced team.