Nicholls State had just lost 66-3. Oregon had three 100-yard rushers. The Ducks had a school record 772 yards of total offense. Yet when quarterback Kalen Henderson and running back Marcus Washington walked into the visitor’s tent to answer questions from the press, their demeanor was not one of a team who had just gotten shellacked, but rather, of players who had moved the ball well and had held their own offensively, despite scoring only three points.
“We were moving the ball pretty well. When we got into the red after those big plays, a penalty or miscommunication . . . it was always one play that kept us out of the end zone,” Henderson said.
With starting quarterback Beaux Hebert getting knocked out early with a possible concussion, the Colonels seemed to rally around Henderson. “The wind was taken out of us after the hit on Beaux. I tried to pick everybody up, and let them know we were going to finish this game.” Henderson added “Coming into the game, coach said he was going to play both quarterbacks. I think his initial thought was that we were going to play separate quarters. I guess my time came a little quicker than expected.”
With 22 first downs, 256 passing yards and no interceptions, Nicholls State definitely had a pass-first mentality. Oregon did a decent job against the rush, allowing only 87 yards. According to Henderson, the strategy was by design, not simply because they were playing from behind.
“Coming into the game, we wanted to throw the football on these guys because we know they can run with the best teams in the country so we wanted to stretch them out from side to side and hit them with runs up the middle. I thought it worked pretty much, but the red zone killed us today.”
“I think we took the pressure pretty well,” Washington said. “We knew coming into this game that Oregon was going to be the best team we were going to face all season, so we tried to do what we can, so we’re going to look at film and build from the positives and work on the negatives.”
“It was definitely a challenge. Oregon is a great football team. There is a reason they are No. 3 in the country,” Henderson said.
Despite a lopsided scoreboard, and the fact their defense didn’t force a single punt or interception, the Nicholls State Colonels left the game feeling good about the way their offense moved the ball. Their play today was far superior to that of a team with only single wins in each of the last two seasons.
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